Samurai Shodown IV
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|Samurai Shodown IV|
Neo-Geo CD cover for Samurai Shodown IV.
|Release date(s)||October 25, 1996
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Neo-Geo (378 Mbit cartridge)|
|Display||Raster, 304 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 4096 colors|
Samurai Showdown IV: Amakusa's Revenge, known as Samurai Spirits: Amakusa's Descent (サムライスピリッツ天草降臨 Samurai Supirittsu Amakusa Kōrin , TenSamu in short) in Japan, is the fourth in SNK's flagship Samurai Showdown series of fighting games. Chronologically, it is the second and final chapter of an interquel between Samurai Showdown and Samurai Showdown II, with Samurai Showdown III being the first chapter.
After Samurai Shodown III got mostly negative reviews by the fighting game community, SNK went back to address the complaints, and tried to deliver a follow up which would hopefully regain some of the magic that had made Samurai Showdown II such a hit.
The most obvious change is visual, with dramatically adjusted colour palettes for the individual characters, generally brightening them up and reducing contrast, in the attempt to make the game more [cartoonish). Aerial blocking was removed entirely, and the switch-around move, which enabled a player to shift quickly behind the other's back, as well as the dodge (Evade; side-step), in which the move virtually brings a semi-3D environment to the defense in attempt to use each sword more effectively.
Overall, the game plays like SS3, but the overall feel is different. Control has been loosened and more accurately modified, controller motions have been improved, overall damage has been reduced and one can no longer charge his/her own POW gauge. The off-screen delivery man was omitted entirely from the game. The biggest addition is probably the "CD Combo," wherein a player can press the C and D buttons together, triggering a strike that can be followed up by a sequence of button taps. The single-player mode now has a timer, as well. Only by reaching the final boss within a specified time limit can one see a character's ending.
In a slightly paradoxical move when compared to the brighter aesthetic, SNK also added in a "suicide" move (known in English-speaking fan circles as the "Honourable Death"), wherein one's character sacrifices his/her own life, thus forfeiting the round. The bonus to this is that the one committing suicide will start the next round with a full POW gauge. Certain finishes will also enable a "fatality" move in the vein of Mortal Kombat. This feature has been much-debated for its violent nature.
Some of the older characters were restored, such as Charlotte, Tam Tam and Jubei Yagyu. The entire cast of the previous game also returns, though some have been retouched to further enhance the cartoonish look.
Joining the cast were the two ninja brothers:
- Kazuki Kazama - member of the Kazama ninja clan specializing in fire jutsu, he deserts to rescue his younger sister, Hazuki, from Amakusa's clutches.
- Sogetsu Kazama - older brother to Kazuki and Hazuki who uses water jutsu; unlike Kazuki, he stays with the clan and is ordered to assassinate his brother for leaving.
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The game was widely regarded as an improvement from the obviously-rushed SS3, though it has its share of detractors. However, the game is better balanced, the flow of it is still often regarded as lopsided for some characters, such as Nakoruru, Galford and Hanzo.
Common complaints include:
- There are animation cuts from the previous game (which can be also found in SS5SP.)
- The Upper Grade mode was almost as useless as the Beginner Grade mode was abusive for some characters.
- The lack of individual music themes for each character.
- Many moves from SS3 were inexplicably removed.
- For the first time in the series, the sprites were not redrawn from one game to the next.
In spite of this, it is still well-regarded, and debate over its quality continues in fan circles to this day.
- Samurai Shodown IV at the Killer List of Videogames
- SIHON 侍魂WebRing, SS Fan Sites Search Engine (Tokyo, Japan)
- Samurai Web, News & Archives (Tokyo, Japan)
- Samurai Shodown IV review at Neo-Geo.com