Game: "Bushido Blade"
System: PlayStation
Genre: Action
Published by: Square Enix

Reviewer: -RoG-
Posted: 1/11/2008

Review: 3D fighting games are a dime a dozen these days, so it takes something really special to make one of them stand out. Well, Bushido Blade had that something special and then some. It has the standard third-person perspective that we've all come to expect in 3D fighters, but that's pretty much where the similarities end.

The game centers around Bushido - the Japanese "Way of the Warrior". Basically, it's a moral code for you (a modern honorable samurai armed with a video game controller) to live by as you hack and slash your opponents apart. After all, one must exercise proper manners when thrusting a broadsword into the ocular cavity of his enemy. It's the right thing to do. Should you choose to stab somebody in the back will cause the 1-player Story Mode games to end with you being dishonored. Should this happen to you, I suggest you commit Seppuku immediately... and don't give me any of that, "But it's only a game!" crap either. If we let ourselves run wild in video games, what's to say we won't start stabbing each other in the back in the real world as well? WHERE DOES IT END!? So yeah, keep that tanto handy, because you dishonorable bastards just might need it after playing this game.

The combat system in Bushido Blade was extremely unique at the time as well. When you start the game, you choose a character and then you pick one of eight different weapons: the broadsword, katana, long sword, naginata, nodachi, rapier, saber and sledgehammer. Each weapon has a particular length and weight which can either help or hurt you depending on which character you're playing as and who your opponent is. Personally, I prefer to use the saber or the nodachi, as I've found them to be the most effective weapons, especially when you use one of the sequential strike attacks.

The most interesting thing about the combat system, however, does not lie within the weapons or the characters themselves. Unlike most fighting games where you could slice at somebody's head with a giant sword and they'll keep attacking you as if nothing ever happened, in Bushido Blade, the battle damage is realistic. If you slice your opponents knees, they're gonna drop to the ground and will only be able to crawl towards you. This of course doesn't mean they're dead, for they could still very easily jab their weapon to your gullet and that would be the end of you. Yes indeed, the "one-hit kill" is a very common occurrence in Bushido Blade, and that's what makes it so much fun. No power meters, no power-ups, no time limits... just you and your weapon of choice.

As fun as the "Story" and "Slash" modes of this game are, Bushido Blade truly shines in the 2-player mode. There are large landscapes for you to run around, some having multiple levels for you to climb onto. And because of the realistic battle damage system, most matches won't last very long at all... some even ending in a split second. As a result, if you play this game with a friend for a few hours, you can easily rack up well over 200 matches between the two of you. And who wouldn't want to be able to brag about killing their friend 134 times in a single day? Therein lies the beauty of Bushido Blade. This was only Squaresoft's (now SquareEnix) second foray into the world of fighting games, so kudos to them for getting it so right.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Ninja in training
Jan 11th, 2008, 02:47 AM
only one prooblem... tobal number one was squaresofts first foray into fighting games...came out in 1996^^; but it wasnt to well known though so... but yeah bushido blade is awesome one of my favorite fighting games.
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 11th, 2008, 02:54 AM
Tobal No. 1 was partly an adventure game wasn't it? I never played it but I didn't think it was a straight fighter game. I'll have to check it out sometime.
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:23 AM
Tobal #1 had it moments, but as a fighting game it fell short. The adventure game portion of it was unusual and gave birth to the Ehrgeiz engine I think, which was much better. Most everyone who bought it only bought it for the FFVII demo that was packaged with it though.

Those 200 fights in a session you mentioned though, I was so there in those days. A bunch of us would have best out of 7 matches because one fight would be over too quickly. I also really liked how your center of gravity setting would effect how you swing.
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 11th, 2008, 05:36 PM
Yeah Ehrgeiz was a fun game, I remember that one. It's been ages since I played it though. As for Bushido Blade, yeah I love how gravity and momentum play a big role in it. It's especially handy when you decide to be "dishonorable" and run circles around your opponent, constantly knocking them... as Dr. Boogie came all too familiar with whenever he played me hahahahaha
Fucking Finland
Jan 11th, 2008, 05:47 PM
I've alway wanted to play this game, but I've never had a chance
Funky Dynamite
Jan 11th, 2008, 05:50 PM
Yes, those "death before dishonor" people never played against Rog.

It's a great game, though. My biggest complaint was with the blocking mechanic. You have time your block almost perfectly to block, which is fine by me. My problem is that after I would block an attack, I wouldn't be able to block the next one. Plus, some of my successful blocks would leave me off-balance, which sort of renders blocking pointless.

Also, and I've asked this of Rog many times in the past, I don't see how a 1.2 kg sabre can easily knock a 4.1 kg broadsword aside with nary a flick of the wrist.

Edit: Also, does anyone use the naginata or longsword, because both Rog and I have found them to be utterly terrible weapons.
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 07:04 PM
I loved this game as a rental... But yeah, blocking is near useless, I always found the best defense was a strong offense. And unlike all the other fighting games out there, strong offense doesn't mean button mashing!
Jan 11th, 2008, 08:10 PM
Ah, Bushido Blade, one of the most memorable PS1 games I've ever played. It's one of those franchises that I would not mind seeing being reborn on the next gen consoles, even if Bushido Blade 2 did include a M16. :c
Our Last Hope
Jan 12th, 2008, 06:34 PM
Looks really fun, i'll be sure to give it a play
Waiting for the worms.
Jan 12th, 2008, 07:09 PM
I'm horrible at fighters. To the point where I've never won a single round of Bushido Blade. I confess it. I suck.
Funky Dynamite
Jan 12th, 2008, 07:43 PM
Geez, man. Even if you just pick a fast weapon and mash the attack button, you're bound to win at least one match.

And the AI can be pretty lousy. It shouldn't be that hard to sneak in a fatal blow.
Suicidal Chipmunk
Jan 12th, 2008, 09:38 PM
I actually do have this game, but I never got past the first few fights in the story mode, becuase I was never able to resist the temptation to run up and kill my opponent while they were posing...it was still a fun game though.
Jan 12th, 2008, 09:39 PM
This game brings back memories. I spent many hours losing to my friends. Good times.

One fun memory I have of the game is after I won a battle (after about 100 straight loses no doubt) and my character did his victory pose and the sword was touching my defeated opponent and as a result a geyser of blood was gushing out. It was like beating on a dead horse, except that the horse returned the favor in the next round. Well played Horse, well played.
Jan 13th, 2008, 09:57 AM
Bushido Blade 2 was better in every way. If you can find it, I recommend picking it up.
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 13th, 2008, 01:17 PM
I need to check this out. I always hated how, in Soul Calibur, you'd deliver that totally awesome blow where you put a sword through your opponent's head after much trial and effort, only to find that their health bar only ticked down a tiny, tiny bit.
Waiting for the worms.
Jan 13th, 2008, 03:40 PM
My trouble was that I always played it against my Uncle Herbie, and he did pwned me over and over with one blow to the point where I was so angry that I never bothered to fight the computer. I'm just holding on to my little bitter grudge nugget after all these years.
Funky Dynamite
Jan 13th, 2008, 04:09 PM
Originally Posted by neoboman View Post
Bushido Blade 2 was better in every way. If you can find it, I recommend picking it up.
I've been wondering about that game for a while now. Can you remember what specific stuff they improved from the first?
Forum Chaos Lord
Jan 13th, 2008, 07:26 PM
Bushido Blade was nice, but it did have balance issues and honestly had some difficulties that made the game a little silly. Where the game really picked up was its sequel, Bushido Blade 2. It was generally a vast improvement on the game, both in terms of storyline and in terms of actual gameplay.

First off, the game's graphics were notably better, and the game ran much smoother. The evironments were bigger, and there was a few locations where you could screw with the environment (cutting down trees in the Bamboo forest!) or even use it offensively (a few areas had potentially fatal drops.

Second, the plot was vastly improved, and - to my amazement, managed to continue the arc of the first game. The storyline of BB2 covered a long rivalry between the Narukagami (clan from the first game) and the long-since-shamed Shainto clan. Canonically, Black Lotus was the member of the Narukagami to escape - he joined the Shainto later, coming back as the new character Highwayman.

The weapon count was somewhat decreased - and then expanded. The Longsword, Broadsword, Nodachi, and Katana were all back, as was the Naginata (now a Narukagami exclusive). The Saber and Rapier were dropped from the game entirely, though the latter is actually IN the game as a secondary weapon for Highwayman. A new weapon in the game was the Yari (A spear that is exclusive to the Shainto).

Most of the characters had a sub-weapon of some sort, a throwback to BB. Difference is, some characters have a decidedly lethal sub-weapon now, capable of killing on a direct hit. Others have abilities which can harass or break enemy guard. As in the first game, you can pick up and use a thrown or dropped sub-weapon and wing it right back at your foe.

A new dual-wielding setup was included. Some characters have the ability to use their sub-weapon as a secondary weapon, weilding it in their off hand. Highwayman does this with the longsword, but characters like Utsusemi and Tatsumi do this with Katanas. Similarly, throws were updated. You could do certain throws with certain character and weapon combos. Throws were hard to pull off but fatal if they connected.

The character roster was more than tripled. You could unlock tons of new characters, including literally everyone from the first game including the gun-weilding pile of cheese that was Katze (no longer dressed as a Nazi, now simply dressing like a fruit). The characters ranged from the awesome (a Ninja named Nightstalker, clearly from Red Shadow's Ninja school), to the hilarious (A black man with an Afro who disco-dances, named Tony Umeda).

All in all, one of the best PSX-era fighting games ever, and one of the few PSX fighting games I still actively play once and again.

Square had a brief foray into fighting games. Tobal No. 1 and Bushido Blade were their best-known examples, followed by Ehrgeiz. It's a shame they decided to make nothing but FF games these days, because the games were pretty darn innovative, and dare I say, fun.
Suicidal Chipmunk
Jan 15th, 2008, 06:04 PM
hey man, Ehrgeiz was awesome, i liked it WAY better than either Bushido Blade game.
Suicidal Chipmunk
Jan 15th, 2008, 06:04 PM
and also FF is like my favorite game series ever
Forum Virgin
Feb 29th, 2008, 11:44 PM
I always used Utsusemi 'cuz he reminds me of George Zimmer of The Men's Warehouse commercials. I could see Utsusemi saying, "You're going to like the way I kick your @$$ - I guarantee it, b!+ch!"
Sep 12th, 2010, 02:11 PM
I loved this game. I used the longsword a lot. The naginata however, proved to be rather poo. Personal favorite was the warhammer.