Review by deadlysin87

"Along with Soul Blade, it's my favorite PS1 fighting game"

You remember all of those one on one fighting games where two combatants have life bars and have to beat each other to a pulp until one's life bar is gone? Well, shatter that stereo type that good fighting games have to have life bars and thirty hit combos, and play Bushido Blade. This “revolutionary” game introduces the realism factor into the fighting game genre, meaning, just like in real life, a slash to the face will kill you instantly. The other thing that's really cool about this game (but it really pisses some people off) is how in one player story mode, in order to advance to the end, you have to fight according to the code of bushido. I'll go into more detail in my full review of one of the greatest games for Playstation One, BUSHIDO BLADE:

Graphics – 10 – The graphics in this game are really good. Pieces of cloth and hair wave in the wind as the suspense builds between the player and the CPU (or Player 2). Each character wears a detailed and sometimes weird looking outfit, but in the end it works because usually the goofy costume is only in Story mode and Slash Mode, and not VS mode or POV mode (Point of View Mode). The weapons that you pick from are detailed and look nice when cutting into your opponent's skull, heart, or throat (and even their ankles). Even though the blood effects aren't too impressive, they do make the match more realistic and can make your victory so sweet when your enemy has a sword in his abdomen. It's also good that they didn't over do the blood like Mortal Kombat, where the stupid amount of blood makes the game cartoon-ish and comical (although, it is a fun series). Also, the way you or your enemy die isn't some freaking ridiculous finishing move like a MK “Fatality”. Since the game is focused on realism, there is no ripping out their spine or some decapitation with bare hands, the hit that isn't blocked is usually the one that kills. The arenas or levels could have been done a bit more imaginatively, but do not effect the amazing gameplay because usually the battle doesn't usually span out across the entire level, so someone is usually dead on the ground right where they started, or six feet away maximum. In Story Mode, if you lose and hit continue, depending on where your death blow was, your character will have a bloody bandage over their eye, around their thigh, around their arm, or around their torso. Realistic death never looked so sweet.

Sound – 10 – The sound in Bushido Blade is always fitting. Some levels where there's something going on (water running, snow, etc) don't have music, but they have the sound of running water or snowy winds instead. Sometimes, a silent fight with only the sound of the wind can make the game feel a little more grim and serious because that's how it would be in real life. Also, maybe once or twice, the same “ouch!” sound can be the same two times in a row from a character, but that's not a really big problem. I have to be really critical with the sound in Bushido Blade because I can't find anything wrong with it. All of the dialogue is in Japanese, but the English subtitles are easy to read, so the story is easily understood. The clanging and slashing of the weapons is heavenly, and struggling cries of the opponent who's losing makes the sound as good as it could possibly get. Also, one thing that makes me chuckle every time I hear it is in Slash Mode, where when you kill a ninja, sometimes it sounds like his death cry is “Oh, Mamasita!” I swear to god, that's what it sounds like (but then again, I probably sound like a stupid white guy to someone who knows Japanese, and knows what that ninja is really saying). Anyway, the regular music that plays is also good. In the end, there really isn't anything bad to say about the sounds and music of Bushido Blade.

Storyline – 10 – The story in Bushido Blade is a story based in deep in the southern mountains of Japan, where a 500-year-old dojo called the Meikyokan is still teaching the secrets of the Narukagami Shinto. Within the Meikyokan, there is said to be a secret society of assassins called the Kage, who pledge loyalty and secrecy on the penalty of death. No Kage have ever left the dojo before, until now (that Kage is you). The elders of the Meikyokan send several assassins after you to destroy your existence. You then have to cut through your ex-comrades to escape the ruins of Yin and Yang Castle, and the Meikyokan altogether. The bottom line is that this is a detailed story and good one at the same time. What makes the story even better is the smaller stories and relationships between the characters that are now pitted against each other, like being best friends with their opponent, or being the student of their opponent. And the farther you get into story mode, the more secrets are revealed. This is a truly top-notch storyline.

Gameplay – 10 – If I could give the gameplay an eleven, I would. This is the truly outstanding part of Bushido Blade. Matches aren't timed, there are no life bars, but matches can be just as quick and deadly if your skilled in the art of playing this game. Each character is able to use any weapon in the game, which includes a Katana, Nodachi, Long Sword, Saber, Sledgehammer, Broadsword, Naginata, and a Rapier. The thing is certain characters will be better with certain weapons, which means certain characters have moves with those weapons that others don't. In addition to that, every weapon has a high, middle, and low stance that you change with R1 and L1, which allows for many different attacks, and the R and L buttons are greatly emphasized in this game. There are also sub-weapons with some characters that damage the opponent's “health”, and an example is either a throwing fan or knife. What I mean by health is not what regular fighting games use. I mean that with each hit your character takes without it being a death blow (there aren't many of those), your character will start to move slower and slower, and you'll be most likely to die. You can also handicap an arm or leg so your opponent will either swing their sword really slow without the other arm, or they will have to fight on one knee, which can make for some pretty funny death blows. The characters to pick from are Kannuki, Utsusemi, Black Lotus, Mikado, Tatsumi, and Red Shadow, each good with a specific weapon. Besides a weapon and a sub-weapon, you can use the dirt, mud, or sand that's on the ground to blind your enemy, then make your final slice. The one thing that Bushido Blade stress and makes manditory is your following of the code of Bushido. This next line is taker from the booklet – “In Bushido Blade, those who fight dishonorably such as striking an opponent from behind while running or climbing away will be punished. The secrets of the Kage will not unfold at the end of the journey and worst of all, you will be marked with dishonor for not following the code of Bushido.” It's true. If you kill someone dishonorably, the game only lets you play half-way through the game and calls you dishonorable after your last round. And each character has a different ending video. In addition to the great Story Mode, there is also VS Mode for two people to go at it, Slash Mode, where the goal is to defeat one hundred opponents in a row, Training Mode to hone your skills with the sword, POV Mode (Point of View Mode), where you fight using a first person view mode and see it from the eyes of the warrior, or Link Mode, where two people can link up their Playstation Ones and play two player POV Mode. But what's the most awesome and unique part of this game? It is Squaresoft's “Single Deathblow” system, which is completely unique to Bushido Blade. The level of realism in this older game is outstanding, and for a Playstation One game, that's amazing. BUSHIDO BLADE = PURE BRILLIANCE

In conclusion, GET BUSHIDO BLADE. I know it can be hard to find, but always be hopeful that someone is selling it. And if someone is selling it for $10.00 online or something, PAY IT. It's definitely worth more than that. Anyway, say good bye to traditional fighting games with time limits, health bars, and constricting levels and somehow, someway, play BUSHIDO BLADE… or you could play Soul Blade, which does have life bars and time limits. Check out my review for Soul Blade too if that's more of your type of fighting game.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/16/07

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