Samurai Shodown V Special
It 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!

Samurai Shodown V Special character selection screen.

REVIEWThe 9th installment to the Samurai Shodown series and the second to final game released on the NEOGEO hardware, Samurai Shodown V Special is an enhancement to Samurai Shodown V. The updated title boasts all new character artwork, stages, playable bosses (including Amakusa & Mizuki), and updated gameplay. The home version (AES) unfortunately had a buggy launch, but the arcade edition fixed several gameplay issues and added Overkill moves a fatal strike unique for  each character. New to the 1-player experience are new mid-bosses during Arcade Mode. Sankuro and Yumeji from the prequel were taken out and replaced with Amakusa and Zankuro.

SSV: Special
also added Fatalities back into the game which were removed in SS5. Visual updates include new character select / VS screen artwork, which has a notably "darker" tone reminiscent of Samurai Shodown III. The character sprites and voice-acting are borrowed from the prequels, dating all the way back to the likes of Samurai Shodown III (1995). For returning players, SSV: Special had a "dated" look at launch... but the new backgrounds, music, artwork + updated gameplay add at least some spice to the game. 


Same characters... new stages.

Samurai Shodown V Special
introduces a few new gameplay tweaks over the prequels, as well. Mechanics in SSV Special, include: Sword Gauge, Rage Gauge, Weapon Flipping Attack, Concentration One, and Overkill Moves. The Sword Gauge
affects damage output. All attacks performed reduce the meter and the amount of damage they dish out. The gauge slowly regenerates when not attacking. The Rage Gauge functions the same way as in previous titles, and Rage Explosions can be executed which will push opponents back and open up other opportunities of attack.

Weapon Flipping Attacks are super special moves that can be performed when Rage is at max or during a Rage Explosion. These moves deal big damage and disarm opponents. Concentration One is usable under certain conditions and results in your opponent moving in slow motion while your character moves at regular speed. This can open the door for a comebacks when combined with the Fatal Flash command - which is only possible during Concentration One. Finally, Overkill (or Zetsumei Ougi) moves can only be used once per match and, if connected, results in your character executing the opponent with a brutal, secret technique.


Genjuro and Haohmaru still aren't getting along.


The character specific "Overkill" fatalities have the goriest outcomes in the series to date, most of which extracting tons of blood from the victim and leaving them in several pieces. These Fatalities are a pretty controversial new direction for the series, and in my opinion, seemingly going for "shock value" over artistry in the past. In other words, I think these are better suited for a game like Mortal Kombat... but you could make a case that it works for Samurai Shodown, too. I'm just not feelin' it and I prefer the old style strongly.

Animation-wise, many of the Overkill moves are quite poorly animated and don't visually match the look of SS3 or SS4... but many don't fail to be partly entertaining, at the least. In addition to the Overkill moves, classic "horizontal" fatalities make their return. New Fatality animation such as "being split in half vertically" were also added in SSV: Special, so there's something for everybody if you're into killing your opponent. Nakoruru and Rimururu, once immune to fatalities (in SS4) are also now susceptible to fatalities.






  View more products at TFG Shop

Page Updated: January 18th, 2024
Developer(s): Yuki Enterprise
Publisher(s): SNK Playmore
Platform(s): NeoGeo, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Artwork By: Satoshi Ito   Character Portraits
Release Date(s): April 22nd, 2004          NeoGeo
Sep. 12th, 2017          PS4/PS Vita
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 V Perfect, Samurai Shodown V, Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown 3, Samurai Shodown 4, 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, Samurai Shodown (2019), 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  9.5 / 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 V Special offers one of the largest and arguably most balanced character rosters in the series history, one can't argue that this sequel mostly looks like a "mash-up" of several previous installments of the series. For that reason, I didn't enjoy the game very much when it launched and strongly preferred the prequels. Some character sprites are still missing animations from earlier installments, and (in my opinion), most of the visuals & stages lack spark this around. SS2, SS3, and SS4 were just too good for me to enjoy this game very much.

However... there are some significant "artistic improvements" over SSV worth pointing out. The darker style of 2D character art and stylish character select screen are my favorite parts of the game (visually). Some of the new gameplay mechanics even give SSVS a more "arcade" feel, visually... contrasted only by the absurd "gore factor" in this game. lol. SNK going for shock value? lol. This is kinda different. Gore brought popularity to games like Mortal Kombat, but for me, it was always the gameplay and artistic value that I love most about Samurai Shodown / SNK games. That said, I always appreciated Samurai Shodown for doing fatalities in a classy / respectably-censored way. That said, the gory (and silly) fatalities just seem out of place.

Even so, SSV Special is one of the most competitively sound installments at the time of its release... but even so, I personally still prefer the classic Samurai Shodown titles for their clear artistic direction, presentation value, and gameplay style. At the very least, SSV Special remedied many of SSV's major issues and thankfully feels like a more complete game.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen


Click here for all Character Artwork!

FOLLOW    ON: