Our Nostalgic Games: Samurai Shodown

Magazine/Site: Famitsu
Date: 10/25/2018

Our Nostalgic Games ~Retro Gamer Roundtable~ #202

Editors passionately discussing games playable on modern hardware that are just as good as they’ve ever been!

Arcade Archives Neo Geo (PS4) – Samurai Shodown

A weapons-based fighting game with a Japanese flavor that was released by SNK in 1993. With swords and daggers as your weapons and a single blow being fatal, many intense matches can unfold.

Original Release Year: 1993
Hardware: Arcade
Date of Digital Release: 12/08/2016
Maker: Hamster

This Week’s Participants

Hatoya Itou: A Famitsu editor that’s always called in for fighting games. He’s here to appeal to all of the Haohmaru lovers out there.
Ooishinbo: Another Famitsu editor that’s been playing the series ever since the first Samurai Shodown, and loves the characters. He’s not very good at fighting games though.
Estate Matsushita – A Famitsu part-timer that hasn’t played Samurai Shodown before, but was drawn in from watching others play it.

How About Playing the First Game Before the New One Comes Out!?

The Weapons-Based Fighting Game That’s Full of Japanese Flavor

(Ooishinbo) This week we’re talking about Samurai Shodown.

(Hayato) A new entry in the series was just announced the other day.

(Ooishinbo) I’m really looking forward to 2019. Now then! We’re going to play the original Samurai Shodown from a brand new perspective!

(Estate) I’ve never played Samurai Shodown, but everyone fights with weapons, right?

(Ooishinbo) Yeah. It was common for fighting games to only feature hand-to-hand fighting back then, so I think it was pretty rare to see one where everyone had weapons.

(Hayato) I’m going to pick Haohmaru.

(Ooishinbo) I’m going with Jubei Yagyu.

(Hayato) How boring. I was sure you’d pick someone like Ukyo Tachibana or Galford.

(Ooishinbo) It’s because you can do a special with Jubei just by quickly pressing buttons. You don’t need to input difficult commands.

(Hayato) Ahh, so that’s why…

(Estate) Whoa! There’s a lot of blood splatter when you get sliced! It definitely has impact.

(Hayato) They’re fighting with real swords, so losing means death, after all.

(Ooishinbo) There are all sorts of elements that suggest death, aren’t there. But you can turn off the blood splatter in the options, and the color of the blood was changed when it was ported to some other platforms.

(Estate) Wait…did the stage get larger just now?!

(Hayato) You just noticed one of the game’s strong points! As the players get further away from each other, the size of the characters shrink and the size of the stage grows.

(Ooishinbo) And if you get closer to each other, the size of everything returns back to normal again.

(Estate) Wow! That’s cool!

(Estate) Ahh, it looks like your rage gauge went up from taking so many attacks.

(Ooishinbo) Alright! Attacks are more powerful when your rage gauge is full, so now’s my chance to counterattack!

(Estate) Oh! The gauge is decreasing since you weren’t able to do anything…you’re really bad at this game.

(Ooishinbo) Could you just shut up for a minute?! I can turn things around in a single hit, if I manage to land a throw!

(Hayato) Using heavy slashes and throws to deplete a lot of your opponent’s health is a very important part of this game. Looks like that’s a win for me!

Things Other Than the Characters Can Fight Too?!

(Estate) Alright, it’s my turn next. I’m going to pick this foreign guy who’s dressed like he’s Japanese…

(Hayato) That’s Galford. I’ll go with Nakoruru.

(Estate) The dog and the hawk both fight too, right?

(Hayate) That’s why these characters have more moves to remember than the others.

(Ooishinbo) Incidentally, the name of Nakoruru’s hawk is “Mamahaha”. And the name of Galford’s dog is “Poppy”.

(Estate) Ah! Hold on a second! Did some weird guy just pass by in the background?!

(Hayate) That’s Hikyaku.

(Estate) He threw something. What is…Ahh, I picked it up!

(Ooishinbo) He sometimes will just appear and throw items into the match. Meat recovers health, money increases your score, and bombs will damage anyone who gets caught in the blast.

(Estate) Health!? Why didn’t you say that earlier?!

(Estate) Anyway, these very Japanese feeling character designs are really cool.

(Ooishinbo) It was adapted into a manga that was published in game magazines back in the day, by manga author Yasuhiro Nightow. I was floored at how cool he made Haohmaru look.

(Hayate) Just what I’d expect from my favorite character, Haohmaru. He always looks great.

(Ooishinbo) Speaking of Haohmaru, there’s a woman that looks like Mai Shiranui that appears briefly during his ending.

(Hayate) Huh?! I didn’t know that!

(Ooishinbo) Wait a second…You’re telling me that you talk about liking Haohmaru so much, but you’ve never actually beaten the game with him?!