Samurai Shodown II
||The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. (September 2013)|
|Samurai Shodown II|
Neo Geo AES cover art for Samurai Shodown II, featuring art by Shinkiro.
|Release date(s)||Neo Geo
October 28, 1994
September 10, 2008
Neo Geo X
June 27, 2013
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Neo Geo (202 Mbit cartridge)|
|Display||Raster, 304 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 4096 colors|
Samurai Shodown II (真 SAMURAI SPIRITS 覇王丸地獄変 Shin Samurai Spirits Haōmaru Jigokuhen?, lit. "True Samurai Spirits - Haohmaru 's Portrait of Hell"), is the second game in SNK's popular Samurai Shodown series of versus fighting games. This game has been released on the Wii's Virtual Console in Europe on August 8, 2008 and in North America on August 25, 2008 at a cost of 900 Wii Points. It has also been released on Xbox 360 for Xbox Live Arcade on September 10, 2008. On December 18, 2012, SNK has released the game on the onboard memory on the Neo Geo X. SNK Playmore released the game port for iOS and Android platforms on iOS App Store and Google Play in June, 2013.
Following up on the extremely enthusiastic fan reception of the first SS game, SNK rebuilt the sequel from the ground up, including almost all of its predecessor's cast, adding several new characters, and refining the overall gameplay with more responsive control, more moves (particularly the use of the POW meter as a super special move meter; these moves not only cause severe damage to the opponents but also break their weapons, forcing them to fight unarmed for a short interval before a replacement weapon is issued), and a substantial number of Easter eggs.
The overall gameplay was expanded to include several movement options, such as being able to roll forward and backward, ducking to avoid high attacks, or doing small hops to avoid low strikes. This game was also the first game to incorporate an offensive blocking technique or "parry", via a command issued at the last second, a player would be able to deflect the incoming attack and leave their adversary open to attack by a split second. Such a technique was later also used in Namco's Weaponlord and later popularized by Capcom's Street Fighter III. There are also cameo appearances from other SNK characters, a hidden boss who would occasionally come out to challenge players, and several other treats for fans to uncover.
The cast of characters was expanded to include the following new additions:
- Genjuro Kibagami, who was to become Haohmaru's greatest rival.
- Cham Cham, a young, catlike girl who was the younger sister of Tam Tam (who was excluded from the game).
- Neinhalt Sieger, a knight from Prussia, who fights with a giant, gun-containing gauntlet.
- Nicotine Caffeine, an old, diminutive monk, and master of Haohmaru and Genjuro.
- Kuroko, the hidden boss of the game, is playable for the first time. Kuroko's movelist is interesting as he uses moves that are used by some of the characters in the game as well as characters from other SNK fighters such as Ryo Sakazaki. His super move in the game is a comical version of Ryo's Ryuko Ranbu.
- Rashojin Mizuki, the first female final boss in the series and the only boss to have assistance from an animal.
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Samurai Shodown II was even better-received than the original. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Neo Geo home version a unanimous score of 9/10 and the "Game of the Month" title, saying that the game improved in every respect over its already excellent predecessor. They later ranked it number 4 in the 1995 EGM Hot 50, higher than any other fighting game. GamePro criticized that the combos are still unbalanced, with some characters able to do far more damage than others, but praised improvements such as the revised POW meter and secret moves, as well as "the best graphics ever seen in a hand-drawn animated fighting game." They further remarked that, in combination with other recent releases such as Fatal Fury Special, SNK was close to overtaking Capcom as the premiere maker of fighting games. It made GameSpot's list of "The Greatest Games of All Time" and EGM's List of "Top Ten Cult Classics". At Game Rankings, it holds the overall rating at 92.50%. It was ranked as the 18th best arcade game of the 1990s by Complex.
In spite of its considerable popularity, the game went for several years without being released on any other system. A port of the Neo Geo CD version was eventually released for Windows-based PCs. The most recent port is for the PlayStation, in the form of the Samurai Spirits Kenkaku Shinan Pack (サムライスピリッツ剣客指南パック), which combines the first two games into one package, and was only released in Japan. However, at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show on September 21, 2007, an Xbox Live Arcade port and a PlayStation 2/Wii anthology containing every Samurai Shodown game were announced.
The game's awkward Engrish text intro has often been commented on. Chad Okada (the Game Lord) has stated that efforts to localize the text were stunted as the small profit earned from Neo Geo home versions was not considered worth the time and money needed to fix translation errors.
- "One WiiWare Game and Two Virtual Console Games Added to Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo of America. 2008-08-25. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
- "Samurai Showdown II Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (66): 34. January 1995.
- NEO GEO GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 真サムライスピリッツ. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.332. Pg.23. 28 April 1995.
- "Samurai Shodown II Site at GameSpot". GameSpot - A Video Game Review Site. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
The second game in SNK's Samurai Shodown line is widely regarded as the best of the series.
- "The EGM Hot 50". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (69): 44–48. April 1995.
- "ProReview: Samurai Shodown II". GamePro (IDG) (67): 70–71. February 1995.
- "The Greatest Games of All Time". GameSpot - A Video Game Review Site. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
- EGM Staff. "Top 10 Cult Classics from 1UP.com". 1UP.com - A Video Game Review Site. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
- "Samurai Shodown II Reviews". Game Rankings - A Video Game Review Site. Retrieved December 19, 2007.
- Rich Knight, Hanuman Welch, The 30 Best Arcade Video Games of the 1990s, Complex.com, August 28, 2013.
- Lachel, Cyril. "Defunct Games - Top Ten Games That Brought Us to Capcom vs. SNK 2". Defunct Games - A Retro Video Game Site. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
Though this is the highlight of the series, it's odd that the game was never given justice on a home console (outside of the Neo Geo, of course).
- "真サムライスピリッツ 覇王丸地獄変：SNKプレイモア ゲーム情報総合サイト NEOGEO WORLD". SNK Playmore Official Homepage (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
- "Tokyo Game Show 2007: Samurai Shodown 2 to XBLA, Wii new from 1UP.com". 1UP.com - A Video Game Review Site. Retrieved September 21, 2007.
- Provo, Frank. "The History of SNK~Banking on NeoGeo". GameSpot. Retrieved June 2, 2008.