Together Retro: Samurai Shodown


Presented by: Fastbilly1, Marurun, & Racketboy
New To Together Retro? Check out the introduction to the club

For the fourth entry in the Together Retro Game Club, we will be shifting gears and trying out one of SNK’s classic 2D fighters, Samurai Shodown.  Thats right boys and girls we are going back to the arcade and going to one of the best weapon based fighting games ever created.  Now we know many of you want an RPG soon, but based on sagical advice that Marurun gave us, we decided to hold off on that for one more session so those who are currently in finals can devote the time neccessary.

About The Game

Samurai Shodown was first released in 1993 for the Neo Geo MVS system.  As one of the early games for the arcade monolith the game quickly became a favorite for arcade enthusiast because of its solid gameplay, beautiful graphics, and fun verses mode. samuraishodown-screens

Taking place during a war between twelve worldly fighters and one overly evil man who has made a pact with a demon to bring back Ambrosia.  Each of those twelve fighters uses a unique fighting style; from a Ronin practicing bushido to a Kabuki performer, to a Bandit, there is a character for everyone.

And for those who like the blood in their fighting games, well most of the characters are using bladed weapons.  Focusing less on the combo chains that most fighters at the time were concentrating on and more on precision and timing.

If you are used to only playing your mainstream Street Fighter games, samurai Shodown will give you a fresh perspective on the genre and will require you to think a bit differently about how you approach the battle.

Recommended Ports

An arcade hit has to be ported to as many consoles as possible right?  While it does not have as many ports as Street Fighter II, it does have its fair share. Obviously the Neo-Geo original is going to be the best, but the Sega CD and 3DO versions are pretty good if you are willing to deal with the load times of the older hardware.  The game was also included in Japanese Samurai Shodown Kenkaku Yubinan pack on the PS1 and is said to be pretty good.

There were also ports on the Genesis and the SNES, but they were pretty stripped down in terms of graphical effect, detail and Earthquake (a large character) is missing.  The SNES port also isn’t as dominant against the Genesis version as you might expect (the sprites are as good as they could be).  The SNES port is also zoomed out and censored for blood but still maintains the complexity of the original game and offers it in Dolby Surround.  However the more modern compilation ports are also very good ports.   (See this post at HG101 for more info and comparisons)

There are also two brand new SNK compilations for the PS2 and PSP that are quite affordable.   (PS2 version is $15 at   These isn’t a lot of detail on the quality of the release since they are brand new, but you can find some discussion on the topic in this forum post.

Neo-Geo Sega CD 3DO PS1 PS2 PSP
Neo Geo Cover Sega CD Cover 3DO Cover PS1 Cover PS2 Cover PSP Cover

Emulation for Samurai Shodown

Since there are various ports of Samurai Shodown, there are also various ways to emulate them.  However, the most practical thing would be to emulate the arcade original.    In that case, you have a handful of great options:

If you want to emulate one of the other console ports, you can emulate the Sega CD port (or even the inferior Genesis version) with Kega Fusion (see our Kega emulation guide).    ePSXe will also emulate the Playstation version if you want to go with that.

If you need assitance setting up any emulator, please post your question in the Emulation section of the forum

How To Play / Controls

Samurai Shodown Controls

  • Directional Pad – Move, Crouch and Block (utilizes all 8 ways)
  • Forward Twice Quickly – Dash (hold to keep running)
  • Backward Twice Quickly – Hop back
  • A – Weak Slash
  • B – Strong Slash
  • A + B – Powerful Slash
  • C – Weak Kick
  • D – Strong Kick
  • C + D – Powerful Kick
  • Full Controls at Strategy Wiki
  • Character-specific moves at Strategy Wiki

Together Retro Discussion

Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So get your hands dirty with Samurai Shodown and talk to us about your thoughts in the forums. We want to know your tactics, your strategies, your successes and your failures.

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