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Samurai Spirits III - SNK

by Tom Rossi


    When I heard that Samurai Spirits (Shodown) III was coming out for the Playstation and Saturn I was overjoyed. I used to play Sam Sho on the Neo Geo way back when and I was sure that this was a must have. I unfortunately picked up the PSX version (this was out before the Saturn version) and I was amazed at what a poor port this was. The game was really not any fun due to extreme slowness. I held on to it for about a week then sold it. I still kept the PSX though. :)
When the Saturn version of Sam Sho III came out I was a little hesitant after being so disappointed. I waited almost 2 months before ordering this game for the Saturn. I had heard that it was better on the Saturn, but how much better was the question. Well I kick myself daily for hesitating. This game is everything the PSX version is not but still not the Neo Geo version either. Let me explain, the addition of the SNK RAM cart makes a world of difference, it allows for smooth fast gameplay which the PSX version is missing but both the Saturn and PSX version of this game have slightly fewer frames of animation than the Neo Geo version but it is not that noticable on the Saturn due to the speed. For those of you not familiar with the Sam Sho series it consists of warriors usually weilding swords with a very Japanese overtone to the whole thing. Moves are usually preformed by doing a half-circle forward...etc. Some of the Special moves are quite breathtaking. Genjuro's special for example consists of him throwing you to the top of the screen and then slashing you down slowly, leaving a trail of Hanafuda cards along the way sometimes this cuts your body in two and you slowly seperate and fall to the ground. The Saturn version offers you to configure the following things:
  • Level of gameplay (from Beginner to Expert)
  • Attack(how much each one of your hits takes off)
  • Time (from 30 sec to No Limit)
  • POW(whether or not your Power gauge is full all the time or not)
  • Pad Select(you can also edit your own)
  • Stage Select(Yes you can select any stage even just the ending sequence)
  • Audio(Stereo or Mono)
If you like fighting games this might be one to get and if you like Sam Sho games I would highly suggest this outstanding Saturn game. (Heck even if you don't like fighting games and want to try something new I would recomend this game). From Genjuro's Cherry Blossom Slice to the light beams through the bamboo in Shizumaru's stage it is all intact and I can now thank SNK for redeeming themselves after the not so great PSX version. Thanks SNK. Graphics: 8
  • + Nice deatailed scenes and characters.
  • + Good use of the color palette.
  • - Characters appear to blink when the Power gauge is full this is hard on your eyes.
  • - Missing some frames of animation compared to the Neo Geo version.
Sound/Music: 9
  • + From traditional Japanese flute and drums to Rocklike tunes to Classical it has it all.
  • + Characters speech and grunts during battle are nice addition (not too much and not too little).
Gameplay/Control: 8
  • + Good control and accurate response.
  • + 2 player Versus mode very fun.
  • + Very nice character design and special attacks.
  • - Some characters attacks are way too strong by default (although this can be edited).
  • - Some special attacks are very hard to perform (at least for me).
  • - load time 8-10 secs (that's okay multitask).
Lasting Power: 7
  • + Once again 2 player mode and selectable levels of difficulty.
  • + Hidden moves and a lot of moves to master.
  • - fighting games get a little boring with time.
Overall: 8


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