Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman
|Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman|
PAL version cover art
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.
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.
Once upon a time, a blue eyed boy from the old west learned one of life's cruelest lessons: that evil was bigger than his gun. So he followed the footsteps of a mysterious master to the far east where he learned the secrets of the sword and came back home with the heart of a gunman...and the soul of a samurai.
Johnny had a dream of being the biggest hero around, there wouldn't be an enemy that he could not put down with a gun. Then one day Johnny met his match and turned his world around, he changed his name and learned the Shogun way of the land of the rising sun.
Rising Zan, the Samurai Gunman.
Johnny No More.
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Rising Zan currently holds an average score of 68.81% according to GameRankings, 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 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."
- Sony staff. ライジング ザン ザ・サムライガンマン [Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman] (in Japanese). Sony Computer Entertainment. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
- "Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman for PlayStation". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
- 123 games with untapped franchise potential, GamesRadar US, April 30, 2009