When Capcom and SNK had their arcade war during the 90s, Samurai Shodown (along with World Heroes, Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury) was one of the bullets in SNK’s arsenal. Now, every single main game in that series has been distilled into the Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection.
It never could match up to Capcom’s Street Fighter series, but Samurai Shodown (Samurai Spirits in Japan) gained its own rabid following, especially since the series offered something different (weapons based fighting) when compared to Street Fighter.
While Samurai Shodown’s fire has faded over the years (due in part to SNK’s own The Last Blade), many still remember the series fondly, with the latest game, Samurai Shodown being warmly received upon release last year.
It’s a great time to rerelease the originals then yeah?
Now that the numbered games are collected into one collection, how does the series fare?
Read on to find out!
What is Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection?
The Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection is a compilation of the NEOGEO Samurai Shodown games. Due to that, a couple of titles (Samurai Shodown 64 and Samurai Shodown VI) aren’t in the compilation, which is a bummer.
The collection’s published by SNK and is available now for every platform under the sun.
As a compilation, the Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection is pretty decent…if you only look at what games it offers.
However, the collection is just the games in one package, it also features a massive Museum mode that has a ton of archival documents; design art, promo art and more! It even has a jukebox feature that lets you listen to the OST from the games plus select videos from tournaments so you can watch some high level gameplay.
It’s an impressive offering, one that even outpaces Capcom’s Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection in terms of extras.
There’s a deluge of material to work through, and for gamers who want an inner look at what went on in the creation of the games the Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection is an incredible glimpse into early 90s SNK.
As for the games themselves, all of them are the MVS (Multi-Video System) versions. They’re arcade perfect in every aspect, which is a plus for those who want an authentic experience. Unfortunately, being that way also means the versions lose out on the extras that might be available to the game on other platforms.
Whether that’s a worthwhile trade-off depends on your outlook. If you’re into authenticity, awesome. You’re getting the best experience you can get short of getting yourself an arcade board or a NEOGEO AES system.
If you’re more into a fleshed out experience that console ports of arcades games usually have, you’re out of luck. Then again, the immense material found in the Museum mode should scratch that itch easily.
Being arcade perfect means that there’s very little in the way of modern improvements. The sprites and animation aren’t touched (other than applying visual filters or stretching the screen). The only nod to modern gaming comes in the form of save states, which you can use on any of the games.
Honestly, I think it’s pretty lazy on SNK’s part to overlook this part. More filters and border options would’ve been much appreciated. Hell, with modern consoles, why not just allow the user the choice to pick and use their own images to use as borders? For all the great work they’ve done in the Museum mode, the UI needs a ton more attention to make it better.
While the games themselves haven’t aged as gracefully as SNK would’ve like, they’re still undoubtedly fun to play. Even the archaic original Samurai Shodown (with its plodding gameplay) offers glimmers of fun, provided you let go of most modern fighting game conventions.
The most modern game in the collection is Samurai Shodown V Perfect, an unreleased version of the fifth game that was completed but never saw the light of day due to Samurai Shodown VI. It’s also the official last game for the NEOGEO MVS, which is significant by itself!
It’s not that much different from Samurai Shodown V Special but it does feature new balance tweaks and character endings that set up Samurai Shodown VI.
The Bottom Line.
The Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection is an immense value no matter how you look at it.
You get 7 games in a single set. One of them’s not available anywhere else. On top of that, the collection also comes with a tremendous amount of extras that shows the love and care that went into making the games.
True, some of the titles in the collection aren’t up to modern standards but they’re a great way to view the past in a snapshot, especially when you play the games in order.
Get the collection for the games and for the impressive amount of extra materials!
- 7 games!
- Impressive amount of extras.
- Arcade perfect!
- Some of the titles aren’t as fun.
- Nothing much done to improve the games.