Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage

STORY:  It is a time of sustained peace, and the age of the sword was drawing to a close. But an increasing number could not adapt to the flow of history and became trouble before long. So the shogunate created a "colony of prisoners" on a small island in sea nearby Edo as a place to rehabilitate the outlaws. But, there were those who exploited this prison island and tried to create a "new world exclusively for the chosen ones" after destroying the shogunate. The group they formed was called the "League of the Three Blades of Domination" and each member had their own mighty strength. Using their might, they subjugated the outlaws and begin their plans to overthrow the shogunate. And in no time the "town of outlaws" came to be called "Ritenkyo"-the seat of opposition.

Under these figures Ritenkyo unexpectedly changed from a "place of rehabilitation for returning to society" to a "lawless zone in which only the strong survive." The inhabitants engaged in vendettas, skirmishes, and death battles to survive from day to day. And the "Three Blades of Domination" steadily consolidated their power to its utmost, absorbing strength from the hate surrounding them. On a still, pitch-black night of the new moon. Flicker-Flicker-Flicker-Flicker. The glow of a candle grows and a single shadow emerges from the darkness. It is an elderly gentleman with a beard and tranquil visage. "Have they arrived?" "Yes, Lord Oboro. The red-eyed boy and girl have come." Only a voice comes from the darkness. Without making a noise, the old man rises and speaks: "At last, the time has come.... Time to make their acquaintance." The man's closed eyelids pop open. His red eyes glow with the light of the candle. Whooooosh! A burst of wind slices the calm, and darkness once again dominates the world.

A few years later, three people look down at the world below from a tall tower. One is a tall man armed with a sword; the other, a bewitching, alabaster-skinned woman. The two share a pair of red eyes. And standing behind them awaits a fine-looking elderly man who appears somewhat out of place. The sunlight reflects off their red eyes, making them glow eerily. The woman mutters, "A few people we have some things to settle with appear to have entered Ritenkyo. Word has it that they are major obstacles to the realization of our intentions." The man speaks as he continues to survey the world below. "All we need to do is wait here. The rats will come even if we do nothing." The Three Blades of Domination are about to bring an end to the era of peace in this world. And the warriors who battle for their own reasons converge on "Ritenkyo" as our story begins.

Haohmaru's an old man now.

REVIEWContinuing the storyline of the two Hyper NeoGeo 64 games in the series (which very few people played), Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage takes place 20 years later. A Playstation exclusive, this 2D/3D fighting game presents a dramatically revamped cast featuring mostly brand new characters. Though other SS games have followed it, it is chronologically the last game in the series, and is the only game in the series not to see a release in the arcades.

Presentation-wise, Warriors Rage isn't a terrible looking game (especially considering some other PS1 titles). The characters appear pretty crisp onscreen, but suffer from the typical PS1 "blocky" polygons. The extra-long introduction sequence is pretty impressive, though a bit slow. The character artwork of Warriors Rage is pretty awesome, which is why it's odd that the artwork isn't shown off more in the game. The in-game character storylines within Story Mode are mostly told with text, and leave a bit to be desired. For fans of the series, at least the game offers some halfway-entertaining cut scenes and dialogue exchanges.

Looks like a completely new game.

Although Warriors Rage features 3D graphics, SNK kept the gameplay 2D based, only offering a 3D dodge technique. Two buttons are used for weak and strong slashes, a third button controls kick attacks, and the fourth button is used for dodging. The game also features an interesting new life bar system... To sum it up: The first round lasts until one person's life is drained of all three sections, in which one section of the bar disappears, and the remaining two refill. Once those two are drained, the second section is be dropped, and the last one refills. This actually causes the fight to pause, as winning fighter does a taunt animation. The match is over when one player had been drained of this last section of life.

Sakaki Jushiro VS Mugenji.

The gameplay has its decent moments, but as a Samurai Shodown fan, I have to admit it's no Samurai Shodown 2 or Samurai Shodown 4. In general, the game is playable... but the "quick" jumping system and some other clunky elements hold it back from being a respectable "competitive" title. I will say that many of the new character designs are actually pretty damn cool, and have equally cool animations in most cases. However, some of the awkward standard animations that all characters share, especially "falling," end up downgrading the overall animation quality.

Page Updated: December 22nd, 2013
Developer(s): SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Platform(s): Playstation
Release Date(s): December 22nd, 1999
Characters Haohmaru, Hanzo, Nakoruru, Rimururu, Garyo, Jushiro, Jin-Emon, Oboro, Ran Po, Saya, Rinka, Seishiro, Tohma, Haito, Tashon Mao, Mikoto, Mugenji, Minto, Daruma, Yaci, Brute, Samurai, Oboro Amazon, Iga Ninja, Yuda

Featured Video:

Related Games: Samurai Shodown 64: Warriors Rage, Samurai Shodown 64, Samurai Shodown Sen, Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown 3, Samurai Shodown 4, Samurai Shodown 5, Samurai Shodown 5 Special, Samurai Shodown 6, Samurai Shodown Pocket, Samurai Shodown 2 Pocket, Samurai Shodown Anthology

Gameplay Engine  5.5 / 10
Story / Theme  7.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  5.5 / 10
Animation  4.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  6.0 / 10
Innovation  5.0 / 10
Art Direction  9.0 / 10
Customization  5.0 / 10
Options / Extras  5.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  7.0 / 10
Characters  7.0 / 10

 6.3 / 10



Final Words:

While Warriors Rage features a few fan-favorite characters and even packs the classic "EN GARDE, BEGIN!" sequence, it's definitely a much different game than what many 2D fighting game fans have come to know and love.

Personally, I love the Samurai Shodown series, but didn't spend much time with this game at all... for obvious reasons. The series was known for it's awesome 2D graphics and gameplay, so I highly doubted it's successful jump to 3D, as with most 2D fighters that go 3D. Following in tradition, no, it's not nearly as fun or graphically impressive as the classic 2D incarnations. 

Even though there are some decent character designs, they really shouldn't have left so many of the classics out of the game. This game does have a "fresh" feeling at least, and the story is pretty decent, but still falls short of the 2D installments.
~TFG Webmaster