Samurai Shodown

a game by Takara, and SNK
Genres: Action, Fighting Games
Platforms: NeoGeo, XBox, Sega GenesisGenesis, SNESSNES, Sega CD, 3DO, GameBoy, GameGear
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 17 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 3 votes
Rate this game:
See also: Samurai Games, Fighting Games

The ultimate hack 'n' slash fighting game for the Neo-Geo is coming to the Super Famicom! You've probably played it in the arcades and were astounded by the graphics, the characters, and the moves. Well, Takara of Japan is faithfully reproducing this game for the home.

Choose your favorite fighter and battle your way to Amakusa. Some characters have animals that help them, like the nimble Galford, who uses his dog Poppy to attack.

Occasionally items will be dropped in the middle of combat, like health or bombs. These can change the outcome of many battles.

When two warriors clench in deadly combat, one can lose his or her sword, and sometimes it can be broken! An unarmed fighter is an easy target.

Samurai Spirits, as it's known in Japan, is loaded with special moves that are dazzling to see. Takara is trying to make the Super Famicom version as close as possible to the Neo-Geo game.

If you've ever wanted a fighting game that uses a lot of new ideas, looks good, and plays well, Samurai Spirits will definitely appeal to you.

Stay tuned for more information on one of the hottest fighting games around.

Download Samurai Shodown

NeoGeo

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

XBox

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Genesis

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.

SNES

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed

Sega CD

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

3DO

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Gameboy

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

GameGear

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

People say:

5

You've probably just asked one of the following three questions: 1. SAMURAI WHOZAWHATNOW? The arcade swan song to a '90s-sprung 2D fighter, SamSho is what happens when a decade of solid arcade games is boiled down to one catch-all effort. If your fighting history starts with something in three dimensions and you're 2D-curious, it's a palatable sample of what used to be (that will play on a system that still is). 2.1 STOPPED AT SAMSHO III-- IS V ANY GOOD ON XBOX? Well, they merged the Slash/Bust variations of each character, oversimplified button functionality, and retooled or palette-swapped versions of existing characters for almost all the new samurai. So, yeah, it's probably the worst one. But if you want to play online, it's also the only one. 3. WILL HAOHMARU'S OUGI KOGETSU ZAN BE HINDERED BY INTERNET LATENCY? You'll be happy to know that online battles are silky smooth. Intermittent loading cuts short your real-time chatting and the online menu is a little archaic, but it's easy to create or find matches. You can even set up a tournament that spans multiple days and see if "Victoly!" will indeed be yours.

5

SamSho doesn't just look like its decade-old prequels--much of it is its decade-old prequels, with graphics ripped directly from earlier games. I'd complain more about this "recycling" if the few characters and backgrounds they dadd weren't such ugly, uninspired piles of pixels. Still, I can't deny that the gameplay--a hodgepodge of elements from the last few games plus some new bits--while uneven and hardly imaginative, can be fun in the right matchup (i.e., no one chooses the annoying or unbalanced characters). And it's nice to have all my favorite samurai together in one game, especially over the surprisingly robust and lag-free Xbox Live game, where you can fight other players of your same level worldwide and even set up tournaments.

7

It really doesn't get any more old school than a 2D SNK fighting game, and SamSho V is really starting to show its age. At a discount price, there's certainly nothing egregiously wrong with the game; Shodown packs plenty of characters and features a solid, straightforward fighting system reminiscent of its two previous incarnations. But this classic weapons-based fighting series has lost much of its soul. While the original cast moves as fluidly as ever, the newer faces are the epitome of mediocre design and animation. Luckily, Xbox Live saves the day. The ability to set up a tournament among friends is an awesome touch.

One of the greatest fighting games around is not on its way to the 3DO by way of Crystal Dynamics. Samurai Shodown has been translated flawlessly so far. Even though it's still early, (only three characters were really playable) it's easy to see that this will be the closest translation.

All of the characters will be in the game. From the American ninja Galford and his dog Poppy to the stealthy Hanzo, this translation will feature the scaling found in the arcade game.

This will be the fighting game to get when it comes out. It's an amazing conversion that has to be seen to be believed.

When a game is originally created as a 24-bit cartridge, you'd expect that the 32-bit CD could easily be a carbon copy. Unfortunately, Samurai Shodown for 3DO serves up the unexpected.

SAMURAI SHODOWN

At least the 3DO Shodown comes to the fight with all the basics intact. This version provides all the original fighters, all their moves, and all the colorful visuals.

The good graphics show off some particularly nice background detail, but there are a few letdowns. The character sprites are large and fairly sharp, but their animations and moves are executed more slowly than Shodown fans would expect in comparison with the Neo-Ceo original. The great cinemas of Amakusa, the taunting end boss, are missing, which is a big disappointment.

The pokey scaling is even more vexing because it overturns one of Shodown's traditionally strong points. Since the scaling isn't as smooth as it is in the arcade version, the game feels slower than it actually is.

One thing's slow for sure, though: Access time between fights eats up a whopping eight seconds! All that sitting around quickly becomes frustrating.

The sounds fare better than the visuals. Like arcade Sho-down, the dramatic music and voices fit the sword-fighting theme perfectly. The music's an excellent reproduction of the original's, but the voices are way off. They're scratchy and difficult to understand: Gal-ford's "Plasma blade" sounds more like "Rub my brain."

SAMURAI BREAKDOWN

The majority of Shodown fans will meet their match with the controls. Buttons A, B, and C on the 3DO controller are all punches. If you want to perform a kick, you must simultaneously press a Shift button and a main button, which is fatally awkward in the middle of a fight. Unfortunately, you can't reconfigure buttons.

As for special moves, you might pull them off with the mushy directionals on the standard Panasonic controller - if you're lucky. Modifying the controller as described in the manual improves the response.

FINAL COUNTDOWN

Shodown doesn't show well for arcade purists. If you don't use the standard 3DO controller, playing is bearable thanks to the redeeming qualities of the cool graphics. But if you're a true fan of the Neo-Ceo masterpiece, you may want to go to the arcade to get your fix.

ProTips:

  • In the bonus round, stand in the center of the screen to ensure that you slice all the straw targets.
  • Use Hanzo's air grab move to ward off air attacks.
  • Be sure you have an open shot If you throw Wan-Fu's sword. He'll be temporarily defenseless.
  • When Galford's down to his last bit of energy, use the dog to intercept projectiles. Motion Down, Down-Away, Away, then hit any Punch button. Cruel but effective.
  • It's better to play the waiting game and let Amakusa come to you. Defense is the key to victory here.

Here's a good prescription for eye problems: a Game Boy, a copy of Samurai Shodown, and three hours of uninterrupted fighting. But once you get past the small characters, half-size Shodown ain't half bad.

Samurai Lite

Amazingly, all 12 characters are represented in the GB cart. Most of the special moves made it in, too, though fatalities and blood are nowhere to be found. You'll also be surprised to see the various stages are included, a nice change of pace from other Game Boy fighting games like Mortal Kombat.

Your two-button control is pretty solid. You get a Normal slash, a Hard slash, and a kick. Unfortunately, there are no combos in this version (all the two-in-ones are gone), but the controls for the special moves are reasonably responsive.

This version of Shodown definitely has a kiddie touch to it-many of the graphics appear to have been softened up for a younger audience; Haohmaru looks like a Cabbage Patch Kid.

The music's pretty darn good, with all the stage tunes from the coin-op scaled down but still included. However, don't expect to hear "Ippon" or any other voices from the GB speakers.

Buy OK BAIL?

On-the-go fight fans who have 20-20 vision may enjoy this cutesy Romper Room edition of everyone's favorite weapon fighter. However, it's hard to justify spending money on this game when you could save up for the Genesis version instead.

Back for more action, Samurai Shodovvn hits your Sega CD in a big way with this excellent translation of the arcade hit! Battle it out in feudal Japan using your favorite samurai in your own home.

The Boss character from the arcade, Amakusa, joins the fray in place of the large Earthquake character, who didn't make it to the Sega CD (or the Genesis). This is one of the closest translations of the bunch.

THE GOOD

I like the quality of the translation. The graphics are large and impressive.

THE BAD

Too bad the scaling didn't make it to the Sega CD. Earthquake is a big loss, too.

THE UGLY

Well, this version was a little raw, so it's not fair to rip on the game.

Samurai Shodown is one of the most popular fighting games around. While not as big a hit as Mortal Kombat II or Street Fighter II. it's got a very large and dedicated following.

The Sega CD version looks to be one of the best conversions for the home. It not only looks very close to the Neo*Geo game, but it sounds great too!

All the little features of Shodown, from the messenger guy to the bonus stages are here, making this the best fighting game for the Sega CD. All the warriors, like Charlotte, Tam Tam, and Ukyo can be found in this classic dueling game.

If you enjoy Samurai Shodown as much as I do, it would be worth your time to check out this great conversion. It's awesome.

Velcome to the world of hand-held fighting games. With all of the competition out there, it's hard to find an original fighting game. Tankara has a hit with Samurai Shodown. I have not played a game where the special moves are so easy to perform. You will find Samurai Shodown an excellent addition to your video game collection.

THE GOOD

The play control is excellent which makes getting the moves off easy.

THE BAD

It's hard to see what you're doing on the small screen.

THE UGLY

The graphics leave a lot to be desired.

Howdy, partner! There's a special something happenin' when a bunch of samurais get together to do some country I dancin'...er, wait a second.

It's Shodown, not hoedown. Samurai Shodown IV makes its debut to do some slashing at the arcade (or Neo-Geo).

Gamers may be familiar with the other versions of Samurai Shodown that have been on the Neo-Geo as well as on almost every console system.

Samurai Shodown IV introduces some new characters as well as returning characters from Samurai I and II. Tam-Tam and others are in this fourth installment, even though they weren't in Shodown III. This time, the game features over 15 characters, each with his/her own special moves and techniques. [Check the sidebar for more info.) Each of the characters has his/her own look-the pictures in the sidebar only show their faces, but the pics elsewhere show the cool look that the characters have.

When choosing a character, a gamer has the option to fight with one of two techniques. By choosing Bust technique over Slash, a player will find that the character has different moves. The different techniques also separate the characters into good and evil. These techniques also give the characters a few different moves.

A player can also choose different battle classes: Upper, Medium and Beginner. These merely adjust the difficulty of the game for that character.

The moves in the game are plenty-most being fireball-type motions (Down, Down Right, Forward+button) while others are very difficult. There are also special commands for other moves that can only be executed when in "Pow" Mode, similar to a super combo.

The graphics in SS4 are great-looking. The characters are in full battle garb (whether they're a ninja, a samurai or a swordsperson). By pressing the B button on the Character Selection Screen, a player can change the color of the character's outfit

The backdrops also change while playing. For example, when the time limit gets close to zero, the background will change from a nighttime forest scene into a dismal rain scene. Also, when a character's "Pow" bar reaches its peak and is activated, the backdrop becomes a giant symbol-some are giant skulls while others are pentagram-type designs.

The game's music and sound effects add quite a bit to the gameplay. There's nothing like the sound of a sword slash going through an enemy when they've been wiping up the floor with the gamer's character. The music is standard Samurai music, which isn't a bad thing by any means.

By executing different moves, players can get some mean combo action going as they're put up against some tough opponents. The sword expert, Charolette, has gotten up to 32 slashes during one combo situation. This can cause some major damage. All of them look cool, but some aren't all that powerful.

Like the Samurai Shodowns of the past this one has the fatal moves that can't be found in many other places. Sure, some games boast head-exploding fatalities, but Samurai Shodown has diagonally sliced bodies and chest wounds that seem to bleed for hours. Gamers may wonder, though, why the insides of the characters are whoever taps faster will end up keeping their weapon. Whoever doesn't will lose their weapon until they retrieve it By the way. Samurai IV doesn't have anything to do with country dancing-let's be thankful.

Gamer's EDGE

There are a few combo moves that do require more than one button tap. but usually a three-, four- or five-hitter shouldn't be much of a problem with any of the sword-toting characters. The key is to find the move that gives the most hits and then do that same move when the character is powered up.

When pow'ed up. a character will usually double or triple the amount of hits they can dish out in a combo. As mentioned in the body text, some characters can give major hits ( up to 30 or more). Another way to find combos is to just mess around with different button taps and fireballs moves. Keep an eye out for special moves that pop up on the screen during play.

Also look in upcoming issues of EGM" for a blowout strategy guide of Samurai Shodown IV.

  • Manufacturer: JVC
  • Genre: fighting
  • Players: 1 or 2
  • Levels: 13
  • Difficulty: adjustable

This cult arcade hit for Neo-Geo has finally hit the home systems with versions for SNES, Genesis, and soon, Sega CD, It's not without its problems, but without a doubt, the 3DO version is the best of them.

This is nearly arcade perfect. Every flashing blade is here, and it even zooms in and out to keep both players on screen like the Neo*Geo version. In fact, if you put the two side by side and looked at them, you'd be hard pressed to tell which was which.

Until you started playing them anyway. This version does have two major drawbacks - one, as with Super Street Fighter II Turbo, you're going to find that the 3DO control pad just isn't cut out for high speed fighting game moves, in fact, the problem is worse here, because with SSFIIT, the really complicated 'super' mover, just don't come up that often, whereas with Shodown, almost ever; character has some bizarre control pad swing right from the start.

Second, there's a pretty lengthy access time just before the fight starts. As with the Sega CD version of Mortal Kombat, this kinda works against the spirit of action and excitement. However, once you get used to it, if you can get used to it this is still the best version of this game around - face it, a disk for fifty bucks is a heck of a lot better deal than a big-ass cart for two hundred.

  • Machine: SNES
  • Manufacturer: Takara.

The Neo-Geo hit makes it to the SNES in pretty much one piece, with all of its blade-wielding action intact. Superb graphics, control and music combine to make this an excellent change-of-pace fighting game.

  • Machine: Sega CD.
  • Manufacturer: by SNK. publisher JVC.

A True Samurai Fights With Dignity And Honor

But that doesn't mean you have to.

Go back to the end of the 18th century when fighting was for dignity and honor. When style and form was of importance. Of course you don't have to play like that though. Cutting an opponent in half is half the fun. Through the intense graphics and sounds of Sega CD, you'll really think you're back in Feudal Japan!

Looking for a Neo∙Geo portover with some power to it? Keep looking. Although this Sega CD version of Samurai Shodown is enjoyable, it isn't as polished or good looking as it should be.

Catcher in ne Samurai

Based on the arcade smash from more than two years ago, Samurai Shodown is yet another Japanese two-player fighting game. You play as one of eleven fighters (the twelfth original fighter, Earthquake, was removed) in a fight-to-the-death battle.

You have a unique mix of fighters, too, from a foil- wielding female fencer to a dog-wielding American ninja. Each fighter is armed with razor-sharp weaponry and some fancy, screen-bursting special moves.

Samurai Slowdown

The graphics are eye catching but flawed at times. Crisp, dean, colorful animation is often interrupted by slowdown, missing frames of animation, and clunky moves. Also missing is the SNK trademark of scaling in and out of the background.

The game also suffers from long load times. The game accesses the disc between rounds, after a win, and when you're waiting for a friend to join. You'll see the "Disc Access" symbol more than any actual fighting.

The sound and music are disappointing. The eerie Japanese-sounding music is everywhere, but the effects sound like nasal reproductions from the arcade game.

Game control is a breeze if you have a six-button controller. Three buttons for fierce, medium, and light slashes and three more for fierce, medium, and light kicks make guiding your fighters a snap.

ProTips:

  • Kyoshiro's Fire Attack can be deadly, but with the correct timing, you can jump over it and hit him.
  • Air attacks cause more damage to your foe.
  • The Medium Punch button produces some low-blow slashing. Use it if you miss a dose opponent with an attack.

Shodown at the So-So Corral

Ultimately, one major oversight enhances this game's faults: It's nearly three years old! Samurai Shodown II has already been in the arcades for a year and this portover has missed the boat.

There are better fighting games out there. You just have to wave your sword a bit to find them.

  • When fighting as Gen-An, get close and press Fierce Punch for this devastating corkscrew attack.
  • Your kicks and punches seem to have more power when you're unarmed.
  • The basics work well here. Throw a projectile, and then follow it in with a blistering special attack.

A Samurai fears nothing. Well, here's something scary: Samurai Shodown for the SNES. This disappointing conversion stalls with scaled- down characters and crippled controls that drop a potential top fighter to the lower ranks.

Control Frustration

In the arcades, Shodown is a six-button fighting game trapped in a four-button body. You have three strengths of slashes and kicks (like Street Fighter II) that are activated by simultaneously pressing two buttons. Considering that the SNES has six buttons, one would have thought Takara would use the L and R buttons alone to activate the Hard attacks, right? Wrong! You must awkwardly press L or R and one of the other buttons simultaneously to do a Hard slash or kick. Unfortunately, there's little leeway in the options menu to reconfigure the controller.

ProTip: Take chances when your POW meter's charged. Inflict heavy damage and get right back into the fight.

Despite the control, you may still enjoy the game play. Although limited, the combos are nearly identical to those in the arcade version. Thesword-to-sword fighting can be intense. Missing your moves at key moments, however, is a recipe for frustration.

Samurai Shrinkoown

You know Samurai's sword is dull when Haohmaru is the size of Mario. In the Neo∙Ceo version, the characters become bigger when you're close and smaller when you're far away. In SNES, the characters are small the entire time.

Beyond the small characters, the excellent graphics are highlighted by awesome detail in stages such as Nakoruru's snow-covered village and Galford's San Francisco pier.

You can't compensate for poor graphics with sounds, but Shodown tries pretty hard. The music and tunes are mostly straight from the arcade. However, the voices are a bit of a letdown -- many are missing, and some were strangely altered.

Down and Out

Shodown SNES has its good points, but nothing can make up for the control and graphical problems. Not to mention the censored blood, fatalities, and text. Don't walk into the Shodown showdown with this Shodown.

The fighting game of the year in 1993, Samurai Shodown is finally cutting its way to home systems, courtesy of Takara. The SNES and Genesis are first among the console versions, and surprisingly, the Genesis edition is the better of the two!

Win Some, Lose Some

Because of memory limitations, Takara removed certain elements from the 24-meg cart to make room for others. While it's unfortunate that you have to live without some cool features, Takara made wise decisions about what to keep and what to cut.

For starters, Earthquake was axed completely. He's extremely large, which meant his sprite probably used a lot of ROM space, but he wasn't very popular in the arcades since his attack was considered extremely cheap. With him gone, Takara made the final boss, Amakusa, selectable in the two-player mode. This addition definitely jacks up the fighting action.

Other missing stuff includes the cinematic win screens, the Haohmaru tree-chopping intro, and some background details (especially in Hanzo's stage). Again, these sacrifices were all necessary compromises for large characters.

Large As Life

Just like the SNES version, the Genesis graphics don't scale, they only stay at one size. Fortunately, that size is big, which is a striking improvement on the small SNES graphics. With such large characters, you might assume there isn't enough screen space to fight, but that turns out to be no problem at all!

You'll notice, however, that many animation frames have been removed, especially from the win poses (Gen-an no longer licks his claw). What would you rather have: Small characters with all the animation or large characters with most of the animation? The answer is obvious!

That Samurai Jingle

Music from the dicey Genesis audio chip is always limited, but Takara did a laudable job of reproducing the coin-op tunes and providing a surprising amount of voice. The biggest cut was the removal of the announcement of characters' names.

Almost Fatal

Speaking of cuts, the blood in this version has been significantly watered down. Although it's red and more prevalent than it is in SNES Shodown, it comes in drops as compared to the buckets of the arcade version. Fortunately, both fatalities appear in this game, though they seem to happen less frequently than they do in the coin-op.

Precision Control

The bottom line is the control and game play, and here Shodown comes through in spades. The button layout using the six-button Arcade Pad is absolutely perfect. Although some of the collision and hit points could've been tweaked more (it's not as precise as the arcade version is), the game play and character interaction is pretty solid.

Like the Neo∙Geo version, there aren't a lot of combos -- but Takara put in some new combos that didn't work in the arcade! Two-in-one possibilities occur more frequently, and jump-in combos seem to work better.

All That Gutters

Shodown has just enough of the spirit and power of the arcade to satisfy frenzied fighters searching for the only true weapons game available. However, this version has enough missing elements to prompt hardcore fans with deep pockets to take a serious look at the Sega CD and 3DO versions.

The dash of sword against spear cuts through the air. All in attendance bow in homage at the arrival of the finest weapons- based fighting game ever: Samurai Shodown! Will Takara's 32-meg conversion retain the true Neo∙Ceo quality, or will the SNES version be a watered- down, censored, pale reflection of the original? Here's a first look.

A Neo∙Geo Champion

Samurai Shodown features 12 fierce weapon warriors in a one-on-one fighting game similar to Street Fighter II, but SS has many unique qualities. Since all the characters use weapons, the blade-to-blade action is developed and requires different strategies. Your weapons can "ting" against each other, resulting in a lock-up-and-shove battle for superiority. You can be disarmed, and your weapon can even break if it's weak (for example, Nakoruru's dagger).

A six-button game, just like SF II, Shodown features some wild special techniques. In a surprising and exciting twist, some really cool two-in-one combos, such as Cenan's Fierce Slash into the Rolling Fire Attack, are included.

That Scaling Feeling

This version have three characters: Jubei, Ukyo, and Charlotte. Not only that, the scaling from the arcade (which zooms the screen in when the characters get close) was not operational. It's hard to say how closely the SNES version will compare to the arcade.

This game is much better than its PC version!

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots

GameGear Screenshots

NeoGeo Screenshots

GameBoy Screenshots

3DO Screenshots

Sega CD Screenshots

XBox Screenshots