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Samurai Spirits Zero
  PS2FightingJPN  
  opened by paleface at 04:09:04 12/02/04  
  last modified by paleface at 04:42:24 12/13/04  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Fighting; loc=JPN]
           
This was gonna come to the States as Samurai Shodown V, but it got cancelled or pushed back indefinitely or something, so I just picked up the import instead. Can't understand the win quotes but hey, red blood. Oh, fortunately it comes with a bonus Chinese/English instruction insert, that helps.
 
A lot, actually. Without it I'd be lost in the various advance supers and modes you can activate by jiggling the stick and pressing three buttons at once (I'm not kidding). It's pretty nuts but also, I suppose, pretty deep. I'm wading in the shallow end at the moment.
 
Even shallow folks can have fun here though, as the sprites are big, colorful, and smash each other pretty good. I've always maintained that SamShoII was the best of the bunch (see entry 246), with III and IV (see entry 245) falling off into freakish designs and worse controls, but while Zero (or V if you prefer) maintains the sorta cartoonish graphical style of IV, it now has a whole ton of characters, and all the crazy modes give it a certain life and mystery.
 
Back in the shallow end though, I have to admit that I haven't really got comfortable with the "special move" button: instead of serving as an attack button, the fourth button lets you lay down (evasive), roll forward or back, do various other evasions, or even parry/disarm. The parry/disarm is pretty darn keen and can really turn the tide of battle. The other dodges and things... I dunno. I suppose if you were good you could dominate with that. The special move button is also involved in many of the three-button super mode things, for those keeping score. Thus far I haven't used any of those outside of Practice mode, and the CPU hasn't used any on me, so we're even. Oh, there are four meters per character now too: health, rage, mind, and sword or attack or something. Whew! Deep. I can handle health and mostly rage okay.
 
The port is bare on non-arcade extras. Yes there's Practice mode, but that's it aside from Arcade and Vs. You do though get the above-mentioned ton of various characters, and many of the new ones added by developer Yuki Enterprises are actually pretty neat, although almost all of them need to take a serious dose of shut-the-fuck-up: really, they jabber incessantly and it gets incredibly annoying. But they also diverge radically from SNKs traditional designs, even the freakish-leaning ones from III and IV that I didn't like, and I find things like the archer girl or the metamorphosing girl or the old Chinese wire-fu guy rather refreshing. It has to be said though that the mid-bossish guy with the attacking sidekicks and ability to heal himself at will is really, really frustrating to fight. Most of the old SS characters are along for the ride too, although I wish they had got Earthquake and Cham Cham in, bummer.
 
It occurs to me that this is the first port of SS that I've been able to play that's on hardware that can handle it properly. This helps a lot, I think. Despite being low-res and shamelessly recycling backgrounds from previous SS games (almost all of them, sheesh) it just seems bursting with huge spritey goodness somehow, and maybe a bit too much sound. But it runs and animates well and that's what counts in the port department. Yay PS2.
 
I'd like to play some two-player Vs with this, the wackball new characters should make for some really weird matchups.
 
  paleface 04:26:44 12/02/04
           
Download added: morphinchick_vs_bigdemon.jpg (91490 bytes)
  "Look at my light-saber! Ooo it's pretty."
 
According to the translation pamphlet there's a mode in which you move at regular speed while your foe is in slow-mo. You have to activate like two super duper mode things to get there, and fulfill three or so different situational requirements. I bet it doesn't really exist, they're just pulling our legs.
 
  paleface 04:42:24 12/13/04
           
Tried this some two-player and it was a bit frustrating--there are so many modes and things to learn that this is hardly an easy game to pick up in a hurry, and so we flailed around trying to figure out what was going on. Since we didn't know, we mainly had really lopsided matches where one person figured out one or two good moves first.
 
Dang. Now I need to get good at this, and meet someone else who's fairly good at it. But both of those are unlikely to happen (especially the first ;).
    
downloads:
· bigdemon_vs_olddude.jpg
· bowazon_vs_genjuro.jpg
· characterselect.jpg
· genjuro_vs_haohmaru.jpg
· morphinchick_intro.jpg
· morphinchick_super_win.jpg
· morphinchick_vs_bigdemon.jpg
· morphinchick_vs_bowazon.jpg
· newfiredude_intro.jpg
· newfiredude_super.jpg
· olddude_vs_sickboy.jpg
 
references:
· Samurai Shodown Anthology (PS2)
· Samurai Shodown III: Blades of Blood (PS1)
· Samurai Shodown V (PCB)
· Samurai Spirits IV: Amakusa Kourin Special (PS1)
· Samurai Spirits: Kenkaku Yubinan Pack (PS1)
· Samurai Spirits: Tenkaichi Kenkyakuden (PS2)
· Shin Samurai Spirits: Haohmaru Jigokuhen (PCB)

 
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