SAMURAI SHOWDOWN WARRIOR'S RAGE
Written by and screenshots courtesy of SUPERNAUT
First and foremost I want to clear up one thing. This game is not a port of the Hyper 64 game, but rather a new 3D Samurai Shodown game developed for the PSX hardware.
Warriors Rage is best described as the bastard offspring of the Samurai Shodown series, everything that makes Shodown great has been tampered with for this outing. The whole game is a real mystery, I had to keep checking the box to make sure I was playing a SNK product.
The game takes place 20 years on from the Hyper 64 game Warriors Rage, on an island were criminals rule the capital, Riten Kyo. A revolution against the government is planned by a criminal group known as Hagyo Razor Trio, which can only mean one thing, itís fighting' time.
My biggest disappointment of this game is in the character list, only Hanzo, Hoahmaru and an unplayable Nakoruru make an appearance from the previous series! All the new characters are well designed, and do have that SNK flavor about them, but I would prefer to see Ukyo or Jubei make the cut.
Controls are a 4-button affair, weak and strong slash, kick and dodge. While this game uses polygons instead of sprites, don't be fooled into thinking your playing something with 3D game play. Playerís battle on a 2D plane, with the dodge button only serving to briefly avoid attacks rather than an actual side step from your opponent (as in FF:WA).
Combat is slow, awkward and unbalanced, all not helped by a struggling 30fps. The life bar is the worst offender, it's divided into 3 segments and when one is depleted both character stop fighting, have a moment of standing around and continue until the next part of the bar empties. That means in every fight the combat will stop at least twice! Combos are few and far between, however this won't matter, as button bashing will defeat the weak AI every time.
The word nasty best sums up Warriors Rage visual fare. Frame rates are low, animation has a stop-and-start quality, textures are poor and clipping joints give an untidy overall feel. It looks similar to a 1st generation PSX game. CG video is the only savior in the visually department, which I would say is well-executed and enjoyable to watch. Musical score is also excellent and worth time listening to.
Thereís a fair amount of secret characters and options to discover (the cinema option is my favorite) but I found playing this game was a chore and it's not something I'll remember with fond memories. While Samurai Shodown in name, it's content is something else and best forgotten.
Last ability: 6/10
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