Samurai Shodown V

Samurai Shodown V

Samurai Shodown V

Slash and burn.

KO. You've spent the last thirty seconds pummelling the life out of your opponent, be it with your fists in more traditional fighters or a sword the size of Wales in Soul Calibur and, apparently, your hapless victim is simply 'knocked out'. It's amazing how many games skirt around the actual lasting effects of such punishment and it's here - if anywhere - that you have to take your hat off to games like Mortal Kombat. Don't worry - it's just this once. Being able to actually finish your opponent brings closure to proceedings so when your foe explodes in a shower of blood, there can be little doubt whether they'll be getting up again.

Samurai Shodown has never been part of the KO Club either (unless you class being slashed in two as being knocked out) but if we were to say that this is among the highlights of the game, you'd probably worry a little, yes? And with due cause. Samurai Shodown V is disgraceful from start to finish.

Before we get onto what's wrong with the game itself, it's probably wise to attack the quality of the port. Aside from implementing online play, it's as though nothing has been done to give any semblance of extended value to the package. A practically naked title screen offers simply Arcade, Versus and Practice modes - the misleading Score option is nothing but the best arcade times, something most games leave to the attract screen but up front here to fill the emptiness of the game's front end. Practice mode is a fair attempt but is all handled from a single menu, which doesn't sound so bad until you weigh it up against a few other factors. The character-select screen is devoid of names, leaving you to pick one of the ugly portraits and - if you find time mid-brawl - glance up at the energy bar and try to remember which Maru or Raru you picked. So when you come to practice, you better be damn sure you know what your character is called or you'll be sitting through a hell of a lot of loading.

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