SNK‘s Samurai Shodown II is a legendary fighting game for the Neo Geo, first released in arcades in 1994, then later for home consoles.
After part one, the developers rebuilt the game from the ground up – tweaking the previous cast, adding new characters, more moves, a ‘POW’ meter for super special moves, better controls, and many other things. There are 12 playable characters in total, some of them impressive. The size of the character ‘Earthquake’, for example, is a sight to behold – showing off the sprite-chucking abilities of the Neo Geo.
Before a bout: the fighters are introduced, then there’s an “En Garde” message, and then the round begins. After that: it’s lightning-fast action, as the screen zooms in and out to keep everyone visible while you hack each other to pieces.
Fighters use various weapons, but can have them temporarily destroyed by an opponent with certain special moves, forcing them to fight without a weapon for a short time.
There’s also an innovative ‘defensive parry’ in Samurai Shodown II, which – if you it use correctly, at the right time; at the last second – you can deflect an opponent’s attack, stunning them, and leaving them wide open to counterattack for a few seconds.
Samurai Shodown II contains stunning graphics and animation, and fantastic gameplay, and is up there the very best Neo Geo beat ’em ups – or indeed the very best Neo Geo games of all-time.
It also contains some unintentionally hilarious, badly translated text, which will probably warm the cockles of your heart…
Samurai Shodown II‘s been re-released a number of times, including for Virtual Console, and for PC. It’s actually still available to buy on GOG.com, at the time of writing.