NTSC - Japan
WHAT¹S IT ALL ABOUT ?
Before we go into the mechanics of this game, I feel compelled to try
and give you readers the definition of Bushido. By understanding what
Bushido is all about, one can get into the very essence of the game
which Squaresoft has done a terrific job with.
The term Bushido refers to the moral code of principals that developed
among the samurai (military) class of Japan, on a basis of national
tradition influenced by Zen and Confucianism. Fancy stuff? Read on
The first use of the term apparently occurred during the civil war
period of the 16th century; its precise content varied historically as
samurai standards evolved. However, its one unchanging ideal was
Martial Spirit, including athletic and military skills as well as fearless
facing of the enemy in battle.
Originating in the feudal system, it also held that supreme honour was
to serve one's lord unto death. If these obligations conflicted, the
samurai was bound by loyalty to his lord despite the suffering he might
AT A GLANCE:
Now, on with the game! At first glance, Bushido Blade seemed to be a
somewhat simplistic video game with the objective of defeating one
enemy after another. Mind you, folks, this is NOT the case here. Squaresoft
has taken the fighting genre one step further into gaming nirvana. The
emphasis on technique, timing and execution of your weapon is extremely
crucial in Bushido Blade. There are tons of moves per character.
Emphasis on detail is the order of the day for Bushido Blade. There are
different fighting stances that you have to adopt and learn whether it's
defensive, passive or aggressive. With each stance comes a set of slash
and hack moves.
This game is violent not in an arcadish sort of way, but closer to the
realities of life. Depending on your sword play techniques, battles can
last from within a few seconds to a few minutes.
In battle, you can incapacitate your opponent with a fatal instant death
slash or you can dispatch a few quick strokes to cripple them. Picture
this, you crossed swords with your opponent, there's a struggle to
determine who has the upper hand. A while later, you manage to break
free, you go down for a low slash at you opponent's legs bringing him
down. You roll away. He tries to hit you with his weapon but manages to
only take a swipe at your arm. What happens? Simple.Your opponent is now
on the floor, crawling, trying to reach for safety as you have crippled
him when you did the low slash. Your character in the meantime is unable
to use both hands to wield the sword as you too have been injured.
When you fight your next opponent, your arm will be bandaged and the
capacity to use the injured arm will be less than before. So if you have
been gouged in the eye in a previous battle, the next will feature you
with an eye patch over the eye.
This brief little scenario shows you just how close to reality Bushido
Blade is to the real thing. Apart from this, Bushido Blade has a HUGE
battle area. Square has completely removed the Squared Circle which most
fighting games are based on. In other words, NO Ring Outs. Instead,
you've got this huge environment to run around to evade your enemy. If
you run into a forest, for example, you can use the trees to cover you
whilst avoiding your opponent blows. There's no time limit nor score,
it's just you and your opponent squaring off each other.
There's a host of options available. Usual stuff like Story Mode, 2
player battles, Training Mode, Link Mode (where you can link 2
playstations together), FMVs (Full Motion Videos), General Options
(adjusting difficulty level, night or day fighting etc.) and one of the
very interesting option is the 3-D Mode that it allows you the player to
fight against your opponent from a "first-person-view" a la Doom which
adds another notch to this game's innovations. The other is the
"Camabara Mode" (or at least I think that's how it is spelt) where you'll
have to defeat 100 opponents in sets of 10 where you get to meet a
Level Boss after 9 matches.
GAME PLAY & COMMENTS:
Overall, the game has a dark and foreboding feel. Giving you a slight
feeling of dread. Controls are good and responsive. Players who love
rapid button pressing may be slightly disappointed. Remember, as I've
mentioned before, this game is pure technique and skill. If you prefer
flashy moves and special attacks, try Soul Blade or any other fighter
available in the market. This is one game that relies heavily on the
execution of your moves and it's effects on your opponent. What I really
love is the fact that you have a very large area to move and position your
character. Controls are fairly simple to pick-up, but there are loads of
button combinations to perfect, making the learning curve of this game
somewhat longer than most others. Learning how to parry your opponent's
blow is a must and should be mastered, otherwise you might find it a
little difficult to progress further. A miscalculated slash at your
opponent may mean certain death to your character. The sound effects are
great, from the sounds of dripping water, whistling wind and echoes of
footsteps, these little sound gems add to the overall experience of the
The most important factor in this game is it's strict adherence to the
Bushido code of honour. In other words, no backstabbing, accepting
defeat, no cheap shots etc... Once you get immersed into Bushido Blade,
be prepared for a whole new experience in fighting games. Coupled with
great sound effects (no background music) with interesting backgrounds,
this game has set a standard of it's own and should not be compared to
"arcade" fighting games. If there's one thing I can say, this game's got
a good replay value...even for novices.
GRAPHICS 7 PLAYABILITY 8 REPLAY VALUE 8
SOUNDS 8 PRESENTATION 6
OVERALL SCORE 7.4
Reviewed by Marc Pee, firstname.lastname@example.org
Screen captures by Leonard Gan, email@example.com
THE 2ND OPINION
by Victor Chan, firstname.lastname@example.org
I would rate this game as easy to hard. Why? It's easy to kill your
opponents with some repetitive move. Once you've seen through the
Computer's AI, you can score a kill pretty quickly. On the other hand,
it's hard in the sense, can you guarantee a kill ? Sometimes,
complacency gets you killed instead. Also, who can guarantee kills all
the way without a continue? To see the 2nd endings, you have to spare
your old companions, kill some others without getting hurt at all. This
really takes skill...maybe I suck ....=)
Graphics-wise, I would rate this game 8 (comparing Soul Edge: 9) The
backgrounds are not as detailed/beautiful as Soul edge, but they are
good compared to other PSX games. I like the bamboo forest, where you
can slice the bamboo shoots and they will topple, leaving a stump.
Well, some gripes now:
- Lousy costumes for characters in the story mode.
- No alternate costumes available, except in training mode.
- Lack of atmospheric music in cut scenes, especially in the scene
where your character runs through the bamboo forest and jumps in to the
hole in the ground.
- No slopes or uneven ground. This would have improved the realism
dramatically and maybe introduce another aspect of fighting, ie, from
higher grounds, hit low to even hit the enemy at all.
- Side weapons only stun your enemy, it doesn't cause damage.
Overall, this is one of my favorite games, and I place it at the top
with Tekken 2 and Soul Edge.
Most of the reviews here are either submitted by readers or copied from newsgroups.
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of PlayStation Gamer.
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