When I played on the Neo Geo console for the first time, it was the biggest gaming system I had ever seen! The joystick was so huge that I thought I had an arcade machine at home.

Buying cartridges for it were very expensive, going upwards of around 300 bucks at that time. As for the cost of the system, that’s another funny story we could probably get into later.

Samurai Shodown was one the games I had luxury of playing at such a pivotal time. I often wondered if SNK would release a brand-new edition for its beloved franchise. But now, that’s no longer the case; SNK had apparently granted my childhood dream.

My first impression of the game was wow, what an amazing artwork and incredible animation! The graphics were spectacular all around and shine through the various stages.

I was amazed by the clothes the fighters were wearing. It showcased that deep oriental fashion designs. But it’s been more 20 years since my last swordplay. So I’m going in somewhat rusty.

I had to check out some of the tutorials to get a refresher course on the fighting system. During my warm-up practice, I had discovered quite a few moves. One of them is called Max Rage, which is once activated can inflict devastating results against your opponent.

Max Rage not only adds style but also depth in making your moves ten times stronger! Certain special moves require this feature. For example, Lighting Blade and Weapon Flipping Technique need Max Rage to be activated, which produce a screen full of gory cinema.

The controls in Samurai Shodown are good to a certain extent. The regular moves and over-the-top finishers are easy to pull off. Unfortunately, the fight scenes are too tactical for my taste! It makes the game feel like a turn-based strategy than a 2D fighter.

It also disappointing to see that combos have been stripped out of this game. You cannot connect moves seamlessly the way you would in Street Fighter, Tekken, or in Mortal Kombat series.

I have noticed that loading is quite slow switching at menus and cutscenes. The most frustrating part is jumping – it’s awkward and “floaty”, which ruins any kind of buildup of adrenaline rush.

Online battle is sort of dead right now. The players’ lobby is almost non-existent and the net-code for playing online is terrible. You can still enjoy the game offline. You’ll find that Story and Gauntlet modes as the most interesting features as a single-player.

Moving forward, Samurai Shodown is a decent fighting game. It has a great cast of classic characters to choose from. Each fighter bearing unique weapon and incredible fighting style. If you were old enough to play the Neo Geo system, then most likely you already know half what I am talking about.

The developer put up a good effort to adapt some modern techniques and keep most of the classic gameplay intact. Unfortunately, the pacing is slower than I anticipated. Combos are non-existent and the lengthy loading screen is killing my buzz!

On the old cartridge-based Neo Geo system, Samurai Shodown seems faster. But then, I really don’t want to go back to playing its 90s form. Despite its great artwork and incredible animation, I see this game would likely appeal more towards the SNK aficionados.