SAMURAI SHODOWN III
I was never a fan of the Samurai Shodown series. I had a friend who was insane about it, much the way I am about Fatal Fury or KOF. So when he got the American release of Samurai Shodown 3 on his PSX, I went to his house to give it a try. By the end of the afternoon, I swore never to play another Samurai Shodown game on PSX. Ever (this lasted until I got my hands on Samurai Shodown 4, but that's another story...).
Haomaru and the gang look good. The characters are a tad rough around the edges, but overall, they're pretty impressive. There are some good idle animations (though if you look at it for a minute or so, you'll spot the missing frames of animation from the Neo Geo version), and the backgrounds have a cool, samurai-like feel to them. There isn't a whole lot of room to complain here.
Ugh. First of all, let's address the previous Samurai Shodowns: though I didn't care for them, they were well done, and were worth playing through at least once. The control was easily understood. Samurai Shodown 3 introduced the Bust/Slash system, where you choose what "side" of the character to play as. Each side had it's advantages (i.e. Bust side may have better recovery time for one move, but may lose another move altogether), but it was frustrating. Control is weak, and there's some noticeable lag in-between the time you try to perform a move (emphasis on try) and the move actually takes place on screen. Sure, you get used to it and learn how to predict, but who wants to? Plus, it has atrocious load times and the most God-awful load screen that's bound to strike you blind if you look at it long enough...
SNK hadn't learned how to optimize their sound as they would in later ports, and it really shows in this game. Washed out sounding kicks and slashes perfectly "compliment" the distant, garbled sounding voices that accompany each character. Some special move sounds don't even sound like they go with that move! Come on!
Like I said before, I've never liked any Samurai Shodown game (with the exception of 4, but that wasn't out yet). This was not a proud moment in SNK's history. A weak game overall translated to an even weaker PSX port. If you're a Samurai Shodown fan, import the 1+2 pack, or 4. Avoid this title. Please.
- John Gillerlain
Overall: 4.8 / 10
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