PlayStation Gamer REVIEW

BUSHIDO BLADE

Publisher:
Developer:
Type:
Square
LightWeight
3D Fighting
Reviewed by:
Version tested:
Date posted:
Marc Pee
NTSC - Japan
04/10/97

WHAT¹S IT ALL ABOUT ?
Bushido Blade screenshots 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 dudes.

Bushido Blade screenshots 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 cause.

AT A GLANCE:
Bushido Blade screenshots 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.

Bushido Blade screenshots 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.

Bushido Blade screenshots 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.

GAME OPTIONS:
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:
Bushido Blade screenshots 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 game.

LAST WORDS:
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, elenium@cyberway.com.sg
Screen captures by Leonard Gan, beyonder@singnet.com.sg


THE 2ND OPINION

by Victor Chan, vican@pacific.net.sg

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:

  1. Lousy costumes for characters in the story mode.
  2. No alternate costumes available, except in training mode.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


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