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Friday, May 9, 2008

Samurai Shodown V Special


While fine tuned, much more balanced gameplay mechanics and boosted presentational appeals are focal reasons to regard Samurai Shodown V Special as the Finished Fifth Installment of the series, the 2004 effort also caused good old controversy with its fresh implementation of Finishing Moves, a similar concept to Mortal Kombat's Fatality system. These extremely violent specials were unleashed on consensus by the time of the Nevada-tan Incident, leading SNK Playmore to release a whole stream of variants of the game, many of which are heavily censored, yet surely you can access all of them on the MAME platform, uncensored variant included.

Samurai Shodown V Special
is the last statement for the NeoGeo platform from SNK, a piece naturally introducing massive relations with its direct predecessor Samurai Shodown V. The game presents a very impressive hero palette, offering even the trademark Boss protagonists as playable characters, while an elegant blend of the established Samurai Shodown traditions do form a supersolid basis here just to be spiced up sanely by fresh elements you never had chance to witness prior to this statement of elegance, integrity and significance.

Enjoy and Read on!

At its innermost soul - nice oximoron, no? - Samurai Shodown V Special seems to be a sober blend of the classic, simultaneous buttonmolesting-direction of the series, while keeping the more furious pace introduced from the third episode on intact. Every single method, feature and/or solution you love in the previous games are implemented, thus Samurai Shodown V Special first and foremost unravels as a robust statement to contain all the charming traits its predecessors have brought to the table, yet with the quite complex, combined structure it claims and proudly exhibits via filtering elements from previous episodes results in a highly flamboyant system that has a massive amount of content in store for us.

Now that the previously established gameplay mechanics pretty much all have been implemented, Samurai Shodown V Special definitely does NOT come up short of all the cute gauges we had exquisite chances to familiarize ourselves with, let alone the highly complex relations these meters are affecting each other by this time around. The basics have been altered as well, now we have a button specifically assigned to perform various dodge maneuvers beyond the classic evade attempts that are still available. These new basic movements allow you to roll back and forth, also swift jumps can be utilized, giving players increased potential to escape both from airborne and low ground attacks. The same button you use for the new dodge maneuvers triggers the Meditation function if you stand still and keep pressing, a feature coming back to the game after a brief absence, also a feature we will account on later.

Basic blocking still happens via the classic method of pulling your character towards the opposite direction good blessings and assaults do come from, yet the system now exhibits a rather elaborate cancellation structure underlying beneath which allows you to effectively counter opposing maneuvers out once you unleash the proper antidote-move to the incoming strike. This particular aspect weights in as a supportive, quite elegant subsystem which is rather interesting to explore on a per-character basis, yet seems to operate at the highest frequencies of the game. A definite offering for the hardcore player you witness, and what you witness here is none other than a definite offering for the hardcore player, say that I herein.

Additional extras as far as consensus movements are concerned include Pursuit maneuvers that do come in two different variants, each is quite suitable to greet an opponent who is about to get back on her/his feet, also some crazy-ass triangle jumps can be mastered to confuse either the enemy or at least yourself. A basic Surprise Attack is also accessible in each hero's skill palette, swift moves to connect on multiple occasions when properly executed, giving you a recoiling opponent and a chance to take a deep - yet swift - breath.

The essential gameplay mechanics surely do concern the massive amount of gauges you see on screen, in fact, you can't pick any favorite from a previous title and end up lackadaisical seeing that it's missing. Trust me, it IS there. The Rage meter still fills up when you eat strikes in, also the Rage Explosion is still available as comfy, cozy gateway leading to excessively aggressive behavior. You can pass through this gate once your Rage meter is full and choose to trigger the Rage mode via the consensus move. When enraged, you deal a blatant amount of damage to All Flesh Opposing, even better: when in this state, the timer stops counting back, letting you claim ruthless punishment without time limitation as long as the Rage gauge has some life in it.

A catch is present though, also, a clever one it is: you can use ONE Rage Explosion per match. I do not mean the round, I mean the entire match. As we will see, there are sober decisions to be made about when to use up this ability, as keeping it to the second or the third round is an absolute MUST if you plan to punish your rival with radical elegance. My personal observation is that it is generally seems to be unwise to trigger the Rage Explosion in the first round.

Let us see into the cause of this suspicion. Samurai Shodown V Special comes with the Mu no Kyouchi state implemented, this translates roughly to State of Nothingness. You can enter into this mode only when certain, strict conditions are fulfilled. These are as follows: you must have had lost a round already, AND you must be close to release your soul for the Eternal Hunting Fields by the time you are allowed to rely on this mode. Meaning you can trigger the Mu no Kyouchi only if your Life gauge has turned to Blue. This occurs only if you have access to the Rage function yet - surely, whether you do or not is revealed clearly by the accessibility or the absence of the meter in question. In case you Exploded in the prior round, you won't do that in the current, as the Rage gauge itself is absent. You see why it was unwise to trigger Rage in the first period? Haha, or you might as well see that you do NOT see.

As for the Mu no Kyouchi state: granted that conditions are fulfilled you trigger this special mode via a consensus command, and a pace of slow motion you find yourself in. The Rage gauge turns to Blue, counting back quite hastily: the amount of time you can spend in Mu no Kyouchi is massively dependent on the time you spent with Meditating prior triggering the state. You will see a tiny triangle above your Life gauge, - granted you are kind 'nuff to point your eyes to the hinted area - the further it is, the more you have meditated, and the more time you will be able to spend in state of massive focus and concentration. Let us clarify matters further: each character has different starting relations to pretty much all the gauges, meaning every hero will have their respective benefits and hindrances towards each gauge. Some gets Enraged further, some does not need to Meditate all that match to be able to spend a considerable amount of time in Mu No Kyouchi. The basic idea though, is this: if you spent no time whatsoever with meditation then chances are that you will only have time to execute the Issen move while in Mu No Kyouchi. The Issen move is the quite vicious strike we had chance to witness in Samurai Shodown IV by the name RAGE Strike - now accessible only through the State of Nothingness, while the resultant effects of successful utilization remain as satisfying as ever. Mu No Kyouchi also has an interesting trait to it: connecting strikes into a combo is quite easy when in this mode, you can even abuse your enemy in mid-air if you prove to be skillful enough to prevent her/him from falling. Perfect care, cool design.

We are to elaborate a bit on the Rage gauge yet, as a maximized Rage meter gives you access both to the Weapon Flipping Techniques and the Zetsumei Ougi delicacies, these latter group being the class to contain those tender, controversy-ridden Fatalities. Weapon Flipping Techniques are essentially the same elements that were the POW Specials in Samurai Shodown IV, yet now these moves do guarantee that your opponent will be disarmed when you successfully utilize these particular Specials. Weapon Flipping Techniques are blockable assaults, yet you are allowed to attempt them as long as your Rage gauge looks alive - once you succeed, the meter drops to zero, leaving you in dominant, your rival in desperate situation, as weapons are the most precious friends to keep close in the game.

- before -

- after -

A little side note here: the output features consensus commands to disarm the opponent while you are unarmed, even better: you are free to drop your instrument yourself as an act of taunting your partner. Killing yourself is still an option, as well. And great fun, too! Not to mention that you could rely on the feature in a tactical context in case you would go for the Mu no Kyouchi or the inherent Issen, as these, remember: require one lost round out of you. If giving away a session to your rival is too bitter of a perspective, then throw the round away by your own hands, and never forget to unleash the Ultimate Special, the Forbidden and Highly Secretive Five Note Song of Revenge Technique!

Goes like THIS, though takes LIFES to master:


The Zetsumei Ougi moves are accessible only in the rounds in which you could get away with the W, meaning either in a second round that follows up a FIRST in which you emerged triumphant, or in a third round following rounds with one win to go for both participants. You will need to be after a Rage Explosion to trigger the Fatalities, also it is required that your opponent's Life gauge have turned to Blue, giving her/him the chance to enter concentration mode and surprise you with the Issen. What though if your rival's Life gauge no longer can turn to Blue because she/he lost the Rage gauge by using up the Rage Explosion? Can you still unleash the Zetsumei Ougi? Be sure to comment if you could. A side note yet: the Zetsumei Ougi is blockable.

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Kusaregedo (right) is a delicately silhouetted notability of modern day mixed martial arts.

Samurai Shodown V Special weights in as a robust statement to simultaneously record, contain and offer the great gameplay mechanics that were culminated during a whole decade to solidify unto the worthy output this piece proudly radiates as via every single seconds you spend with it. The excessive character palette and fine tuned presentational values conceal robust inherent content ready to be explored, yet let us conclude this review with a quite practical advice: if you want to see an Endsequence in this effort then you have to kill, KILL, absolutely !KILL! the first three Bosses the game puts you together with. Rely on the Issen or on the Zetsumei Ougi. For the forth Boss: you decide.

Giving the Issen to Amakusa?? SURE, we do that ALL DAY LONG!

If you enjoyed this here article, check out my comic: Planetseed
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related recommendation:
Samurai Shodown V Special Guide

Samurai Shodown V Special Notions

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