Samurai Shodown V Special / Samurai Shodown Zero Special

STORYIt is the way that requires one to become a demon: To slash at God and raise a weapon toward Buddha, to turn one's back to Heaven and carve your own destiny. To sever all ties to virtue and embrace destruction. To cut off all obligations and plunge into mayhem. When the ordained meeting of 28 fierce warriors begins, all that will ensue are a series of duels to the death. These individuals entrust their fates to their skill and their weapons. For those who cannot gain mastery over technique, death is the only just desert. For those not up to the task of seizing destiny by the throat, a cherished end in battle is their only hope. There is no need to pontificate over such a merciless existence. Sacrificing your life on the path to mastery itself, this is the only way of death honored by those of all ages. En garde! Your destiny is now to be decided!

A much improved selection screen over SS5.

REVIEWThe ninth installment to the Samurai Shodown series, Samurai Shodown 5 Special is an enhancement of Samurai Shodown 5 featuring new character artwork, new stages, playable bosses (including Amakusa & Mizuki), and tweaked gameplay... Not to mention, the return of fatalities, which were sadly missing in SS5. Samurai Shodown 5 Special features several visual alterations over the prequel. The selection & VS screen character artwork has a "darker" look to it which reminds me a lot of Samurai Shodown III. Of course the character sprites and voice-acting are borrowed from the prequels, dating back to the likes of Samurai Shodown III. No doubt the game has a dated look, but the cool new backgrounds, music and artwork give the game a fresh vibe from the start.

Badass new stages.

The gameplay was also tweaked from Samurai Shodown 5, and is overall a more balanced game than it's predecessor. Special also introduces the Zetsumei Ougi or "Overkill" move. If performed under the right conditions, a player can instantly end the match regardless of how much life their opponent has, a concept perhaps borrowed from the Guilty Gear X series. The character specific Overkill fatalities are some of the goriest moves of the series to date, most of which extracting tons of blood from the victim and leaving them in several pieces. Some of them are a bit silly and/or poorly animated, but most don't fail to entertain at the very least.

Kuroko dojo?

New to the single experience are new midbosses added to the mix. Sankuro and Yumeji from the prequel were taken out and replaced with Amakusa and Zankuro! And finally, fatalities were put back into the game (which were sadly missing in the prequel). Classic "horizontal" fatalities make their return along with all new ones such as being split in half vertically with the splitting victim drenching their opponent with their blood as seen in Samurai Shodown IV. Nakoruru and Rimururu, once immune to fatalities (in SS4) are also now susceptible to fatalities.

Page Updated: July 4th, 2014
Developer(s): Yuki Enterprise
Publisher(s): SNK Playmore
Platform(s): Neo Geo
Release Date(s): April 22nd, 2004
Characters Haohmaru, Ukyo, Hanzo, Nakoruru, Genjuro, Kyoshiro, Shizumaru, Gaira, Rimururu, Basara, Sogetsu, Kazuki, Tam Tam, Charlotte, Galford, Poppie, Jubei, Rera, Rasetsumaru, Suija, Enja, Yoshitora Tokugawa, Kusaregedo, Mina Majikina, Yumeji, Sankuro, Yunfei, Zankuro, Amakusa, Mizuki, Gaoh

Featured Video:

Related Games: Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown 3, Samurai Shodown 4, Samurai Shodown 5, 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, Guilty Gear X

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  8.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  8.0 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.5 / 10
Innovation  6.5 / 10
Art Direction  8.0 / 10
Customization  7.5 / 10
Options / Extras  7.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  7.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  8.0 / 10
Characters  8.5 / 10

 8.1 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version


Final Words:

While Samurai Shodown 5 Special offers one of the largest and arguably most balanced rosters in history, one can't argue that the sequel looks like a "mash-up" of several installments of the series. In a way it can be a good thing, but I personally prefer the classic titles for their clear artistic direction, presentation value, and also gameplay. At least Special fixed many of SSV's flaws and overall feels like a more complete game.  ~TFG Webmaster

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