Samurai Shodown V Special
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Japanese サムライスピリッツ零 SPECIAL - Samurai Supirittsu Zero Special
Developer Yuki Enterprise
Publisher SNK
Platform Neo Geo
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Vita
Release dates April 22, 2004 (MVS)
September 9, 2004 (AVS)
September 12, 2017 (PS4, PSV)
Genre Fighting
Modes Single player
2 VS players (Online mode for PS4/PSV)
Display 304 x 224 pixels (horizontal, 4,096 colors)
ROM size 708 Megs

Samurai Shodown V Special, known in Japan as Samurai Spirits Zero SPECIAL, is a weapon-based fighting videogame released in 2004 for Neo Geo Multi Video and Advanced Video systems. It’s the ninth overall installment in the Samurai Shodown series, and represents an enhanced update for Samurai Shodown V.

The game retain most of the gameplay, characters, and features from Samurai Shodown V, but some character moves were slightly re-adjusted to provide better balance. The game also features new music, stages, and special moves. As one of the main attractions of the game, Samurai Shodown V Special includes the four main bosses from past 2D games.

At the time SNK Playmore staff considered ports to home consoles but the idea was scrapped, making Samurai Shodown V Special a game that only could be played in Neo Geo systems during more than a decade. Also, this was the last game released for Neo Geo, marking the end to its lifetime.

In July 13, 2017 the official YouTube channel of PlayStation released a teaser trailer for the first ever Samurai Shodown V Special port console on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita during summer 2017. This version features the original uncut version with all Overkill moves, plus new content like Online Multiplayer Mode, unlockable Gallery Mode, and Trophy support.

Changes, updates, and differences Edit

  • The violence level was increased significantly. Generic horizontal cuts and blood eruptions returns when the final Slash hits him (the opponent should stand on floor). Every Slash attack shows abundant amounts of blood. A new, generic vertical cut was added.
  • The final bosses of previous games are selectable without need of codes or cheats: Shiro Tokisada Amakusa with his move set of Samurai Shodown IV, Zankuro Minazuki from Samurai Shodown III with a balanced downgrade to his powers and moves, Gaoh Kyougoku Hinowanokami from Samurai Shodown V without the possibility to morph into Ankiou, plus some different moves. Finally, Mizuki Rashojin from Samurai Shodown II, with new moves and re-drawn pixel animations to fit the aesthetics given since Samurai Shodown III: Blades of Blood.
  • Characters like Sankuro Yorozu, Yumeji Kurokouchi, and Poppy have been removed for this title.
  • No plot, dialogues, and character-specific endings. So, this game can be considered a sort of Dream Match.
  • All recycled stages from Samurai Shodown III and IV were removed. This game only features brand-new stages, from Samurai Shodown V (some had modifications, while Tam Tam/Charlotte and Yumeji stages are gone), and remakes like Gairyu Isle or Mizuki’s stage. Only Kusenbutake (SS4) and Temple of War (SS3) have been recycled with some changes for Amakusa and Zankuro, respectively. There are no character-specific backgrounds, except the bosses.
  • Music recycled from Samurai Shodown III and IV was removed as well. Music is stage-based. There are no character-specific themes, except the bosses.
  • Defense Breaker command has been changed: forward/backward + Kick and Special buttons at the same time.
  • Suicide move no longer provides full Rage Gauge.
  • Concentration One has new command, pressing Medium Slash + Kick + Special buttons simultaneously.
  • Meditation mark has increased, becoming less tedious and fast the process of meditation.
  • Concentration Gauge is longer that Samurai Shodown V, but drains very fast, lasting around 4-6 seconds.
  • Round timer no stops during Concentration One, but counts in a slower pace.
  • CPU-controlled characters can also meditate and use Concentration One rarely.
  • Samurai Shodown V Special features a new finisher move called Overkill, which represents a new way to kill opponents during the final moments of the match. This move shows explosions, high amounts of blood, and body dissections. All of this helps to increase exponentially the violence level, even surpassing the seen with No Contest, making this game one of the most violent entries in the series.
  • Promotional artwork and in-game portraits were made by Japanese science fiction author and illustrator Satoshi Itoh, which have a darkest aspect than those presents in-game in Samurai Shodown III.
  • The PlayStation 4/PlayStation Vita ports features Online Multiplayer Mode, unlocklable Gallery Mode, violence and gore customization, and PSN Trophy support.

Controversy Edit

Samurai Shodown V Special was released on April 2004 in Japan for Multi Video System with all its contents intact. Unfortunately on June 1 of the same year an event occurred that shocked the Japanese society: the Sasebo slashing incident, causing later a strong censorship in television, movies, and video games, so SNK Playmore did adjustments to the game before its launch for Advance Video System. The AVS version released was delayed to September 2014 (original date was June 8), and the result was some violent elements censored or removed, like generic fatalities and Overkill moves. This brought many bugs, like movements with clumsy animations, not synchronized music, among others that can break the game. This was the first batch of released copies, and each one of these copies is now known commonly as “unfixed version”. Time later, customers could return his copies to SNK Playmore factories to change chips in the cartridge to remove the censorship and fix all bugs, finally providing an identical game to its arcade version (this is the “fixed version”).

Story Edit

SNK Playmore provides the following as official background:

It is the way that requires one to become a demon:
To slash at God and raise a weapon toward Buddha,
to turn one's back to Heaven and carve your own destiny.
To sever all ties to virtue and embrace destruction.
To cut off all obligations and plunge into mayhem.
When the ordained meeting of 28 fierce warriors begins,
all that will ensue are a series of duels to the death.
These individuals entrust their fates to their skill and their weapons.
For those who cannot gain mastery over technique,
death is the only just desert.
For those not up to the task of seizing destiny by the throat,
a cherished end in battle is their only hope.
There is no need to pontificate over such a merciless existence.
Sacrificing your life on the path to mastery itself,
this is the only way of death honored by those of all ages.
En garde! Your destiny is now to be decided.

Characters Edit

The Samurai Shodown V selectable lineup is retained for this update, as well the final bosses from Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown II, and Samurai Shodown III. There are no hidden characters. Middle bosses from SSV, Sankuro and Yumeji, were replaced by Amakusa and Zankuro respectively. Gaoh is once again the final boss, but if the player beats all of these bosses with an Overkill move or Fatal Flash, Mizuki is revealed as true final hidden boss.

Stages Edit

The number of stages in Samurai Shodown V Special is lower than the previous game, with a total of 15 stages spread over 12 different locations. Only one new stage is featured (Monastery Bridge, previously only used in Samurai Shodown V for cutscenes), while the rest are remakes (including new Mizuki, Kuroko, and Gairyu Isle stages based on their original backgrounds) or repeated stages found in previous Samurai Shodown games.


Main article: Samurai Shodown V Special/Gallery