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A Look Back at Samurai Greatness

The Sega Genesis has a handful of games that can be considered “essentials.” There is, of course, the Sonic the Hedgehog titles along with such games as Altered Beast. The Genesis had a very strong catalog of fighting titles, including the blood-soaked Mortal Kombat and Streets of Rage. Most of these games came from the arcades and were ported onto the system. This includes one of the greatest and most underrated fighting games of all time, Samurai Spirits, or Samurai Shodown, as it is known in America.

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The line of colorful fighters is difficult to forget. Courtesy of Youtube

SNK’s gorgeous tribute to Japanese matrial arts and culture came to the United States in 1993 via the NeoGeo home arcade system. A port for the Genesis was provided a year later, and the game became a cult favorite among American audiences. The game was iconically Japanese, hosting many authentic an unpronounceable Japanese names for the fighters themselves. The gameplay drew a similarity to that of games like Street Fighter 2, but the characters were so much more colorful and animated. To this day, Samurai Shodown is considered to be one of the most unique and stylistic fighting games ever developed.

A Return to the Battlefield

It has been well over 10 years since Samurai Shodown received any updates. The game has been ported various times over the years for multiple systems, but it did not get a fresh coat of paint. That is, until now. Last week, during PAX East, SNK revealed that a brand new chapter in the Samurai Shodown saga would begin in June. This new game is a complete reboot of the original title, presenting updated visuals, new characters, and much, much more. The game is simply called Samurai Shodown, and much like its predecessor, it is truly gorgeous.

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The style of the original has been retained, but the visuals have clearly been improved. Courtesy of LiveatPC.com

Most of the characters that you remember from the original game will return in this new title. The fighting styles of each character reflect the styles of their 16-bit counterparts, but new “finishing features” have been added to speed up the gameplay. Under the right conditions, each fighter is able to land a slew of moves that can cause critical damage to the opponent. For example, one sample fight shows two katana wielding samurai duking it out with each other in close quarters. One of the fighters loses his weapon and is then reduced to fighting with his hands until he is able to pick it up. When he does so, he catches his opponent off guard and unleashes a quick strike that practically decapitates the other warrior.

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A look at the menacing new character, Yashamaru Kurama.

New Fighters Enter the Fray

Along with these new moves and visuals, SNK has revealed three new characters that make their debut on Shodown. The first is Darli Dagger, a shipbuilder who fights with a shark-toothed blade. The second is Wu-Ruixiang, a Chinese sorceress that can summon a dragon to fight for her. Finally, there is Yashurama Kurama, a fallen samurai who fights with a nagamaki, a sword with an extended handle. These characters, along with the series mainstays, help to add to the flair that this franchise is known for.

The Shodown Starts Soon

If you can’t wait to play this game, don’t worry, you will not have to wait long. The new Samurai Shodown is slighted for release on the Xbox One and PS4 consoles on June 27. The game will also be released on the Switch and PC in the late fall/early winter.

The Shodown starts soon, are you ready?