Review - Samurai Shodown

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Trev
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Review - Samurai Shodown

Post by Trev » Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:14 pm

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Originating on the Neo-Geo, an arcade system that played host to a ridiculous number of fighting games, Samurai Shodown (and it's sequel) rised above the competition to become one of the premier brawlers of it's day. The popular fighter would soon land on the 3DO, with Crystal Dynamics handling the conversion. How does the 3DO version fare?

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Most of the fighting games on 3DO have unique features that (for better or worse) make them stand out among the crowd. Way of the Warrior features digitized fighters, a licenced soundtrack, and tons of secrets. Ballz features 3d gameplay and a good sense of humor. Supreme Warrior features full motion video and b grade acting, etc... Samurai's unique angle is that all of it's characters have weapons (think a 2D Soul Calibar) There is the option to remove the weapons, but why bother? To do that takes away much from the game's personality. Another unique feature of the game is that some of the characters have animal allies to fight alongside them. This helps differentiate Samurai from other 3DO arcade fighting game ports like Street Fighter and Primal Rage.

Twelve characters are available to choose from, and there is some good variety among them. They are well represented with bright and colorful graphics. Special moves are plentiful, and are also nicely presented. Personally, I would have liked to see more emphasis on weapons combat and less on fireball type moves, but at least these are visually appealing. Each of the characters have unique backgrounds that (for the most part) are also attractively presented. There is some good variety to be found here as well. I still occasionaly notice details that I missed on prior plays. One nice graphical touch is how the camera will zoom in and out depending on the distance between the fighters. It is done quite effectively, and is not in the least bit distracting. Anice visual package. :)

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The music is appropriate, although honestly I do not find it that memorable. (Is it any better than the Neo Geo version?) Sfx vary from solid to very poor (the fireworks on Ukyo's stage sound awful, while the storm winds and howling dog on Hanzo's stage are nicely done) Solid overall.

There are a few extra features scattered throughout the game. Sometimes the fighters will lock up, and you will be prompted to punch a button to seperate them. The end result varies ... sometimes you lose your weapon, sometimes your opponet does. Sometimes you both lose your weapons, and sometimes no one does. This adds some variety to the fighting and is fine. Other things though, like the Pow meters, and the random dropping of coins and food during the fight seem gimmicky in my opinion. There is also bonus stages, that remind me a bit of whack-a-mole. They are not very creative, and I find them rather dull. Thankfully they are limited.

I have a few quirks with the game. One, load times tend to be a bit long. They average around 10 seconds between the begining of each contest. When you add these with the opening taunts, arriving at the fight location, introductions etc... it can amount to annoying wait between fights. Also, at the end of each contest, the background graphics for some reason tend to speed up considerably. This is especially noticable on busy stages with lots of background activity (spectators appear as if they are having seizures!) :o

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The blood factor, although featured prominetly in Crystal's advertisements ('Just another day by the pool' ... of blood!) I found to be quite limited. No complaints mind you, as I don't think it's needed, and prefer it without anyway, but players expecting Mortal Kombat level gore will be dissapointed. (It is mainly noticable at the end when an opponent is defeated, and then very briefly) Still, since SNK evidently censored this from previous home conversions, fans of the original have reason to be happy that 3DO is true to the arcade. (This feature can be turned off)

Frankly I found a couple other things more disturbing than the limited use of blood. It wasn't the characters being chopped in half (this is rare, and happens so quick it is hardly noticable) but some of the victory scenes. It is kinda creepy seeing the loser being carried off in a shroud. :shock: Also some of the taunts ('In this scene I rip open your belly') are a bit gruesome. Granted, it is no Mortal Kombat, but it also quite a step up from SFII.

I think the computer AI in Samurai is quite smart, and early on I'm guessing you may die alot if you aren't overly familiar with the original. Opponents adapt to your fighting style (I noticed that moves I used for victory in round 1 would usually not work in round 2) With practice though, I learned to hold my own, catch on to the computers patterns, and adapt myself. Some advice you could consider is to stick with one character you like and learn all their moves before going on to another. I found it worked best for me, and it may for you also. Difficulty is adjustable though, so gamers of all skill levels should be able to have fun.

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Overall, I have fun playing this game. I don't think that it neccesarily has the playability of Super Street Fighter II (the 3DO's best fighting game hands down imo) but it has enough good things in it's favor to warrant repeated plays. I still continue to come back to it all these years later, and I plan to spend some more time with it so that I can be proficient with each character. More than anything, this speaks to me of the games value. In this age of 3D fighting games, their is something satisfying about playing a game of this style. I don't know if I would call Samurai Shodown a great game, but it certainly is a very good one. :)

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-Trev
Last edited by Trev on Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by 3DOKid » Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:14 am

Now here is a game. I hated this game. I knew it was good - I can smell when a game is good - but could I play it? Could I get to grips with it? Could I hell.

That was until I received my Japanese FZ-10 and the step-up from snail-pace EU 50hz to hare-like-prancing US/JPN 60hz.

...I'm a fan of now of Samurai Shodown. Never before had I thought that 10% boost in performance could make such a difference.

I totally agree with everything you said by the way.

I think the characters and scenes are richer, more stylised than SF2. Let me explain: SF2 characters are less extreme. Ryu is less japanese than Haohmaru, E.Honda is thinner than Earthquake and so on. Also, touches like Haohmaru's sensai was called "Nicotine Caffeine" - I love that sort of thing. It does my head in. Brilliant stuff.

... A side note: I noticed that in later Samurai Shodown Haohmaru got old - I hate it when they do that!

Those inter-level sub games 'Whack a mole' as you call them were all the rage at one point. The 'used' to be in SF2 as well as I recall.

I think the 'blood' elements are more Japanese Anime, especially the way it spurts out. Reminded me of Vampire hunter D, when D charges into the Vampire castle, blood splashing all over the place and in Ninja Scroll in a very similiar style.

Nice work mate - it's a great contribution you are putting in here!

3DO Kid.

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Re: Review - Samurai Showdown

Post by Mobius » Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:17 am

Trev wrote:Also, at the end of each contest, the background graphics for some reason tend to speed up considerably. This is especially noticable on busy stages with lots of background activity (spectators appear as if they are having seizures!) :o
I seem to remember Street Fighter II doing this, but it's been a while since I've played it, so I could be making that up.

Anyway, how does Samurai Showdown control? I have no intention of ever playing Street Fighter on the 3DO because of the lack of buttons. How many does SS use, and how are they mapped?
3DOKid wrote:That was until I received my Japanese FZ-10 and the step-up from snail-pace EU 50hz to hare-like-prancing US/JPN 60hz.

...I'm a fan of now of Samurai Shodown. Never before had I thought that 10% boost in performance could make such a difference.
20%! 50hz players really are getting gypped. Especially on games that emphasize speed, like Sonic.

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Re: Review - Samurai Showdown

Post by 3DOKid » Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:50 am

Mobius wrote:
Trev wrote:Also, at the end of each contest, the background graphics for some reason tend to speed up considerably. This is especially noticable on busy stages with lots of background activity (spectators appear as if they are having seizures!) :o
I seem to remember Street Fighter II doing this, but it's been a while since I've played it, so I could be making that up.

Anyway, how does Samurai Showdown control? I have no intention of ever playing Street Fighter on the 3DO because of the lack of buttons. How many does SS use, and how are they mapped?
3DOKid wrote:That was until I received my Japanese FZ-10 and the step-up from snail-pace EU 50hz to hare-like-prancing US/JPN 60hz.

...I'm a fan of now of Samurai Shodown. Never before had I thought that 10% boost in performance could make such a difference.
20%! 50hz players really are getting gypped. Especially on games that emphasize speed, like Sonic.
Mobius - hunt down the Capcom street fighter II joypad or one of the arcade sticks.

As for controls. In Shodown I tend scurry about a lot and then hit them with a super-hard punch but as I recall it needs more buttons too... :(

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Post by T2KFreeker » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:22 am

I hate to point this out, but the title is spelled Samurai Shodown. There is only one "W" for some reason. Still, it is the way that it is. I love this version of the game as it really was pretty much arcade perfect.
This is a stick up! Put all of your 3DO games in the bag and nobody gets hurt!

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Post by Trev » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:32 am

That is so weird, I never noticed that before. (it's funny what the mind can do to you) I'll have to edit it. Thanks. :)

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Post by mosul210 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:12 pm

Samurai shodown was my favorite fighting game on 3DO. I agree with others this was a perfect port from the Neo-Geo. Perhaps the best home version I've seen of the game.

The audio although not great is very authentic to its Arcade cousin.

The game play was great in my opinion, the characters for the most part are very well balanced. Again, this is my favorite title in this genre just edging my second favorite WOTW.

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Post by Trev » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:39 pm

this is my favorite title in this genre just edging my second favorite WOTW.
WOTW over SFII? :? Seriously?

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Post by mosul210 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:56 am

Trev wrote:
this is my favorite title in this genre just edging my second favorite WOTW.
WOTW over SFII? :? Seriously?
At the time I was burnt on SF, played through so many versions. That being said I think the 3DO may have the best SF port.

WOTW struck while the iron was hot, this was a time when digitized characters such as Mortal Kombat brought a new sense of realism and innovation.

The game play was not nearly as deep as SFII but it brought something new to the table and perhaps the best sound track to ever grace a fighter.

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Post by Tatsumaru » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:04 pm

I still need to play this game on the 3DO, but I'm pretty sure I'll love it, since I enjoyed a lot the Genesis version, and it had an horrible FPS rate...

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Post by phatrat1982 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:24 am

Back when I used to read about 3DO in EGM magazines this was the game I wanted the most. After the awful Genesis and Sega CD ports I almost gave up on finding a good home port.

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