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Samurai Shodown Reviewed by Darryn Striga on . Rating: 57%
Samurai Shodown
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
Do I honestly need to tell you what Samurai Shodown is? I doubt it, but I'll go ahead nonetheless. Samurai Shodown is a 2D fighting game created by SNK, the company that ruled sprite-based fighting games for a long period of time and brought us such gems like King of Fighters and Last Blade.

It's the opinion of this writer that no other SNK series stands as tall as Samurai Shodown, at least not as tall as the first 2 games in the series.

Samurai Shodown is a weapon-based fighting game obviously - they're samurai! But you can actually disarm your opponent, knocking their weapon(s) away, giving you the advantage (unless you too have been disarmed) until you or your adversary can reach your weapons and pick them up. Until then it's all fisticuffs for the unarmed player, while this may hinder a player at first who loses his or her weapon, a real pro wouldn't be slowed, and would get to experience the thrill of beating down an armed foe with their bare hands!

Opportunities for health increases occasionally rain down during the fights, as well as random obstacles such as bombs. The stages also often have partially destructible pieces, the backgrounds are detailed, and the characters are really impressive to watch.

But beyond that the game begins to fall apart fast. This game is a very proper arcade port, and is obviously best played with a joystick, allowing you to do 'quarter circles' and rotate the joystick in ways that are necessary to pull of specific moves. But you see; the 3DO controller doesn't support diagonals. As if it weren't hard enough trying to play a joystick game with a direction pad in the first place. Now if you know the moves you can be sitting there crouching and stepping forward repeatedly trying to rush your enemy while they instead rush you. The control aspect is such a hindrance that it takes a lot away from the otherwise very fun game play.

Also, the game is clearly CD based, and again if you're familiar with the game from the arcades and so you bought this copy to play at home, you're going to be frustrated by having to wait before every fight while it loads the moves.

Another problem I noticed in the game, (but was unable to confirm if it was only my copy or system) was when the characters would give their victory speeches or pose after a fight, all the sprite animations in the background would suddenly speed up and look terribly awkward.

The closest thing to a saving grace that I could find with the game was the fact that I was determined to overcome its poor control scheme and forge onward, to moderate success. But when I went back to play the REAL game -- since it flowed so much smoother and could be controlled properly -- I found that I had improved! It's like giving yourself a handicap, and when you master playing with the handicap, you're that much better when you play without it.

Samurai Shodown is an outstanding game that I recommend playing ... just not on the 3DO.
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