Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman

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Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman
Rising Zan.jpg
PAL version cover art
Developer(s)UEP Systems
Director(s)Makoto Sunaga
  • JP: March 25, 1999
  • NA: September 30, 1999
  • PAL: 1999
PlayStation Network

Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman (ライジング ザン ザ・サムライガンマン, Raijingu Zan Za Samurai Ganman) is an action-adventure game developed by UEP Systems and published by Agetec for the PlayStation in 1999. The story (narrated by Terry McGovern) is notable for its mix of both eastern and western idiosyncrasy, most notably in the protagonist Zan (voiced by Greg Weber), who has traits of both a Japanese samurai and a Wild West gunslinger.

The game was also unique in that it had its own opening theme song with complete, sung lyrics, lending the game the vibe of a Western TV show from the 1950s and 1960s. The coda of the song also played at the end of each level.


Protagonist Zan fights using a revolver named "Johnny No More" (also the title of the game's theme song) in his left hand and a katana named "Demon Slayer" in his right.

The player can rescue hostages scattered around the level, perform several combos combining sword and gun attacks and make "All Button Events" in which all buttons in the controller must be pressed quickly to fill a bar in a limited time. These include one of seven finishing moves for the enemy boss character at the end of each level (there are nine in all); these moves themselves are ranked, from lowest to highest - "Weak", "Yeah", "Neat", "Cool", "Groovy", "Wicked", and "Bitchin'". Zan also has a bar that raises several levels which allows him to execute "Hustle Mode," in which his sword grows to a much longer length, his attack power increases, and his speed shoots up considerably allowing him to run and attack at extremely high speeds.

These actions, when completed successfully, reward extra score to the player, which is summed at the end of each level and evaluates the player's performance by giving them a ranking. This varies in rank from lowest to highest: "Chicken", "Hero", "Sexy Hero", "Ultra Sexy Hero", and "Super Ultra Sexy Hero". If the player completes the game with a high ranking, several extra features can be unlocked. Said features include being able to play the game as Sapphire, Zan's Japanese stepsister.


Zan was raised in a rough saloon town in the old west where he honed his sharp-shooting skills. He then travelled to Japan to study under a mysterious samurai master and became proficient with a katana.[2]

On his return he finds that his hometown has been overrun with ninjas and men made of wood.[2] He must use his dual skillset of western gun slinging and eastern swordplay to bring back order and normality.


Aggregate score
Review scores
AllGame3/5 stars[4]
Game Informer8/10[7]
Next Generation2/5 stars[10]
OPM (UK)5/10[2]
OPM (US)4/5 stars[11]
PSM3.5/5 stars[12]

Jeff Lundrigan reviewed the PlayStation version of the game for Next Generation, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "You want to like it, but it's just not as fun as it ought to be."[10]

Rising Zan received "average" reviews according to GameRankings,[3] with moderate praise for its original premise and quirky humor tempered greatly with rampant criticism of the game's many technical shortcomings and unpolished execution. In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of 29 out of 40.[6]

In 2009, GamesRadar+ included it among the games "with untapped franchise potential", commenting: "Rising Zan may not have been the best PS1 game ever, or even among the best, but it has the words 'Samurai Gunman' in its name, and that’s more than enough to warrant a sequel."[13]

Official UK PlayStation Magazine stated that the game had "an excellent plot and occasional flashes of brilliance" but that it was "nothing special".[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sony staff. ライジング ザン ザ・サムライガンマン [Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman]. PlayStation Japan (in Japanese). Sony Computer Entertainment. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Lowe, Andy (February 2000). "Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman". Official UK PlayStation Magazine. No. 55. Future plc. p. 112.
  3. ^ a b "Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman for PlayStation". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  4. ^ Thorpe, Damien. "Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 17, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  5. ^ EGM staff (October 1999). "Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 123. Ziff Davis.
  6. ^ a b "ライジング・ザン 〜ザ・サムライガンマン〜 [PS]". Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Fitzloff, Jay (September 1999). "Rising Zan [The Samurai Gunman]". Game Informer. No. 77. FuncoLand. Archived from the original on July 11, 2000. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Mielke, James (June 25, 1999). "Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman Review [Import; date mislabeled as "May 2, 2000"]". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  9. ^ Sanchez, Rick (October 21, 1999). "Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Lundrigan, Jeff (October 1999). "Finals". Next Generation. Vol. 2 no. 2. Imagine Media. p. 113.
  11. ^ Maruyama, Wataru (September 1999). "Rising Zan [The Samurai Gunman]". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Vol. 2 no. 12. Ziff Davis. p. 114. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  12. ^ "Review: Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman". PSM. Future US. October 1999.
  13. ^ GamesRadar US (April 30, 2009). "123 games with untapped franchise potential (Page 5)". GamesRadar+. Future plc. Retrieved June 10, 2019.

External links[edit]