Samurai Shodown III / Samurai Spirits: Zankurou Musoken

:  One man became known as the "Oni" (demon). The man's name was Zankuro. He would attack many villages and would leave none alive. But one night, he left one child alive in a village. He couldn't kill that one child. No one knew why. Ever since that night, Zankuro would only attack those who challenge him. And many years later, twelve warriors set out to kill Zankuro.

Out with the old... in with the new.

REVIEWThe third installment to SNK's hit Samurai Shodown series made a statement by being considerably darker than the first two games. To the dismay of some fans, old favorites like Charlotte, Cham Cham, Earthquake, and Gen-an were removed from the roster and replaced with newcomers like Shizumaru, Rimururu, Basara, and Gaira. The newcomers add an all new charisma to the series, along with brand new fighting styles. The character sprites have been completely redrawn in a new style, and all of the backgrounds, animations, music, and voice-overs are brand new as well!.

Basara & Gaira... two of the newcomers. 

With this installment, Samurai Shodown's gameplay and "pace" has changed quite a bit from the first two games and almost feels completely original. One of the most notable gameplay changes is the ability to "charge up" your character's POW gauge (not unlike the super meter in AOF). The other new addition to the gameplay is the fact that there are now two "versions" of each fighter: Slash and Bust, each mode offering a slightly different move set per character. Air blocking was also added to the gameplay for the first time ever.

Samurai Shodown never looked better.

Many priority attacks can now be cancelled into special moves, unlike the prequel which only feature a few cancelable moves. Most of SS2's movement options were removed, in favor of Dodge Attacks which are done by pressing the A & B buttons simultaneously.  When close, a character whom performs a Dodge Attack will quickly move around the opponent, allowing them to attack from behind. Like in the prequels, items were thrown onto the battlefield but this time coming from off-screen instead of from a character in the background.



Page Updated: April 24th, 2018
Developer(s): SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Artwork by: Eiji Shiroi
Platform(s): Neo Geo, Playstation, Sega Saturn, PSN, PS2, PSP, Wii Virtual Console, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date(s): Nov. 15th, 1995         ( Arcade)
Dec. 1st, 1995
Aug. 30th, 1996         ( PS1)
Nov. 8th, 1996            ( Saturn)
Nov. 30th, 1996         ( PS1)
June 27th, 2007         ( PSN)
Apr. 27th, 2010          ( Wii VC)
Sept. 6th, 2010           ( Wii VC)
Sept. 3rd, 2010           ( Wii VC)
Apr. 19th, 2018          ( PS4)
Characters Haohmaru, Ukyo, Hanzo, Galford, Nakoruru, Genjuro, Kyoshiro, Shizumaru, Gaira, Rimururu, Basara, Kuroko, Amakusa, Zankuro

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Related Games: Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown 4, Samurai Shodown 5, Samurai Shodown 5 Special, Samurai Shodown 6, Samurai Shodown 64, Samurai Shodown 64 - Warriors Rage, Samurai Shodown Pocket, Samurai Shodown 2 Pocket, Samurai Shodown Warrior's Rage, Samurai Shodown Sen, Samurai Shodown Anthology, Art of Fighting, King of Fighters '95, Darkstalkers 2, Fatal Fury 3, Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel Super Heroes, Mortal Kombat 3, Killer Instinct 2, Kizuna Encounter, Golden Axe: The Duel, Soul Edge

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  9.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  9.5 / 10
Animation  10 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  9.0 / 10
Innovation  8.0 / 10
Art Direction  9.0 / 10
Customization  9.0 / 10
Options / Extras  9.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  8.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  7.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  9.0 / 10
Characters  8.5 / 10

 8.7 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version    


Final Words:

Samurai Shodown 3's gameplay system was a dramatic departure from Samurai Shodown 2 (and SS1), forcing fans to pretty much "relearn" the game. While returning fans had to get through some obvious disappointments - one of the main ones being missing returning characters; SS3 was a respectable and nonetheless intriguing change of pace for the Samurai Shodown series. The "darker" vibe of the game was cool, and made sense as a new direction for the series.

Regardless of the controversial drastic gameplay and visual changes, the "coolness factor" and a unique appeal to Samurai Shodown and its characters still made a strong statement in the 1995 fighting game scene. Samurai Shodown 3 had its flaws and didn't feel "complete" (in my opinion)... thus, about 1 year later, Samurai Shodown 4 was released, offering a more refined gameplay experience and brought back many returning characters from the first 2 installments who went missing in Samurai Shodown 3
~TFG Webmaster