Jeff Nussbaum released the long awaited English Translation for the Neo Geo CD version of Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits Bushido Retsuden this week – known in North America as Samurai Shodown RPG.
Link to the patch: RomHacking.net
Originally released in 1997, this translation project was in progress on and off since 2007 with many people, myself included, excitedly anticipating being able to play this RPG incarnation of the popular fighting game franchise.
The game plays almost like a collection of mini-RPGs allowing the player to select their favourite character from the fighting game roster – Haohmaru, Genjuro, Nakoruru, Cham Cham, Ukyo, or Galford and play through their story of the events from Samurai Shodown 1 and 2 (though the main events are largely unchanged regardless of character choice).
One of the most interesting mechanics is the ability to enter your special moves during the standard side-by-side, turn-based RPG combat the same way you enter their special moves in the fighting series (eg, quarter-circle forward + A) or you can choose to simply select the special moves from a menu in traditional RPG format.
As a longtime fan of the franchise it’s compelling to play these familiar characters in a new format and experience their stories from a new perspective. It’s also very enjoyable to see more of the incredible sprite-based art that SNK is famous for, not just in terms of new sprites for the main characters, but seeing entirely new enemies done in the same style of Samurai Shodown is quite a treat.
Though it did get ports to other platforms including Saturn and Playstation, this patch is for the original and more widely renowned Neo Geo CD version of the game. While this could pose challenges in terms of emulation for people unaccustomed to Neo Geo CD emulation, the game has a lot of load times and the notoriously slow drive speed of the Neo Geo CD could make for a very frustrating experience if you haven’t already added an SD Loader to your system. On the plus side, SNK’s pixel art does make many of the loading screens a pleasure to look at.
The game isn’t very long for a single playthrough but had lots of replayability with the different characters. If you’re a fan of Samurai Shodown I strongly recommend giving this one a try – especially if were left wanting more after this year’s release of the English translation patch for Nakoruru!
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