Review #1 by Jotaru
As Last Blade first released on the Neo Geo and arcades in 1997, some
arcade go-ers have actually overlooked Last Blade due to resembles of
another SNK legendary series, Samurai Spirits (Samurai Shodown), but
the fact is this is such an excellent 2D fighting game. And how is this
playstation conversion...well, let me tell you that this is almost as
good as the Street Fighter Zero 3 conversion, and definitely an improvement
over the Samurai Spirits 4 conversion from last year (1998). Okay, let's
talk about this game in more details.
The 2D graphics are great in this game, the characters and backgrounds are beautiful drawn. The character animation looks pretty fluid with large sized sprites and high frame counts when comparing to the original arcade/Neo Geo version. On the other hand, I am somewhat disappointed with the low quality sound effects, SNK obviously used the higher compressed sound formats this time. The programmers probably didn't find a good way to solve the memory problem, so they did a trade-off with animation and sound effects. The result is we have a great looking game with nice character animation, but sound effects are certainly inferior.
Gameplay-wise, it's actually similar to Samurai Spirits which it's a 2D weapon-based fighting game. However, there are some elements that SS or many other 2D fighting games don't have. There is a deflect button which it allows the player to deflect the opponent's attack; in other words, this is a counter move, and it also stuns the opponent a moment longer. The downside for this move is if the player misses, he/she will suffer a moment of stun instead, and it allows the opponent a chance to attack you. Don't get wrong, this is an useful button, but it just has to time it right; otherwise, it simply creates a great offensive opportunity for the opponent.
Moreover, the game system offers two different types of attack modes, power and speed. Power focuses on high damage points and super special, but not for chain combo and special combo. Speed is vice-versa of Power which it focuses on chain combo and special combo, but if you prefer high damage points and super special, go for Power instead.
Like the previous port of Samurai Spirits 4, the game control is very responsive, I have no problem executing all the moves. Speed-wise, this Playstation port may be a bit slower, but the original version is not fast anyway. If you have not played the original version, you wouldn't know. How about slowdow and loading time? Well, there is only a stage that I noticed a bit slowdown because there are many animated sprites running on the screen at the same time. Loading time is acceptable, it's better than many 2D fighting games that I have played before.
Lastly for your information, screens like menu, option, and ending are all in Japanese text. Unlike a few other SNK ports, there is no way to switch between Japanese and English text. However, this is a straight forward 2D fighting game, even if you cannot read Japanese text, you should have no problem playing it. Plus there is FAQs available on the web, they show you the translation and move lists in case you have troubles playing the game.
Overall, Last Blade is an outstanding fighting game that all enthusiasts should check out, especially if you enjoy 2D fighting game such as Samurai Spirits. This game is definitely the best SNK port to date in 1999, do not hestiate to pick this great game up.
Score: Best out of 10