Review by Yoma

"The first game of its kind"

In the realm of fighting games there has been only one type of genre in both the 2D, pseudo-3D, and 3D categories: ''arcade'' style. Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Street Fighter, etc., have displayed the arcade style perfectly. No developer had ever attempted to make a simulation-type fighting game until 1997. Square, who is more famous for the Final Fantasy series than anything else, created a revolutionary fighter in Bushido Blade, which was the first ''fight sim'' of its kind.

The graphics are comparable to Soul Blade or Tekken, but the fighters aren't as detailed, and there are graphical flaws when characters are next to each other. The backgrounds are done well, just a smidge below the detail levels in its competitor's products They are fully 3D, except for obstacles such as trees, which are done in 2D. The tranparancies on the trees don't work very well, as if you chop one down, you may have a limited view of the fight, which could lead to your opponent getting in a lucky shot.

There is much to be said about the amount of innovation here. First off, there are no life-bars, which had never been done in a fighter before (except maybe Karate Champ and some Japanese-only games, I don't remember). Thus, one well-placed strike to a major artery ends a game, which makes for very short matches. You can also injure opponents by hitting them in different areas (i.e arm, leg). They sell the injury by holding their legs or outright crawling on the ground until the fight ends. Not as real as having the limbs chopped off, but it works. Lastly, the POV mode is a nice addition. If you have a link cable, you can fight your opponents in first person mode.

The downside to Bushido Blade is its lack of replay value in the one player game. With only 6 characters, the game is over quickly. Granted, you must learn the characters' dominant stances and weapon of choice to become an expert player, but even a neophyte can blow through the game in 10-20 minutes without a hitch.

The control is outstandingly done. It is very precise, which means no lag times between button-presses and the move on-screen. The well-made control makes it easy to strike your opponent in the right place, plus it isn't hard to move from side to side. The only gripe I have about it is that when you're running, and try to run up and slash your opponent, the camera angles suddenly switch and you end up missing.

The only game to best the first Bushido Blade in terms of its gameplay is (maybe) Bushido Blade 2. The features this game has are outstanding, and if you like old-fashioned sword-fighting instead of large energy blasts, this game is for you. The only negative things about Bushido Blade are the lack of characters, a lack of replay value, and the fact that the matches tend to be one minute or less. Despite its minor flaws, Bushido Blade is a great fighting game. Thumbs up to Square, for making such an innovative and outstanding title.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/04/00, Updated 04/26/01

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