Game

The making of Samurai Shodown, one of the sharpest fighters of the ’90s

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With the concept of creating a fighting game now set in stone, the team set out to find ways to set their game apart from the crowd. “To challenge the most popular fighting game at the time, we knew we had to do two things,” says Adachi. “The first was to introduce the notions of living and dying. Characters would not be hit with punches, but instead would lose their lives via blades/weapons, giving more impact and tension to the player experience. The second was to have a deep and detailed backstory and story for each character. Therefore, players will not see or interpret the characters as “icons”, but instead see them as living, breathing people. With this connection, players will be more motivated to protect their characters during battle and have a solid and memorable gaming experience with the game’s life-and-death concept and unique fighters.”

Samurai Shodown game design is based on SNK’s growing experience in the fighting game market. The company had found success with Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting, and Samurai Shodown notably drew a number of elements from the latter. The game also followed the trend of more graphic violence in fighting games, with plenty of bloodshed and depictions of death, though nothing as outrageous as Mortal Kombat. The game also featured many mechanical advances, including the concept of disarming the opponent in weapon encounters.

But Samurai Shodown differed from all other fighting games in its damage handling. While the prevailing trend in fighting games was for players to string together many attacks into a painful combo, Adachi’s vision was for individual hits to deal more damage. “I know that even now, this kind of extremely high damage that can change the outcome of the battle with a single hit is the subject of complaints from players (who often laugh when they do this),” says Adachi. “In that case, I’m going to apologize and laugh at the same time!” Of course, while this approach had its critics, it managed to convey the sense of danger that Adachi intended. He was also well aware that even great games can drive gamers crazy: in a 2017 interview with Polygon, Tomoki Fukui explained that while investigating Samurai Shodown, a frustrating Street Fighter II loss caused the director to quietly rage during one minute. This inspired the Rage Gauge, which gave players who had taken a beating a boost.

“Haohmaru was called ‘Musashi’ and Ukyo ‘Kojiro’ during the development of the game,” explains Adachi. “Even though we changed their names mid-development, most of the team still called them Musashi and Kojiro!” These names were meant to indicate their rival status: Japanese history buffs probably know that the names refer to the famous samurai Musashi Miyamoto and his rival Kojiro Sasaki, who fought a fatal duel in 1612.

fighting spirit

Two characters you wouldn’t necessarily connect are Ukyo, a handsome fighter who has women chasing him wherever he goes, and the monstrous Gen-An, whom Adachi wanted to include because he “always loved ‘dark heroes.'” To Gen-An, the darkness is obvious, but the reason for being a non-human combatant is a little less so, until he explains himself. “Monsters were meant to be the main characters in the original Samurai Showdown concept, and only Gen-An survived in the end,” we are reminded, though Adachi notes, “I think Kubikiri Basara, who first appeared in Samurai Showdown III, is the spiritual successor of Gen-An.

For Ukyou, the darkness is less obvious, but stems from the fact that she suffers from terminal tuberculosis, an unusual trait for a fighting game character. “I think because of the deep themes of life and the ‘live or die’ aspect always portrayed in the game, the concept and presence of a character who had to fight while suffering from an illness at the same time was something that felt almost naturally.”

While it’s to be expected that such a character would cause memory and sprite drawing issues, apparently that was only an issue with Earthquake under certain circumstances. “The biggest difficulties we had in development were definitely on the balance side of the game. However, it was done very well thanks to the great work of Mr. Fukui, the planner in charge of this task in the era, and he still works with me today.” Adachi explains. “The other issue with Earthquake was that other characters couldn’t use their throw attacks on him due to his large size and the animation was taking too long in game memory. It was tricky, but we were able to create a workaround to fix it by creating a special launch animation just for him.

Despite the game’s decidedly Japanese vibe, many of the 12 fighters were foreigners; We already mentioned Earthquake, but we also have French fencer Charlotte and Californian ninja Galford. “It was to lighten the heavy atmosphere of sword-wielding fighters and give the game a more festive look. We didn’t want it to seem too serious,” reveals Adachi. “It was also a dream of mine to create a blue-eyed ninja,” she adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you take into account her husky, Poppy, we started to get the feeling that Galford was some kind of wishful thinking. Grant Character: When asked why the animals were included, Adachi replied, “It’s just because I love animals.” Surely there is more to the story than that – traveling with pets – and he may have tried to fulfill that dream by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” says Adachi.

While such a character is to be expected to cause memory and sprite drawing issues, apparently that was only an issue with Earthquake under certain circumstances. “The biggest difficulties we had in development were definitely on the balance side of the game. However, it was done very well thanks to the great work of Mr. Fukui, the planner in charge of this task in the era, and he still works with me today.” Adachi explains. “The other issue with Earthquake was that other characters couldn’t use their throw attacks on him due to his large size and the animation was taking too long in game memory. It was tricky, but we were able to create a workaround to fix it by creating a special launch animation just for him.

Despite the game’s decidedly Japanese vibe, many of the 12 fighters were foreigners; We already mentioned Earthquake, but we also have French fencer Charlotte and Californian ninja Galford. “It was to lighten the heavy atmosphere of sword-wielding fighters and give the game a more festive look. We didn’t want it to seem too serious,” reveals Adachi. “It was also a dream of mine to create a blue-eyed ninja,” she adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you take into account her husky, Poppy, we started to get the feeling that Galford was some kind of wishful thinking. Grant Character: When asked why the animals were included, Adachi replied, “It’s just because I love animals.” Surely there is more to the story than that – traveling with pets – and he may have tried to fulfill that dream by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” says Adachi.

way of the samurai

Fortunately for Adachi, he was on the money when it came to the game’s fortunes, as Samurai Shodown quickly found success after its arcade release in July 1993. The Neo-Geo AES version was one of the first games for the game. system that is not strictly home. Arcade Perfect: Due to the ongoing controversy over violence in video games, SNK has decided to censor blood on non-Japanese consoles. It didn’t matter which version of the game you were playing because the data was identical all over the world, so importers were out of luck unless they wanted to buy a Japanese console. It all seemed a bit silly, as a poster on the alt.games.sf2 newsgroup reasonably asked, “How many nine-year-olds have a $500 Neo-Geo?” Despite this minor controversy, the Neo-Geo AES version of the game was very popular with the small system audience and is one of the most affordable and available games for the system today.

Reviews of the Neo-Geo’s home cartridge version were very positive. In an 8/10 review, Edge described it as “arguably the best one-on-one duel on any home system”, commenting that the blood-soaked action was “d”an unsettlingly satisfying.” All four Electronic Gaming reviewers Monthly gave the game 9/10, with Ed Semrad calling the game “a graphical masterpiece like no other” Criticism focused on the character balance in GamePro’s review, with Earthquake and Nakoruru being named “too cheap” and “too weak” respectively, but the reviewer felt that the game “falls short. Significantly superior to the original Street Fighter II.” . While noting that it “has a lot of work to do against Super Street Fighter II”, Samurai Shodown earned perfect scores in all categories and was described as “one of the top two fighting games of all time”.

“The company has always cared about the Samurai Shodown brand, and I sincerely and deeply thank them for that.” In fact, it’s easy to see that the company places great importance on Samurai Shodown: it was the series of choice to launch the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 system and the series that ended the Neo-Geo cartridge releases. SNK recently relaunched the series with a game simply titled Samurai Shodown, which has been well received due to its uniqueness and focus on fundamental fighting game strategy, qualities it possesses largely because it stayed true to the principles of the original game. with high damage. and minimal combos. It is a testament to the hard work of Adachi and the rest of the SNK team. The game has changed significantly since 1993, but Samurai Shodown’s distinctive fighting style remains a cut above the competition.

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