The Last Blade is set in 1863 during the
Bakumatsu, the final years of the Tokugawa shogunate where a clash of
ideologies were fighting to decide Japan's new society. Long before
humanity existed, in a far off time of myth, death was an unknown, equally
distant concept, but when death first came to the world, the "Messenger
from Afar" was born. With time, the Sealing Rite was held in order to seal
Death behind Hell's Gate. At that time, two worlds, one near and one far,
were born. Thus the history of life and death began.
Half a year
has passed since Suzaku's madness, and the underworld is still linked by
a great portal. Kagami's great sin is still heard as if ringing from the
heavens. Our world has been called upon. Legends of long ago told of the
sealing of the boundary between the two worlds. The Sealing Rite would
be necessary to hold back the spirits of that far away world. However, the
Sealing Rite brings together the power of the Four Gods and Sealing Maiden,
for the first time properly completing the ritual.
To find the Sealing Maiden,
Genbu began searching in the center of the world, from which all things
begin. At the same time in the underworld, in the depths of darkness, many
spirits conspired, plotting to hinder the Sealing Rite. They had but one
wish, to be reborn into our world.
Classy selection screen.
Following in the footsteps of SNK's highly
acclaimed Samurai Shodown series,
Last Blade presents a brand new cast of samurai-style characters inspired by the Bakumatsu period
in ancient Japan. The Last Blade was one of the only 2D weapon based fighting game around
at the time of its debut. Although it didn't become as popular as other SNK franchises,
the series becames known among NeoGeo fans for its interesting character
designs, superb animation & graphics (some of SNK's best to date), and solid gameplay.
Things are about to get
Besides Last Blade's slick
graphics and cool characters, the innovation lies within its unique gameplay.
Players can choose between two different
"styles" per character: "Speed" and "Power". Speed Mode
combos, chain combos, and desperation moves, while Power Mode increases damage
potential but limits combos, requiring more strict inputs, and also gives
the character the ability to do a Super Desperation Move.
Amazing backgrounds... if
ya haven't noticed.
Overall, Last Blade's gameplay system includes deep systems for those that put the time in,
but is also rather
easy to pick up for beginners. For the advanced players, the gameplay engine
features a deflecting or parrying system, allowing for quick countering
and, not to mention, some pretty epic- looking sword battles. While the first Last
Blade is a solid 2D fighter, I personally don't think it's as fun or as
replayable as other SNK titles. I guess I'm just a Samurai Shodown fanboy
at the end of the day.
Though a very pretty
and technical game, The Last Blade never matched its friendly rival, Samurai Shodown. That
may be because the Samurai
Shodown series packs the flashier moves, more exciting & charismatic
characters, and the blood & stylish fatalities at the end of battles. In fact, after playing the Shodown series for all these years,
to me it just seems like Last Blade is a more "watered down"
version of Samurai Shodown.
The Last Blade can still hold its own as a quality 2D fighting
game, but the fighters don't quite have that "ferocity" seen in
other characters at the time. At times, it seems like Last Blade characters don't really
want to hurt each other all that much...
they all sort of seem more like friends or something (which even reflects in the box art). I personally like to see a bit more bloodthirstiness
out of my fighters. The sequel, Last Blade 2 was a significant
enhancement to the original. ~TFG