|Japanese||SAMURAI SPIRITS 侍魂 - Samurai Supirittsu|
|Platform||Hype Neo Geo 64|
|Release date||December 19, 1997|
|Modes|| Single player|
2 VS players
|Ratings||ESRB: T for Teen - animated blood, crude humor, violence.|
|Display||512 x 432 pixels (horizontal, 4,096 colors)|
Samurai Shodown 64, named in Japan as Samurai Spirits 侍魂, is a 3D weapon-based competitive fighting video game produced by SNK, released in 1997 for the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 arcade board. This is SNK's first video game developed with a polygonal three-dimensional engine.
Time after the release of Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa's Revenge for Neo Geo, SNK announced that they would be producing a new arcade hardware platform, this one with 64-bit and extensive 3D capabilities, making the Samurai Shodown series the first in the SNK repertory to jump into the 3D graphics. Also, this game marked the beginning of the hiatus from the traditional 2D pixels and from any release for Neo Geo, until Samurai Shodown V in 2003.
The distribution of this game in America and Europe was very limited in the arcade salons, and is thus not very well known. It is largely regarded as a curiosity among SNK's faithful, as most fans of the series outside of Japan have never had the opportunity to play it, and it was never ported to any other platform. Being SNK's first attempt to create a 3D fighting game, it has several rough edges, though it is not without merits. The game later received a direct sequel called Samurai Shodown 64: Warriors Rage.
In the mid 90's, several video game companies like Sega, Capcom, or Namco started the development of fighting games with polygonal 3D graphics through new generation arcade hardware with such capabilities. Titles like Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Rival Schools and Dead or Alive proved to be arcade smash hits, marking a new trend for the genre. Therefore, SNK launches the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 in 1997, planned as successor and eventual replacement for the Neo Geo systems. After the release of Road's Edge, the first major release for the new arcade hardware was Samurai Shodown 64. All characters are made with full polygonal graphics and movements with motion-capture technology, as well the stage backgrounds, but presenting some objects made with bitmaps. The game preserves the classical Japanese environments and instrumentation for the Soundtrack.
Samurai Shodown 64 presents once again a 4-button layout: A (light slash), B (strong slash), C (kicks) and D. Body Toss attacks can be done by pressing C button near opponent. Despite the game retains most of the traditional 2D movement using the arcade joystick (moving forward, backward, as well normal jumps, forward/backward jumps) now the characters can move in the z-axis while D button is pressed, giving a new sense of freedom to the movement. Players can deflect attacks moving the joystick back with the right timming.
With the idea of adding more excitement and action to the battles, Samurai Shodown 64 was the first 3D fighting game to feature inteactive multi-tiered stages, where it's possible to knock an opponent through a wall or floor into a different section of the same arena (first used in Midway's 2D game Mortal Kombat 3, but in 3D fighting games, Tecmo's Dead or Alive series is erroneously credited for this innovation). The game also makes use of the then-traditional setup of being able to knock an opponent out of the fighting area entirely, thus resulting in a victory by ring-out.
Although best known for its presence in Samurai Shodown V, actually this is the first game in the Samurai Shodown series to feature a stamina gauge, which determines the attack power (later known as Sword Gauge). When a player performs an attack, some portion of the gauge decreases, and this is automatically recharged when the player does not attacks for a moment. If the player makes an attack with the gauge full, the damage level is considered normal, but if the player continues to make attacks, both the Stamina Gauge and damage level decreases. Empy stamina makes the character unable to move for an instant. This system helps to balance the battles but make them slower and methodical.
Once again, there is are two identity/technique modes for a character to choose in the game: SLASH (修羅 - Shura, sometimes known as "Chivalry") and BUST(羅刹 - Rasetsu, also known as "Treachery"). The move set of each character can varies slightly.
When pressing C+D buttons, the player performs an Ultimate Combo. The first hit of this move is mandatory to use Ultimate Combo. When the first attack hits successfully, the player will be able to do a continuous combo attack on the opponent by pressing A button 5 times and then press B all way until the character does the finishing move; also the player can press A button all the way. The same thing goes to the B button. The player can either press B button five times and then A button all the way until the character does the finishing move, or B button all the way .
As usual, the Rage Gauge (or POW Gauge) returns in this game with some variations, as well the Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa's Revenge new revamped Rage Explosion when pressing A + B + C at the same time. It only can be activated when Rage Gauge reaches MAX. When the Rage Explosion is active:
- The Explosion Gauge appears below Rage Gauge.
- The player receives unlimited stamina for a short time.
- This turns the player character is completely invincible and can make attacks the opponent cannot guard against.
- The game countdown (remaining round time) stops.
- The player can perform the mighty single-blow move known as Fatal Flash (pressing B+C+D simultaneously), which is accompanied with a pop-up animation, ending with a brush-style portrait for each character. Using a Fatal Flash attack exhausts a lot of Explosion Gauge energy, and the Rage Explosion ends when it strikes an opponent. The more energy in the Explosion Gauge, the stronger the attack will be.
- The god of warfare Shura makes the earth tremble
and fans out over land,
Rasetsu, time the avenger, rends the oceans
toward the inevitable end.
Both submerge in a bottomless sea of blood,
and a single fate awaits all who oppose them: death!
(American and European versions)
- The chivalrous hold the power to
shake the earth.
The treacherous hold the power to
split open the seas.
Both live in blood
and those who stand in the way...
Chronologically, Samurai Shodown 64 takes place one year after Samurai Shodown II. The storyline is described officially by SNK as follows:
It all began over two decades ago...and took several years to carry out.
"Yuga the Destroyer" seized unborn children throughout the land, provided them with various mysterious skills, and then returned them to their mothers.
The babies were later brought into the world as if nothing had happened.
These infants displayed unique abilities from infancy and were called child gods by some, child demons by others. Over the subsequent decades, they grew to become extremely gifted children, ending up as the true movers and shakers of their generation.
Then one day "Yuga the Destroyer" suddenly appeared before them.
He came to show these individuals who remembered nothing of him...a puppet show.
And those who saw this performance remembered: the missions they were given before they came into this world..."
New to the seriesEdit
- Shiki - A mysterious odd-eyed swordswoman proficient in fighting with dual katana.
- Hanma Yagyu - A muscular man armed with a big metallic gauntlet with built-in cannon.
- Galford D. Weller
- Genjuru Kibagami
- Hanzo Hattori
- Kazuki Kazama
- Sogetsu Kazama
- Ukyo Tachibana
Main article: Samurai Shodown 64/Gallery