Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection Game Poster Image
Fighting collection packed with content but shows its age.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Some of the games have a very basic "good vs. evil" theme to the overall story, though players choose from either side and the story simply follows suit. The game's plot is little more than a reason to bring the characters together to fight each other.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The games included in the collection introduce a host of characters with various backgrounds and motivations. There are good heroes and evil villains that players can choose to play as. But there's not a lot of character development, and most of the characters' backgrounds are only referenced through in-game bios.

Ease of Play

There are a lot of characters, combos, and special moves to learn in order to be effective in combat. The Samurai Shodown series also leans heavily into timing, which requires thought and strategy versus button mashing.

Violence

This is a collection of fighting games, which means combat and violence are core components to the gameplay. Characters use martial arts skills, weapons, and special abilities to attack each other, with some attacks portrayed in a more brutal manner than others. There's some blood spray and damage shown onscreen.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

This is a compilation of games in the popular Samurai Shodown franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One fighter in the roster is shown smoking a pipe after each victory.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection is a collection of classic games from SNK's popular Samurai Shodown fighting game franchise, and is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. The collection includes ports of the NeoGeo versions of Samurai Shodown I-V, as well as the special Samurai Shodown V Special and the previously unreleased Samurai Shodown V: Perfect. Each game features a diverse roster of fighters using a variety of martial arts, weapons, and mystic abilities in one-on-one combat. Violence is core to the gameplay, with some moves appearing more brutal than others. While there are occasional splashes of blood to represent character damage, there's no graphic onscreen gore.

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What's it about?

The ultimate fighting collection has arrived with SAMURAI SHODOWN NEOGEO COLLECTION, bringing together more than a decade's worth of SNK's fighting franchise in one massive package. Beginning with 1993's debut of the original Samurai Shodown and continuing on through 2003's Samurai Shodown V, this collection features every character, every weapon, and every battle from all five games in the classic series. The collection also includes both 2004's enhanced Samurai Shodown V Special and the previously unreleased follow-up, Samurai Shodown V: Special, for a total of seven games in all. Each title is a pixel perfect recreation of its original release, but with added support for online battles in both Ranked and Casual play. The collection also includes a Museum Mode with more than two thousand images, videos, and documents detailing the history and the evolution of the Samurai Shodown games. Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection is packed to the brim with all the action fight game enthusiasts could ask for, whether they're diehard "SamSho" fans or newcomers to the series.

Is it any good?

Although fighting games might be a dime a dozen, there are a few that have managed to carve out a special place in the genre and create a lasting legacy. Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection spotlights one such legacy, pulling together more than ten years' worth of material from the SNK franchise. Something important to keep in mind, though, is that the games in this collection aren't remasters or remakes. Instead, they're ports of the original releases, which means many of them are starting to show their age. Luckily, the Samurai Shodown games looked great for their time, and they still look good overall today. But problems (like a lack of a steady framerate) make the games feel less than fluid at their best and jerky or stuttering at their worst.

One major feature added to the games in the Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection is support for online matches in each title. On the surface, this seems like it would be a natural fit for players looking for some competition. Unfortunately, these new networking features don't fit well with the original games' programming. Online matchmaking is a mess filled with glitches, disconnects, and empty lobbies. Players are better off leaving the multiplayer to the local couch battles with friends, more akin to how the games were originally played on the NeoGeo consoles and in arcades. Still, despite its flaws, the Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection gives players a lot of bang for their buck, with plenty of material to strike a nostalgic chord with fans and fueling continued interest in SNK's fighting game legacy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Samurai Shodown: NEOGEO Collection affected by the occasional amounts of blood shown? Would it have a larger impact if the blood was more realistic, especially since characters are using weapons to defeat each other? What are some of the different ways violence is portrayed in fighting games?

  • How has the fighting game genre changed over the years? What are some of the games that laid the foundation for modern fighting games?

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