Friday, December 23, 2011

FNF : Samurai Shodown

i am a sexy beast

Samurai Shodown / Samurai Spirits
Platform: Neo Geo / Arc
Publisher: SNK

Year: 1993

A Samurai fears not death

struggles to triumph over evil

and lives for one purpose...

to destroy all enemies!!

*slash slash* i make everything cut in half an slide down in epic slo motionnnnn... oh.. sorry.

It's no secret that Street Fighter II had brought the fighting game into the mainstream spotlight from it's humble
beginnings, and though it's not the first fighting game, it became the template for many other fighters from 1991
on. After a while of seeing various clones companies began to switch the formula up to bring interest into their
take on the modern fighting game. SNK to me, has always been one of the companies on the forefront of innovation, due to their constant tinkering with ideas in their various fighters. So imagine my surprise when i walked into 7-11 after a rough day of freshman year of highschool and came across the Neo Geo AVS cabinet that housed Samurai fighting glory. Since then i've been hacking and slashing away digital limbs for years with each sequel. Hell, I spent more time playing SS4 then actually attending classes in college, which is why I'm probably not working for some distinguished (??) video game website.. I'm digressing again.. let's move on, shall we?

The Devil in the Details:

As I have said before, SNK has a knack for refining and innovating fighting game titles, and this game was clearly nothing different. To start, SNK brought in the camera zoom feature made popular through it's Art of Fighting series of games, and made good use in refining the camera to add a sense of scale to the battles. This also seems to have an effect of creating a feeling of  adding cinematography to battles. Framing the action up close, or showing the tense nature of regrouping just adds something to the fight, to where it's not just your static battle such as in Street Fighter or it's subsequent clones. With it being a weapons fighter, and thanks to the advent of games like Mortal Kombat, and lesser interesting outings such as the 1994 3DO flop, Way of the Warrior, The battle of blades is chock full of blood and gore. Using button combinations like A+B will cause heavy slashes that can take half a lifebar, and well timed slashes end in big finishes! These range form opponents being impaled and covering the victor in arterial spray (it's okay. Video game characters can't contract HIV), or flying away in twain dropping coins everywhere as a hefty reward.As your characters recieve damage they start to get madder, and change in color, while the bar at the bottom of the screen begins to fill. That bar is the "Rage Gage", a feature that allows your character to increase the amount of damage given for a limited period of time.

hmm.. for some reason I'm thinking about Golden Corral's Wonderfall....sad

Additionally,  certain blows dealt cause a slowed effect to emphasize massive damage. Samsho also features a  referee who throws corresponding flags to help the audience determine who dealt what blow, and a "delivery man" who disrupts combat by dropping healing and damaging items that changed the course of the fight drastically.

The graphics are pretty basic here (hey it's 1993), with some serious inconsistencies in sprite height,and anatomy. Though, I'm not going to sit here and nitpick what is otherwise a fantastic game. All  together, these factors make for a popular series that carried on well into today's fighting game circles.

Who Wants some: 

Samurai Shodown's roster features warriors from different parts of the globe, some hardly worthy of the title of "Samurai", but nothing to scoff at by any means.

Haohmaru - the main hero; a ronin who travels to sharpen his swordsmanship and his sense of bushido. His moveset is basic shoto, complete with  "dragon punch" and "hadouken" 

Nakoruru - an Ainu miko who fights to protect Mother Natur. Her moves are offensive and quick with her bird Mamahaha being used for secondary support. She's a charge character, and should be treated as such.

Ukyo Tachibana - an ailing swordsman who searches for the perfect flower for his loved one, Ke. Ukyo is played for trapping and tricking the opponent into making unnecessary movements for larger damage. 

Wan-fu - a power general from the Qing dynasty seeking to recruit powerful warriors for the unification of Chin. (Originally based on the "Ten braves of Sanada" legend which also influences other series such as Naruto, Samurai Deeper Kyo, and Sengouku Basara )Wan Fu's moves are mainly high damage incurring, and often result in the user being damaged as well. High risk / High reward seems to be the name of the game, here.

Tam Tam - renowned hero from the fictional city Greenhell; he fights to retrieve the sacred artifact, the Palenke Stone. Tam is the tallest sprite in the game and has a near fullscreen reach. He also has great anti-air and projectile capabilities as well as multi hit moves.  

Charlotte Christine Colde - a noblewoman fencer from Versailles who fights to save her country from Amakusa. Like Chun Li, and Tam Tam, she also has attacks that hit for multiple damage, as well as a strong projectile and anti-air. Her jumping slash is menacing!!

Galford D. Weiler - American surfer sailor turned ninja who fights in the name of justice. Like Hanzo, Galford is played for deception, speed and trapping. Unlike Hanzo, he has a secondary helper character in his husky, Poppy.

Kyoshiro Senryo - famed kabuki performer who wishes to strengthen his dances through swordplay. Kyoshiro plays for long range to mid distance attacks. he also seems to have a flair for the theatrical, dancing as he flays.

Earthquake - American ninja flunkie turned bandit, he wants to steal all the world's treasure. True to his name, he dominates the screen as the largest sprite in the game. He uses grapple attacks as well as deception and full body based onslaughts to pressure opponents. For some reason he reminds me of Chris Farley in Beverly Hills Ninja. 

Hanzo Hattori - ninja serving Ieyasu Tokugawa. In this fictional account, he fights to save his son, Shinzo.Hanzo, as stated above, uses a similar moveset to Galford, however his attacks are a mix of grapple with ground fireballs and deception. He tends to play defensively until an opening is made.

Jubei Yagyu - similar to other fictional accounts, he is a ronin hired by the Shogonate to execute a demon. Jubei is a counter-beast, with a high priority anti-air, and projectiles. He is meant to be played by zoners who know how to pressure an opponent to bend to his will.

Genan Shiranui - an eccentric member of the Shiranui clan, he strives to make himself more evil. Gen An has incredible reach as well as Blanka's spinning full body projectile move, deadly kicks and grapples and a poison projectile that temporarily disables opponents.


Shiro Tokisada Amakusa - last boss and villain of the game; in this fictional account, he is resurrected years after his death by the demon, Ambrosia. Due to a pact made with the demon, he wants to revive Ambrosia thus destroying the world.

Unlockable characters (GB port only)

Kuroko - exclusive playable character in the Game Boy port. He is the background referee who
acknowledge the winner of the match, in the GB game he wield two flag blades as his weapon. He did not get a console debut until Samurai Shodown II which he imitate moves of all the other fighters. The Game Boy port is the only game where he had his own original moves and weapons unlike his console counterpart.

Hikyaku - exclusive playable character in the Game Boy port. He is the delivery man running in the background of stages who is forced to disrupt fights by Amakusa.

I'm not fat!! I am large boned....

Any Surprises: 

Since i'm playing the arcade version of the game there really aren't any extras to speak about. The Gameboy version features some unlockable characters, but as far as the MVS version what you see is pretty much what you get. With that being said you still get a pretty solid gaming experience. 

Player Result:

Despite the fact that the later games in the series do Samurai Shodown a much better service (Samsho II is noted as the best game in the series to some ), i implore you to play this game. It is insanely fun in multiplayer, though it can be quite frustrating in the later stages of the single player. Though If it's a solid fighter you're craving, then this game is for you.


Thanks for putting up with my updating issues, guys. Next month I'll be making some tweaking to the overall model, and hopefully we can see some well needed improvements to this format. Stay tuned and have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

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