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  Samurai Shodown V Special - ©Yuki/SNK Playmore 2004 - Review 2

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

One on One Fighter

708 Megs
Japanese Name:

Samurai Spirits Zero Special

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
The King of Fighters series:

94 - 95 - 96 - 97 - 98 - 99 - 2k - 2k1 - 2k2 - 2k3

- Samurai Shodown
- Samurai Shodown 2
- Samurai Shodown 3
- Samurai Shodown 4
- Samurai Shodown 5
- Samurai Shodown 5 Special

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More of One-Fu's Reviews may be found at

Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 1 - by ufoman


Bloody hell!

Samurai Shodown has been the main source of original 2D weapon fighting games since its formation. With each new event, they all share the high points and their faults. The series was known to venture into different emotions from a lighthearted perspective to the darker times in the game’s history. Warriors like Haohmaru, Ukyo, Galford, Charlotte, and Hanzo have cemented their spots in the video game library. Now, the Neo-Geo system is to have a tombstone set into dirt with this last game marking its final day.

Samurai Shodown V received a lukewarm response and in hopes to reclaim some of their fanfare, SNKP and Yuki Enterprise, the same company that produced SSV without any prior knowledge of making fighting games, teamed together and went back to the drawing broad to give you Samurai Shodown V Special. With little life support left on the system, can SSV Special jolt the Neo-Geo for one last joyride?

Graphics: 5/10

There are a few new stages put into the lineup with those from number five. Many range from new and boring to being borrowed with minor, weak makeovers. The stages that are brought back from the older releases were brightened or darken, doing little to stir any interest. I mean the famous remodeled ocean coast stage from Samurai Shodown II got a pale crappy design in this one. Other areas, from the original Samurai Shodown V, were splash with shades of very light color effects. The newly made stages in this episode are blocky and feel very untouched by any sort of excitement from the designers. One thing is for sure, is that when the stages are switch when somebody engages the rage explosion, they do look a little better, but that is not saying much.

The fighters’ animation remains just like it was in the beginning from the last two games. If there was any indication that there was some new movement of sprites in the guys, I did not notice a damn thing. Zankuro and Amakusa come back and are their usual Samurai Shodown IV selves, right down to their arsenal. Mizuki actually get the only real showing of new sprites, along with a new stage setup, as she struts down her return with revamp characteristics coming more as a witch like-being, with added claw nails. I personally liked her incarnation in the second one.

The only other slight altered details are the warriors’ portraits which more or less make them all more sinister to look at for some reason. Shoot, Rimururu with her giggly face is frightening to view, now. It is too bad the behavior on their pictured faces did not adapt to the actual fighters themselves. The series did have fatal finishes and all, but hole-drilled bodies, crushing a heart, slicing a soul, stone breaking, eating your victim as a meal, and drenching yourself in your opponent’s blood via rain just seems way out of Shodown’s element. Those who lust for buckets of blood are bound to feel right at home with this part.

The trash talking segments, after the fights, are so horrendous and laughably bad to be real with you. It looks sad that somebody cannot put clever sayings because the box only allows you like six words or something. I found it weird that somebody thought having Gaira saying “FXXK OFF!” think they were so cool in doing it. In the end, too much ripping from the past towered whatever anything new was put into V Special.

Gameplay/Controls: 5/10

To start things off, this is essentially a dream match, sans a bunch of warriors missing, for the Samurai Shodown franchise. The battles can be short or long depending on who you use and what actions happen during the fight. All of these contests will lead you to Amakusa and if you want to battle the additional bosses, you have to perform the kill move on each of them to get one step closer to the true ending, which is not much to begin with. It seems outrageous that you need to kill the bosses to move on, like they want the new feature to be important.

Like the forerunner, the weapon strength meter stays put, which means every swing depletes it and recovered when idle. What is stupid about is that most normal attacks all ready do better damage then actual specials, so naturally most of the arsenal is useless. The computer AI seems to have mood swings every so often. One round they let you do anything you want to them, the next thing you know they will go all out to crush you fast. By the time you get to the bosses, you might feel the urge to not care and not finish the game.

Speaking of damages, the company supposedly had feedback given to them by fans to fix on the issues surrounding the last game. To be blunt, everything felt the same. Activating of the special trances, like Rage Explosion and Issen, still feel very bizarre. Even when you try to initiate the Ultimate Kill move, if the player has a move that is motioned the same way with the C/D button, accidents are surely to happen. Everything else about the controls is fine and dandy, since the initial configuration is identical from the last game, but once you are in the battle, you basically play and forget about most of them tactics given to you.

Sound/Music: 5/10

Like the last two chapters, most of the sound effects are what you heard from Samurai Shodown IV. All the opponents hitting the pavement, the slash assaults, exploding into a rage and deflecting are the same old, same old. The characters got some fresh lines as well as a few final words before the possible execution. It’s like a Halloween scream festival, I tell you. Nakoruru and Rimururu have cries that are louder and more unforgettable then the others as the companies extenuate their dying. For some reason, that did not sit well for me.

Anything that appears in this version, from the last Shodown, also came with the exact music that accompanied them. A little lazy on their part, but even more sluggish is their attempts of making new tracks in the special. Most of them are mostly clink and clanks on one repetitive unenthusiastic beat. One flute or one drum, you will feel like no one was ever trying in this project. The only track that seems to sound like work was done was the character selection screen and that is distressing.

Replay Value: 5/10

Despite the exact same scoring, this copy is a little higher then its predecessor because of the addition of past bosses. They also removed “Mr. Energy Refill” Sankuro and Yumeji, which make the mood that much more pleasant. On the other hand, nothing really got change for the better. They say the game is more balance, but you come across more quick mayhem when two well-placed slashes could pretty much end an entire round with some warriors, computer or human. You can also get an idea that having guys like Zankuro and Mizuki as part of the class make them seem dumb down or not as larger then life menaces like they use to be. There are endings in this, but they are just pictures of the defeated boss, laid on the ground with their parting words. How intriguing? The insertions of having unique fatalities may help thrill some fans, but with everything else falling apart, this game to me was still a letdown.

Overall: 5/10

So this is the final game to end the life cycle that was the Neo-Geo system, huh? If systems were long running television shows, this finale stinks. To end the timeline with a suppose upgrade to a less then mediocre game is a travesty. Many people have said they enjoyed this release, but with me, there so many things going wrong with it. The battle system did not captivate me, the style of the whole game was pathetic, and when it was all said in done, it felt unworthy.

The first game set the standard. The second one was a wonderful piece of fighting game activity. The third one was darker, but still had its moments. The fourth chapter felt rush and less exciting. The fifth installment was so many steps backwards. This one…this one…leaves me speechless as to how to describe it.

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