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Thread Author: reelmojo
Thread ID: 1400
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Samurai Showdown II... why do you love it?
Let me get this out of the way very quickly... I am not hating on SS2. Not at all. In fact, I've yet to play it. When I first got into NeoGeo games SS4 was the newest one so I just played that one assuming it was probably the best example of what the series had to offer. Since it was a weapons fighter I was expecting swords to be clashing and bouncing off of each other all over the place, but that's not what I got. I enjoyed the game but I guess I was expecting something a bit more like Weapon Lord only more accessible. I went on to find exactly what I was looking for in the Last Blade series.

After joining these forums I've noticed that most people who love the SS series tend to regard number 2 as the best one. I did enjoy SS4 for what it was, so I'm curious as to why people think 2 is the best one.

(For those who aren't familiar with it, Weapon Lord was a SNES/Genesis era fighter with a very non-standard control system that may have turned some people off. It also had amazing weapon mechanics and happened to be extremely violent, if you're into that sort of thing.)
Edited by reelmojo on 10. December 2008 05:27
For me it's that SS2 is just a perfect game. I don't think there is anything at all I would change to make it better, as the look of the game, the sound, and of course the gameplay and character design is all top notch. I do love SS3 onwards too, and technically the animation in those titles is better (fantastic in fact), but for me it just doesn't feel the same. SS3 always felt like it was just lacking something that stopped it from achieving true greatness, as did SS4.

Also, I think if you played SSII in the arcade back on its original release, you would have seen how impressive it was back then. For me it was head and shoulders above everything else and probably the point for many where SNK went from being a good developer to a truly outstanding one. Ever since I first played it in the arcades I've loved it, and it's always been a game I can go back to again and again and still appreciate and enjoy the hell out of. It is more old school, but to me it still plays as well as it ever did and still looks good.

I dunno... I'll try and post some more elegant thoughts on it because right now I'm pretty much just saying "OMG ITS THE BEST KTHX!!!". I always get a little carried away with this game though Pfft

I haven't played SS2 yet - I wish it could be game of the week - so I am forced to play it. I really enjoyed the Last Blade in the recent GOTW - more than I was expecting - so I am hoping that I can like SS2 as well.

I have always wondered why people don't like the later installments so much too. What do people think of SSV (Zero?)
Mini-Reviews of films I have just watched :
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SS2 is a very good game, I do prefer 3 however. To me it has more atmospheric backgrounds and music then SS2. I also like the fact that if you leave yourself open for an attack, the attack causes way more damage than normal, so fights can be really short and furious. One other thing I like about the Samurai Spirits series is the fact that it's mostly a defensive game in which you have to rely on counter attacks rather than going all out against an opponent.
I think SSV/SSV Special/SSZero/ SSZero Special aren't that great as to me they lack in atmosphere and I actually think the graphics have taken a small step backwards in comparison with 3 and 4.
My arcade stuff

"ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!"
I wrote this in response to the question "Best Sam Sho?" some time ago, in fact, nearly 2 years ago now... How time flies... Anywho, I stand by it.

Shiny wrote:
SS2 no question. The only game I've bought 3 times! I guess a lot of it's nostalgia but I still play it now and it's been what 12 odd years... Incredible.

Everything about the game is pure class; character design, music, gameplay, the lot. Imo none of the characters ever looked better than in SS2, Galford in particular. The game is so responsive, so tight, so perfectly balanced that not only did it step up to Street Fighter's plate but raised the bar then smashed Ryu in the face with it.

There was a rumour around the time of SS1 that SNK "poached" a number of Capcom's people and that's the reason it was so good and looked and played so completely differently to everything else on the NG... No idea whether that's true or not but it was mentioned in both Edge (I think) and CVG. Be great if someone else could confirm/deny it just to put my mind at rest after all these years.
Absolutely agree with that quote. Some people say it isn't balanced (3 certainly isn't imho, as much as I like it), but I disagree with that notion. I honestly think that no matter who you pick you have a chance of winning against anyone else, and the entire cast is good and fun to play with. I always favour Haohmaru, but I'm more than happy to pick anyone else and know I have a good chance of winning.

As for Zero... it has its good points, but it feels cheaply put together and poorly balanced. Some of the backgrounds aren't the best, some are ripped off from previous games, and not very well I might add as there seems to be less going on, and some characters are terribly overpowered. Look at Yoshitora... I love the design, but he is incredibly cheap to me.

Special is an improvement though, but I do look at it and think that if the original SNK had made it, it really could have been "Special", rather than "good".

I pretty much agree with everything cthulhu said except I have a very slight preference for Samurai Shodown 4 over the third installment.

Samurai Shodown 2 is an incredible fighting game. Graphics , character designs and gameplay are fantastic. If I was reviewing it I'd give 9/10. Although I love SS2 ultimately I do prefer SS3 and SS4.

My reasons:

1/ The graphics in SS3 and 4 are truly awe-inspiring. Animation is very smooth and the backgrounds are works of art especially Amakusa's stone circle, Haohmaru's orchard and in SS4 Amakusa's castle.

2/ I like the darker atmosphere of 3 and 4. The more 'comedy' characters like Gen-An have been removed.

3/ I love the new characters especially Rimururu.

4/ The slash/bust system is a very cool addition to the series.

5/ I prefer the control method in 3 and 4 because you don't have to press 2 buttons for a heavy slash and there is also only one kick which I think is more appropriate. If you were armed with a katana you wouldn't spend that much time kicking people.

6/ That new feature in 3 and 4 when the screen changes if you both have low energy in the final round really adds something to the game.

I know a lot of people object to the amount of damage certain moves can do in SS3 but it doesn't bother me. You get used to it and I suppose it's perhaps a bit more realistic too.

I sometimes feel that the first Samurai game gets a little overlooked. It really is a classic game. As for SSV and SSVSpecial well I'm not a fan of them at all. I tend to agree with One-Fu's reviews of them on this site.
I still go back and play SS1 now and again, it's a solid title but SS2 surpassed it on all levels really, although I know some people disagree and prefer some of the character designs in SS1 etc.

I do disagree with Gen-an being a comedy character though. He was actually one of my faves personally, but each to their own. I've always thought of him as one of the more likeable of the "freak/mutant" characters, in fact I remember a thread on our old forum years ago about exactly that. I also like Caffeine Nicotine, he's not as serious a character as some others but the reference to Ninja Scroll is awesome. I think that's one of the things I noticed most when I first saw Samurai Shodown, as Ninja Scroll was always one of my favourite films, so all the similarities made me like SS even more.

SS5/Zero has the best character select screen of any SS, gawd knows why they changed it for Special... Just wanted to say.
Also agreed... the Special one is ok... but the one for Zero looks friggin awesome.

SS2 always seemed like art to me, more than just a game.

The game seemed to encompass all the great things about a time in gaming when 2D fighters were on the map and arcades were having a small, but solid surge. Simply a peak for fighting games (2D or 3D) that's rarely matched. The style, setting, art, sound, amazing's all been mentioned, I just love this game.
Kazuya_UK wrote:
Absolutely agree with that quote. Some people say it isn't balanced (3 certainly isn't imho, as much as I like it), but I disagree with that notion. I honestly think that no matter who you pick you have a chance of winning against anyone else, and the entire cast is good and fun to play with. I always favour Haohmaru, but I'm more than happy to pick anyone else and know I have a good chance of winning.

They actually ban Char, Ukyo, and Gen-An in Chinese tournies I hear... the game certainly isn't character balanced (though outside of those three its quite good)... but does that really matter? Its a work of art - imagine a very tense standoff, aside a serene autumn field, with minimalistic traditional Japanese music playing in the background, each fighter ready to raise thier blade at a moment's notice - quick violence ready to erupt at any moment, thats Samurai Spirits Wink
Because I'm sooo bored as usual, here's my thoughts on the game.

Samurai Spirits 2

It's main claim to fame is still giving the king of the hill, Street Fighter 2, a bloody nose even during it's prime. The game sports numerous references to my favorite anime of all time; Ninja Scroll, and is also the one to take place last in the standard canon of the numeric games. It features appearances by Mizuki Rashojin, the first (and one of the few) female fighting game bosses ever. The game is amazingly technical for the time with features such as being able to lie down (in addition to just crouching), hop (in addition to normal jumps), being able to transform into a doll (with limited strategic abilities) added on top of more basic features such as dashing, taunting and being able to collect items for bonuses like extra life or points (all of them features not included in SF2).

Samurai Spirits 2 was also one of the first, and again one of the few from this era, to be thoroughly dissected by fans as you can find exact data for all of the characters describing their statistics such as Rage gauge damage bonus percentages, jumping height, total amount of HP and so on. In fact there are still only a few games in the genre (most of them being 3D fighters and a few Capcom games) that has this kind of incredibly detailed information readily avaliable.

However, I personally don't really care that much for the game even with the above statements, perhaps because I grew up playing SS3 on my Playstation and later SS3 and 4 on my Saturn where was dazzled by their state of the art graphics engine and incredibly stylistic design. Sure I played SS2 in the arcades but the brutal AI and lack of FAQs back then sold the game a bit short in my eyes. Now I own more than one version of the game (AES and PSX respectively) and have been able to properly research it but even so I feel that the gameplay is a bit broken up and uneven compared to newer games or even compared to games in the same series. The SS2 combo system is very odd and quite unpredictable, as is it's heavy reliance on keep put and anti-air moves and the motions for many moves (super moves in particular) are needlessly complex since a lot of them aren't even that good anyway (depends on the character) which hurts the serious aspects of the game for me.

All in all though the game is still a work of art when it comes to everything else including amazing attention to detail in the graphics (Genjuro's hanafuda card stage as an example), a stellar cast with tons of original designs, a great soundtrack (despite the lo fi output) and a well detailed plot that deals with some surprisingly dark and interesting themes. But even so the game is old and it unfortunately only becomes more apparent the more you play it. The game will probably draw you in with it's cool style alone and the hardcore gamer might appreciate how technical the game is and how it requires serious effort before you truly get down with your character and start playing for real but I must say that the sequels did all of this noticably better, and more naturally, as the series went on.

I am almost a bit afraid to give this game a score because at the time it was made I'd say it would easily score a 9/10 but as it is now, some 15 years later, I must say that Samurai Spirits 2 could use a makeover because it is somehow almost too hardcore for it's own good yet suffers from some fundamental issues (such as sketchy hitboxes, poorly balanced movesets, brutal AI, lack of a practice mode) that are commonplace for games from the same era. Still, Samurai Spirits 2 helped make fighting games what they are today by practically inventing (along with SF2) tier listings, frame data, statistical calculations and other things we use for all fighting games today so in the end it would be a crime to give it anything less than...


I am aware that a lot of people giving the game a whirl for the first time may disagree and have an all too easy time seeing the problems I mentioned. But this game really is a classic made out of hall of fame material, it's just that you probably need to be a Neo Geo collector, a die hard fighting gamer or a video game historian before you're able to understand. I'll personally play any of the sequels over this any day of the week and would probably recommend SS4 och Tenkaichi over it based on eye candy and playability alone, but I do recognize the gigantic impact that Samurai Spirits 2 had on the genre and that alone is worth at least a point or two in the final score.
Edited by HexElf on 11. December 2008 10:23
Asuka does not wait until after school, she will kick your ass right now!
Carmen wrote:They actually ban Char, Ukyo, and Gen-An in Chinese tournies I hear...
So Ukyo's overpowered? Good to know, since he's my favorite character in the series and probably the first character I'll use when I start playing. Oddly enough I've also always liked Charlotte. Grin

The main thing I've learned from this thread that I didn't know before was the historical significance that SS2 has. Now I know I need to play it for that reason alone.
Oh yea Ukyo's all sorts of messed up... air fireball easily messes up what most characters can throw at him and the shadow slices are pretty brutal too. I like Char too, haha, I used to use her a lot when I was into the game. All in all you can use Ukyo - I don't think the game has enough serious competition as it is so you might as well, but he can be pretty cheesy if you know what to do (Nako is supposedly anti-Ukyo though.)
Shiny wrote :- There was a rumour around the time of SS1 that SNK "poached" a number of Capcom's people and that's the reason it was so good and looked and played so completely differently to everything else on the NG... No idea whether that's true or not but it was mentioned in both Edge (I think) and CVG. Be great if someone else could confirm/deny it just to put my mind at rest after all these years.

Maybe you already have found about this - but tis true! I have an Edge Retro special magazine - which has a 10 page Neo Geo section (and similar sections on PC Engine, Saturn, Amiga, Megadrive, Vectrex and Nes). Anyway its says the following.

SNK's brand soon became synonymous with the fighting genre. This was mainly thanks to Takashi Nishiyama who had previously worked on the original Strret Fighter at Capcom. He was poached by SNK and helped launch its own rival to Capcom's best: SNK's Fatal Fury. Fatal Fury was released in the same year as Street Fighter II and even then boasted innovative features such as front and rear planes and a twoplayer cooperative mode. Nishiyama-san went on to launch and refine such legendary and diverse series as Samurai Shodown, King of Fighters and Metal Slug.

It is a really nice magazine. The only bad thing is that they don't interview Kaz! - they interview Shawn McCleskey from - but it would have been nice to see Kaz too Grin
Edited by RiKo on 16. December 2008 21:27
Mini-Reviews of films I have just watched :
Mini-Reviews of ZX Spectrum games :
SS2 is still an awsome game. I really love it to death. One thing that really makes me love it, is the Cover. I know the cover is not the most important thing about a game, but this is my favorite cover of all NeoGeo games. Thats why I have a huge Poster of it hanging on my wallGrin
Although it is a nearly perfect game, I defenitely do prefer SS4. In my eyes it is even better than 2. The fights are more impressive and powerful, that atmosphere is breath taking, the gameplay is better in my eyes and most importantly SS4 includes Kazama Sogetsu, one of the best characters of the series, if you ask me.
But I think when reviewing the whole Samurai Shodown Series you should differentiate between SS1+2 and SS3+4+5+5Special. Cause I think from 3 on they are kind of different.
SSII is my favorite game because it takes everything that was cool about the first game and improved it. it also introduced Genjuro Kibagami, one of my favorite characters. SSII is alsoi my 2nd favorite SNK/Neo Geo game, right behind KOF 97

Blue Mary
broken harbours
out of all the sam sho games, i personally prefer 4 and v since they buck the trend insofar that the designers put plenty of effort into the new characters so they don't feel out of place and truly blend in with the existing cast. they also, in my opinion play a lot smoother and have more refined artwork and plot and the battles seem more atmospheric in tone. the reason for this is because sam sho 2 set the precedent. the first game looked great for the time but the sequel refined it to the point that it played brilliantly, and discarded the horrible, gaudy clashing early 90's day-glo colour pallete that prevented me from fully enjoying the early fatul furys. all the backgrounds and cut scense are beautifully and harmoniously coloured like capcom's in sf2 and in just like capcom, snk made sure that the gameplay and sound followed through. of course in my mind sam sho 4 and v (despite the latter vying for first place along with kof 2000-2 in containing some some of snk's blandest backgrounds) went on to better this and the last blade games are in my opinion just better overall games.

however back in 1994, sam sho 2 marked the point where snk went from being a good developer with some nice ideas, to a truly great one, it marked that beginning of snk's golden age that ended with metal slug 3 where in everything they did was almost guaranteed to be fun and interesting if not spectacular.
Mr Vengeance
I must say I enjoyed Samurai Shodown II when I got it with my Neo Geo. Its got this slow tactical counter based gameplay, which is a lot different to other games I play - very very different. Its a far cry from the likes of Real Bout Fatal Fury, thats for sure!

Whilst I think The Last Blade is superior in every way, I still enjoy a few games of SSII from time to time, and even though I've yet to play the other games in the series, I am eager to do so at some point in the near future.
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