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January 20 2019

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  Samurai Shodown - ©SNK 1993

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

One on One Fighter

118 Megs
Japanese Name:

Samurai Spirits

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
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Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 2 - by Boombada

Review Introduction:

This is one of the all time classics for the Neo Geo. There are a few games that I have fond memories of playing at my local arcade back when I was in school, including Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting and of course, Samurai Shodown. A shop near to my school had this game and I would go there before and after school to play on it... and er, bunked off school now and then to play it even more! :P


I always thought that the artwork and characters here looked a lot like those in of my favourite (and classic) Anime films of the time “Ninja Scroll”. Ninja Scroll is actually one of my favourite films of all time and that's probably one of the main reasons I was drawn to Samurai Shodown. I have also been told recently that this game and Ninja Scroll had the same artists working on it; I am not sure if that is true but if you check them out you will see what I mean about similar characters. Anyway: enough of my babble and on to the game itself.

Samurai Shodown has a great selection of 12 fighters to choose from, including a Samurai warrior named Haohmaru (who looks a bit like Jubei from Ninja Scroll), a swordsman called Ukyo who has been poisoned (sounds a bit like the Ninja Scroll storyline too!) and one of my personal favourites, a girl named Nakoruru who is accompanied by either a bird that that flies around her (see above screenshot). A couple of the fighters (Galford too) have animals with them in fact, and by performing certain button combos you can make them attack your opponent. They act in basically the same way as projectile attacks though and your character is left unable to move while you perform them, in just the same way as projectile attacks in any other game. So while it doesn't really affect the game play in any way it does look cool. Having said that, when playing as Nakoruru you can grab hold of her bird and fly upwards. Pressing one of your buttons when hanging on to the bird performs a diving attack, so they are not necessarily there just to make the game look nice.

The controls in this game are very similar to most other fighting games on the Neo Geo. A+B are used for weak/medium slash respectively, and C+D are used for weak/medium kicks. However, pressing A+B or C+D together results in a hard blow… it would have been nice to have separate buttons for the hard attacks, but that is just a deficiency of the Neo Geo and not the game itself. Other than that, everything feels great and it is very easy to pick up and start playing, although it is a little slow compared to a lot of other fighting games out there.


The graphics do look quite nice though, and as I said the artwork is of a good quality. Some of the backgrounds look really nice too and are great places to fight in. There are some cool effects, like being able to slice certain parts of the scenery open with your weapon. It also has that neat little zooming effect that the Neo Geo seemed to pioneer in 2D games, which started off in The Art of Fighting; the camera zooms out when you get farther away from your opponent, but zooms in when you get close to them. It is much better done than the one in Art of Fighting though and is a lot smoother and less confusing. There is also a referee in the background who watches the fight and announces your victories (or losses) which is a nice touch.

Sound effects & Music:

The sound is good too. Most of the music is atmospheric, and not the type of music that I would just sit down and listen to, but it sets the stage for each fight perfectly. There are some stages however like Earthquake's, which have much heavier guitar fuelled music that is quite cool. The sound effects are great too, and the sounds for the clanging of the swords together are excellent, as is the sound of blood gushing from an opponent when you slash them with your weapon.


Although its various sequels have surpassed this game, it still stands as an absolute classic and is very playable even now. If you haven't played any of the Samurai Shodown games yet, then I definitely suggest that you check it out before playing the sequels. If you actually own an MVS or home system you can probably pick up this game for quite a cheap price, so check around the various sites on the Internet because I have seen it going at quite a good price. Anyway, get this game, play it to death, and then go and play the sequels because they are all even better... especially in the case of Samurai Shodown 2!

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Game play: 8/10
Replay Value: 7/10

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Outside Links:
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- Review by BryLmoo

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