Samurai Shodown RPG, known as Samurai Spirits, a True Story: Bushido Biographies (Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits - Bushidou Retsuden) in Japan, is a console role-playing game for the SNK's Neo Geo CD system, and was also ported to the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation. It was never released outside of Japan.
The development history of the game is fairly storied. It was announced for development at the height of the Samurai Shodown series' popularity in 1995, and underwent many delays in the process, finally being released a few years later. For some time, rumors abounded that it was never going to come out.
As originally envisioned, the game was to be split into three episodes: one for each of the three games in the series. For a while, it was to be a NeoCD exclusive, but developmental and financial pressures caused SNK to also release it for the other two current systems. In a somewhat inexplicable marketing move, SNK decided that each version was to contain only two of the three episodes, thereby necessitating a player to buy two copies of the game in order to get the whole thing. Unsurprisingly, this plan resulted in a significant backlash from fans, and was discarded.
Eventually, as development ground on, the executive decision was finally made to scrap the third chapter entirely, and focus solely on the first two, so as to allow the game to be released sooner. This may, in fact, be the only reason SNK's original two-chapters-per-version plan wasn't put into effect. Finally, it was released in mid-1997, to generally mixed reviews. While it was praised for its striking animation and 2D visuals, it was hampered by excessive load times. Despite this, speculations were made of a possible localized US release by Working Designs, but rumors proved false.
The basic setup of the game is very similar to most console RPGs, such as Final Fantasy. Your characters roam an overworld, enter towns and dungeons, and get into battles, which occur on a separate screen. The menu options enable equipping of armor and accessories, as well as use of items.
At the outset, the player is given the option to choose from six characters to be the "main" character of the story. They were Haohmaru, Nakoruru, Genjuro Kibagami, Galford D. Weller, Ukyo Tachibana and Cham Cham. The basic outline of the plot did not diverge greatly for any of them, but each had different dialogue ingame, and each also had unique special scenes which would go into greater detail of the character. In addition, to better adjust to character continuity, certain stories were modified slightly based on the selected chapter. Over the course of the game, two other characters could also join your party (unless the hero is Genjuro who only gains a partner in his second story).
The secondary characters who could join you were Charlotte Christine Colde, Rimururu and Kyoshiro Senryo, as well as other "main" characters whom the player did not select at the outset. In addition, the second chapter also introduced a new character, a warrior by the name of Shippuu no Reon, whose name translates roughly to "The Ringing of the Gale Winds." All of the first two Samurai Shodown games' characters make an appearance, either as a temporary helper, plot device, and/or enemy.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RELEASED VERSIONS:
- The Neo Geo CD version has considerably more animation in the combat sprites than the PS and Saturn, including unique idle stances for each character, and specialized death animations for monsters.
- The Neo Geo CD version has more ornate and colorful menus, whereas the PS and Saturn versions have fairly blank, purple-and-green menus instead.
- Motions in the Neo Geo CD version have a smoother look and feel than the others.
- In the overworld map, the NeoCD version uses a scaled-down version of the dungeon/down character sprite. The PS version uses a new sprite entirely.
- The Neo Geo CD runs in its native resolution of 304x224, whereas the PS and Saturn run in 320x240.
- The Neo Geo CD version has less pauses in between audio clips than the others.
- The PS and Saturn version have significant animation cuts in the characters' walk/run animations.
- The PS version enables the player to select the strength of a normal attack after choosing a target, whereas the Neo Geo CD does not.
- The PS version shows an Active Time Battle bar, which the NeoCD lacks.
- The PS version has higher-quality music than either of the other two versions, owing to higher-quality PCM samples.
The most obvious differences between the three versions are the bonus modes which are unlocked after beating the game.
Neo Geo CD: A third "mini-chapter" is enabled, wherein the player controls Hisame Shizumaru as he wanders around, running into cameos appearances of various SNK characters from other games.
PlayStation: A "side story" mode is enabled, which enables the player to view non-interactive sequences about many of the series' other characters.
Saturn: An interview mode is enabled, which enables the player to view a lengthy, non-interactive sequence about the various characters (which frequently breaks the fourth wall). This bonus content is also available in the PlayStation version, by way of a hacked save file.
1 - The First Scenario - Jiatenkourin no Sho (Amakusa's Scenario)
This scenario is about the evil Amakusa Shirou Tokisada who is trying to conquer Japan. As you know, you can choose one from six characters as your main character. For this scenario, every main character starts off differently from the others. That means, a different main character holds a different purpose to defeat Amakusa. Therefore, the story lines may vary depending on who you choose.
Haohmaru: Haohmaru starts off in Nicotine's training room(Nicotine is the master of Haohmaru and Genjuro). Amakusa comes to 'visit' Haohmaru and ask him to join the evil dark forces. Haohmaru refuses. Genjuro hears everything they say and he is pissed off that Amakusa doesn't even ask him to join him. Then, he challenges Haohmaru. Haohmaru loses to Genjuro. Later, Haohmaru begins his journey to defeat the evil Amakusa.
Kibagami Genjuro: Genjuro's beginning is almost the same as above(Haohmaru's). But for Genjuro's version, he fights Amakusa instead of Haohmaru. Of course, he loses to Amakusa. He is pissed off and he begins his journey to defeat Amakusa.
Nakoruru: Nakoruru starts off in her home village. Nakoruru and her sister, Rimururu are worry about their father who hasn't come back yet. Nakoruru goes off to search for her father, after she receives her father's sword from her hawk, Mamaha. She finds her father and he tells her that the growing evil force might endanger nature. He tells her that she must go to Edo to find Jubei.
Tachibana Ukyo: Ukyo comes to ask the old wise man about the "ultimate flower". After the old man is touched by Ukyo's determination to search for the flower, he then tells him that he can only find the flower at the gate of devil's place. The old man asks him to go find Jubei for assistance. Ukyo then begins his journey.
Galford: Galford and Earthquake are going to learn more techniques from Hanzo. But suddenly, Amakusa comes and takes away Shinzo(Hanzo's son)'s body. Amakusa wants to use his body as the host. Hanzo can't stand a chance with him. After Amakusa is gone, Hanzo rushes to find him. The righteous Galford also begins his journey to defeat Amakusa.
Cham Cham: Tam Tam has always been the protector of his village. But one day, Amakusa comes to 'visit' and takes away the Parenke Stone. Because Tam Tam is not able to protect the Parenke Stone, the god of that stone punish him and turns him to a monkey. Cham Cham then realizes that she has to get it back. So, she begins her journey with the monkey, Paku Paku(Tam Tam) to search for Amakusa and get the Parenke Stone back from him.
2 - The Second Scenario - Youkadoukoku no Sho (Mizuki's Scenario)
For this scenario, it doesn't matter who you choose as your main character, you'll get the same beginning. Nicotine Caffein realize that the hell's sorcerer Mizuki Rahoujin is resurrected. In order to stop Mizuki from turning this world to hell, Nicotine has asked you(the main character) to prevent this from happening. You start off with yourself(main character) and other Samurai you choose. Later, this person named Reon will join your party. From what we know, she is trained to defeat Mizuki.
- Cham Cham - Sister to the Greenhell hero, Tam Tam, who goes to Japan to find the Palenke Stone. She battles Mizuki because she "needs to beat the bad guys".
- Charlotte - optional secondary character. If she joins with Haohmaru as the main hero in the second chapter, they will exchange a special conversation when she comes home to Paris.
- Galford - Upon just completing his training with Hanzo, his mentor's son, Shinzo, is possessed by Amakusa. He leaves alone to deal justice to Amakusa. He intends the same with Mizuki.
- Haohmaru - While in Nicotine's dojo, he is confronted by Amakusa to join his forces. He refuses and gets beaten badly by Genjuro in a duel. When he awakens, he begins to wonder about his own potential, and leaves to vanquish Amakusa and find self-fulfillment. He honors his master's wishes and goes to slay Mizuki in his stead.
- Kibagami Genjuro - Humiliated by Amakusa for his preference for Haohmaru, he sets out to kill him. When Mizuki terrorizes the world, he decides to kill her from pure interest. Due to his arrogance, he is the only hero who does his story solo (the exception being Reon and his non-fighting pet in his party).
- Nakoruru - Much like her original origin story but with Rimururu present. When her father is killed by a wild bear, she goes to slay the source of the evil, Amakusa. Mizuki's revival again stirred trouble for Nature so she sets out to save it.
- Rimururu - optional secondary character. She will have special dialogue if the main hero who recruits her is Nakoruru.
- Senryo Kyoshiro - optional secondary character.
- Shippu no Reon - original character. Appears in Mizuki chapter as the mandatory third/second character. A mysterious warrior on a mission to defeat Mizuki, no matter the cost.
- Tachibana Ukyo - Ill and intending to ease his beloved Kei's worry, he leaves to find the ultimate flower for her pleasure. The flower he finds after Amakusa's defeat was genuine so as a favor to Nicotine, he goes to slay Mizuki.
The original sword play fighting "Samurai" has been appeared in RPG! How to fight, fight to select the command "select technical name" and enter a technical fight fighting game like "combat command" can be selected. Round Hao, Nakoruru, Ukyou, Gulford, Juro vision, choose one of the Chamuchamu, challenge the hardball trip!
- Third person perspective.
- 2D graphics
- Cartoon graphics
- Medieval Japan theme.