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

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Now that the concept to create the fighting game is set, the team is looking for ways to make their game unique. “To challenge the most popular fighting game of this era, we knew we had to do two things,” explained Adachi. “The first is to introduce the concept of life and death. Instead of being beaten, characters are killed by knives/weapons, adding more punch and tension to the player experience. The second is to have a deep sense for each character And detailed backstory and story. So instead of seeing or interpreting characters as “icons”, players see them as living, breathing people. With this connection, players will be more motivated to fight Protect your characters from the game and gain a powerful and memorable gameplay experience with the in-game concept of life and death and unique warriors.”

Samurai Shodown’s game design is based on SNK’s growing experience in the fighting game market. The company has had success with Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting, especially from the latter, Samurai Shodown has drawn many elements. The game also follows the trend of more graphic violence in fighting games, with plenty of bloodshed and depictions of death, albeit not as outrageous as Mortal Kombat. The game also features many of its own mechanic improvements, including the concept of disarming opponents in a firefight.

But Samurai Shodown differs from all other fighting games when it comes to dealing with damage. While a popular trend in fighting games is for players to combine many attacks into one painful combination, Adachi’s point is that a few hits do more damage. “I know that even now this extremely high damage that can change the outcome of a fight with one hit is what causes players to complain (and they usually laugh when they do),” Adachi said. “Since that’s the case, I’ll laugh while apologizing!” Of course, while this approach was criticized, it succeeded in conveying the sense of danger Adachi wanted. He also realized that even great games can drive gamers crazy: In a 2017 interview with Polygon, Fukui explained that while investigating Samurai Shodown, a frustrating Street Fighter 2 failure made the director play It broke out quietly after a minute. This inspired the rage meter, which gave momentum to the beaten player.

“During game development, Haohmaru was called ‘Musashi’ and Ukyo was called ‘Kojiro’,” explains Adachi. “Although we changed their names halfway through the development phase, most team members still refer to them as Musashi and Kojiro!” The names are meant to indicate their adversary status: Japanese history buffs may know that these names refer to famous Samurai Miyamoto Musashi and his rival Sasaki Kojiro, who fought a deadly duel in 1612.

fighting spirit

Two characters you don’t necessarily associate with each other are Ukyo, a beautiful warrior who has women chasing him wherever he goes, and the terrifying Gen-An who wants to include Adachi because “she always likes ‘Dark Heroes’.”. For Gen-An, the darkness is clear, but the reason for being a non-human combatant is slightly less, until explained. “The monster was supposed to be the protagonist in the original Samurai duel concept, and in the end only Gen-An survived,” We’re reminded, though Adachi points out, “I think Kubikiri Basara, who first appeared in Samurai Showdown III, is the spiritual successor to Gen-An. “

For Ukyou, the darkness isn’t quite as clear, but stems from the fact that she has terminal tuberculosis, an unusual trait for a fighting game character. “I think the notion and presence of a character having to fight when sick is almost natural, due to the deep themes of life and the ‘life and death’ aspect that is always portrayed in the game.”

While such a character is expected to have issues with memory and drawing sprites, apparently this is only an issue with Earthquakes in some cases. “The biggest problem we encountered during development was definitely in the balance of the game. However, this is thanks to the excellent work of Mr. Fukui, the planner who was in charge of the task at the time, and who still works with me today,” Adachi explained road. “Another problem with Quake is that other characters can’t attack him because of his size and this animation takes up too much memory in the game. It was difficult, but we finally came up with a solution for him A special startup animation was made to solve this problem.”

Despite the decidedly Japanese nature of the game, many of the 12 fighters are foreigners. We’ve mentioned earthquakes, but we also have Charlotte the French fencer and Galford the Californian ninja. “This is to lighten the heavy atmosphere of Gladiator and make the game more festive. We didn’t want it to look too serious,” Adachi revealed. “It’s also my dream to create a blue-eyed ninja,” he added, referring to Galford. When you factor in his Husky Poppy, we start to think that Galford is some kind of get-it-yourself character. When asked why animals were included, Adachi replied, “It’s just because I love animals. The story definitely doesn’t stop there. The dream of adding animals to Samurai Shodown,” Adachi explained.

While such a character is expected to have issues with memory and drawing sprites, apparently this is only an issue with Earthquakes in some cases. “The biggest problem we encountered during development was definitely in the balance of the game. However, this is thanks to the excellent work of Mr. Fukui, the planner who was in charge of the task at the time, and who still works with me today,” Adachi explained road. “Another problem with Quake is that other characters can’t attack him because of his size and this animation takes up too much memory in the game. It was difficult, but we finally came up with a solution for him A special startup animation was made to solve this problem.”

Despite the decidedly Japanese nature of the game, many of the 12 fighters are foreigners. We’ve mentioned earthquakes, but we also have Charlotte the French fencer and Galford the Californian ninja. “This is to lighten the heavy atmosphere of Gladiator and make the game more festive. We didn’t want it to look too serious,” Adachi revealed. “It’s also my dream to create a blue-eyed ninja,” he added, referring to Galford. When you consider his Husky Poppy, we start to think that Galford is some kind of wish-fulfilling character. When asked why animals were included, Adachi replied, “It’s just because I love animals. The story definitely doesn’t stop there. The dream of adding animals to Samurai Shodown,” Adachi explained.

stay away from samurai

Luckily for Adachi, he made a fortune in the game’s Destiny, as Samurai Shodown was a swift success following its July 1993 arcade release. The Neo-Geo AES version was one of the first games on the system. † Arcade Perfect: Due to ongoing controversy over video game violence, SNK decided to censor blood on non-Japanese consoles. It doesn’t matter which version of the game you’re playing, since the data is the same all over the world, importers are out of luck unless they want to buy a Japanese console. This all seems a little crazy, as one user on the newsgroup alt.games.sf2 reasonably asked: “How many 9-year-olds have $500 Neo-Geo?” Despite this minor controversy, the game’s Neo-Geo – The Geo AES version is very popular with the small audience of this system and is one of the most accessible and affordable games for this system today.

Reviews for the Neo-Geo Home Cartridge version have been very positive. In an 8/10 review, Edge described it as “arguably the best one-on-one duel of any home system,” noting that the gory action was “very satisfying.” All four Electronic Gaming Monthly critics gave the game a 9/10, with Ed Semrad calling the game an “unparalleled graphical masterpiece.” In GamePro’s review, criticism was directed at character balance, with Earthquake and Nakoruru noting “too cheap” and “too weak,” respectively, but reviewers felt the game was “significantly better than Street Fighter II in many ways.” Original”…Although he noted “there’s a lot of work to do against Super Street Fighter II”, Samurai Shodown achieved perfect scores in all categories and was described as “one of the two best fighting games of all time” .

“The company has always cared about the brand of Samurai Soul, and I sincerely thank them for this.” In fact, it is not difficult to see the company’s emphasis on Samurai Soul: it is the first choice for the launch of the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 system, and it is also the series that ended the release of Neo-Geo cartridges. SNK recently launched a game called Samurai Shodown to revive the series, which has been widely praised for its uniqueness and focus on basic fighting game strategy, and it has these qualities mainly because it sticks to the original game’s in principle. and the smallest combination. This is a testament to the work of Adachi and the rest of the SNK team. The game has changed significantly since 1993, but Samurai Shodown’s signature fighting style still stands out from the competition.

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

Read more great retro features in Retro Gamer magazine

With the concept of creating a fighting game now set in stone, the team looked to find ways of differentiating its game from the crowd. “In order to challenge the most popular fighting game of this era, we knew there were two things we had to do,” explains Adachi. “The first was to introduce the notions of living and dying. Characters wouldn’t be beaten by fi sts, but would lose their life via blades/weapons, giving more impact and tension to the player’s experience. The second was to have a deep and detailed background and storyline for every character. Therefore, players won’t see and play characters as ‘icons’, but will see them as living, breathing people. Through this connection players will feel more motivated to protect their characters during battle, and have a strong and memorable gameplay experience with the life and death concept and the unique combatants in the game.” 

Samurai Shodown’s game design built on SNK’s growing experience in the fighting game market. The company had seen success with Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting, and Samurai Shodown drew a number of elements from the latter in particular. The game also followed the trend towards more graphic violence in fighting games, with plenty of bloodshed and depictions of death – albeit nothing quite so outrageous as in Mortal Kombat. The game also included plenty of its own mechanical advances, including the concept of disarming the opponent in weapon clashes. 
But Samurai Shodown differed from every other fighting game available in its treatment of damage. Where the prevailing trend in fighting games was for players to string together lots of attacks into a painful combo, Adachi’s vision was for single hits to do major damage. “I know that even now this kind of extremely high damage that can change the outcome of the battle in one single hit is subject of complaints from players (who are usually laughing when they do this),” says Adachi. “In this case, I will apologise and laugh at the same time!” Of course, while this approach had its detractors, it did successfully convey the feeling of danger that Adachi had wanted. He was also acutely aware that even great games can make players salty – in a 2017 interview with Polygon, Tomoki Fukui explained that while researching Samurai Shodown, a frustrating Street Fighter II loss caused the director to fume in silence for a minute. This inspired the Rage gauge, which gave a boost to players that had taken a beating. 

“Haohmaru was called ‘Musashi’ and Ukyo ‘Kojiro’ during the development of the game,” Adachi explains. “Despite us changing their names in the middle of the development phase, most of the team members kept on calling them Musashi and Kojiro!” These names were intended to indicate their status as rivals – Japanese history buffwill likely know that the names reference the renowned samurai Musashi Miyamoto and his rival Kojiro Sasaki, who fought a fatal duel in 1612. 
Fighting spirit
Two characters that you wouldn’t necessarily connect are Ukyo, a beautiful fighter who has women chasing him wherever he goes, and the monstrous Gen-An – both of whom Adachi wanted to include because he “always loved ‘dark heroes’.” For Gen-An, the darkness is obvious but the reason for a non-human combatant is somewhat less so, until it’s explained. “Monsters were supposed to be the main characters in the original concept of Samurai Shodown, and only Gen-An survived in the end,” we’re reminded, though Adachi notes “I think that Kubikiri Basara who appeared for the first time in Samurai Showdown III is Gen-An’s spiritual successor.”
For Ukyo, the darkness is less obvious, but is drawn from the fact that he 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 represented in the game, the concept and presence of a character that had to fight while suffering from a disease at the same time was something that felt almost natural.”

While you might expect that such a character would pose problems with memory and sprite drawing, this was apparently only a problem with Earthquake in certain circumstances. “The biggest hardships we had in development were definitely on the game balance side. However, this was extremely well done thanks to the awesome work from Mr Fukui, the planner in charge of that task at the time, and who still works with me today,” Adachi explains. “The other issue with Earthquake was that the other characters couldn’t use their throw attacks on him because of his huge size and this animation was taking up too much memory in the game. It was tough, but we were able to create a workaround to solve this problem in the end by creating a special throw animation just for him.”
Despite the decidedly Japanese feel of the game, quite a few of the 12 fighters were foreigners – we’ve already mentioned Earthquake, but we also have French fencer Charlotte and the Californian ninja Galford. “This was to lighten the heavy atmosphere of blade wielding combatants, and give a more festive feeling to the game. We didn’t want to make it feel too serious,” Adachi reveals. “It was also a dream of mine to create a blue-eyed ninja,” he adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you take into account his husky, Poppy, we start to get the feeling that Galford was something of a wish fulfillment character all around – when we asked why animals were included Adachi replies, “This is simply because I love animals.” Surely there’s more to the story than that? “When I was a kid I yearned to travel on a journey with pets, and I possibly attempted to fulfill that dream by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” Adachi elaborates. 

While you might expect that such a character would pose problems with memory and sprite drawing, this was apparently only a problem with Earthquake in certain circumstances. “The biggest hardships we had in development were definitely on the game balance side. However, this was extremely well done thanks to the awesome work from Mr Fukui, the planner in charge of that task at the time, and who still works with me today,” Adachi explains. “The other issue with Earthquake was that the other characters couldn’t use their throw attacks on him because of his huge size and this animation was taking up too much memory in the game. It was tough, but we were able to create a workaround to solve this problem in the end by creating a special throw animation just for him.”
Despite the decidedly Japanese feel of the game, quite a few of the 12 fighters were foreigners – we’ve already mentioned Earthquake, but we also have French fencer Charlotte and the Californian ninja Galford. “This was to lighten the heavy atmosphere of blade wielding combatants, and give a more festive feeling to the game. We didn’t want to make it feel too serious,” Adachi reveals. “It was also a dream of mine to create a blue-eyed ninja,” he adds, referring to Galford. In fact, when you take into account his husky, Poppy, we start to get the feeling that Galford was something of a wish fulfillment character all around – when we asked why animals were included Adachi replies, “This is simply because I love animals.” Surely there’s more to the story than that? “When I was a kid I yearned to travel on a journey with pets, and I possibly attempted to fulfill that dream by including animals in Samurai Shodown,” Adachi elaborates. 
Way of the samurai

Fortunately for Adachi, he was on the money regarding the game’s fortunes, as Samurai Shodown quickly achieved success after its arcade release in July 1993. The Neo-Geo AES version was one of the first games for the system that didn’t come home strictly arcade perfect – due to the ongoing controversy over violence in videogames, SNK decided to censor blood on non-Japanese consoles. It didn’t matter which version of the game you played as the data was identical worldwide, so importers were out of luck unless they wanted to pick up a Japanese console. It all seemed a little silly – as one poster on the alt.games.sf2 newsgroup reasonably asked, “How many nine-year-olds own a $500 Neo-Geo?” Despite this minor controversy, the Neo-Geo AES version of the game was very popular with the system’s small audience, and is one of the more widely available and affordable games for the system today. 
Reviews of the Neo-Geo home cartridge version were very positive. In an 8/10 review, Edge described it as “arguably the best one-on-one beat-’em-up on any home system”, commenting that the blood-soaked action was “disturbingly satisfying”. All four reviewers in Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded the game 9/10, with Ed Semrad calling the game “a graphic masterpiece that cannot be rivalled”. Criticism was directed at character balance in GamePro’s review, with Earthquake and Nakoruru being singled out as “too cheap” and “too weak” respectively, but the reviewer felt that the game “is in many ways clearly superior to the original Street Fighter II”. Though noting that it “has its work cut out for it against Super Street Fighter II,” Samurai Shodown earned perfect scores in all categories and was described as “one of the two best fighting games of all-time.” 

“The company has always taken care of the Samurai Shodown brand, and I sincerely and deeply thank them for this.” Indeed, it’s easy to see that the company places a great deal of importance on Samurai Shodown – it was the series chosen to launch the Hyper Neo-Geo 64 system, and the series that brought an end to Neo-Geo cartridge releases. SNK recently revived 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 that it possesses largely because it has stuck to the principles of the original game, with high damage and minimal combos. That’s a testament to the work of Adachi and the rest of the team at SNK. Gaming has changed considerably since 1993, but Samurai Shodown’s distinctive style of fighting remains a cut above the competition.
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