Samurai Shodown 64
It's been quite some time since Samurai Shodown first entered arcades. At the time there was not a lot of competition. Street Fighter II was still hot, of course, but fighting games were just going nova and gamers were starving for more. Samurai not only introduced us to a brand-new story with new characters and abilities but it also gave us a new innovation-WEAPONS!
Weapons had been attempted before but never on this scale and never as successfully. Samurai 2 was more of the same and an excellent game in its own right. When the third game was released, it was getting a little old and the engine was not nearly as good as in two, but it did introduce good and evil sides (Slash and Bust) of your favorite characters. Samurai 4 was back to the basics and was a very good game. Now, this fifth installment has given the graphics and game engine a major facelift.
With the power of Hyper Neo-Geo 64 behind it, the game looks incredible. The rendered character models are beautiful and their animation is extremely fluid. There are still Slash and Bust versions of each character, and many of the characters who appeared in the previous games return for the latest installment of the series.
There are new characters in the game as well. Shiki (pictured lower right) is a mystical ninja and Kazuki Kazama is a Dragon Ball-style character who uses a samurai short sword. The one downfall of the version shown at this year's AMOA was the gameplay. It seemed a bit slow, even by Samurai standards. All of the Shodowns moved at a pace all their own, but this 3-D version simply feels like it's underwater. The good news? It's still being tweaked. The game has appeared on test and the feedback was optimistic. SNK America is actually taking a more active role in the production of games due in no small part to the newest addition to the SNK team: Darryl Williams.