by wagesofsyn


Japanese Title: Samurai Spirits: Kenkaku Yubinan Pack
By: SNK 
Year: 1998
System: Playstation
Other Versions? Never SS1 & 2 together.


[Editor's Note: Samurai Shodown Fencing Pack is a combo of SS1 & 2 for PSX]


Hailed as one of the best fighting games of all time, Samurai Shodown delivered a solid blow to the 2D fighting world. Many considered it superior to the Street Fighter series (though nearly every SNK game is superior to the tactic-less Street Fighter series, but anyway...). Samurai Shodown 2 carried on the tradition, and received the same praise as the first did from gamers. While browsing through auctions one day, I noticed a PSX Samurai Shodown 1 & 2 pack. I got it, and played it extensively, comparing it to the Neo Geo CD versions of both games. I was impressed with what I found (though it was Samurai Shodown, I wasn't that impressed..).

The characters look exactly like their Neo Geo counterparts, in both 1 & 2. Animation is fluid (or as fluid as it was back in the day) and the characters look smooth. Sprites are numerous, and every stage is bursting with color and all sorts of action in the background. There are some rough edges in the game, mainly because of the ports. Instead of utilizing Playstation's 32-bit graphics capability, they directly ported the Neo Geo version, and while definitely not bad, it can be noticeable.

I don't like weapon based fighters, so I'm not the most objective person when it comes to this sort of game. Gameplay is as quick as it was on the Neo Geo version, and special moves are fairly easy to perform. No one is too overpowering, and the characters are well balanced. The action in SS2 is a bit more fast paced and harder than SS1, with more impressive move lists for each returning character. Both games play off of a good weapon based engine, and both games feel like a sword fighting game, instead of Fatal Fury with swords, which is a definite plus. But one question: in a game this old, that taxes little of the PSX's capabilities, why is there loading time?

The sound in both games fared as well as the sound in their Neo Geo CD version. Every sound effect and song sounds as if it was recorded off an MVS board, so everything sounds a bit faded and washed out. There's not a CD clarity to the music, and while it's still great music, it still sounds a little washed out. All the slashes and yells are there, but they don't sound all that great

Final Thoughts
I don't like Samurai Shodown. I never have, and I probably never will. The original didn't do anything for me, nor did its sequel. This game is a good piece of nostalgia, though. Fans of the series should pick this game up, since it has the original and SS2. It's nice that the early phases of this franchise are available on a modern system besides the Neo Geo... 

- John Gillerlain
Overall: 7.3 / 10

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