I think it's safe to say that everyone loves a good sword fight. Many film and literary genres revolve around them. What would our best samurai, pirate, musketeer, knight, and fantasy stories be without them? Boring, is what! Well, obviously I'm a fan of sword fights, and when I first got to play Bushido Blade for the original PlayStation, I was a happy camper. Bushido Blade has often been referred to as a fighting game, but I feel this to be inaccurate. Fighting games, such as Street Fighter or Tekken, have health bars, and the object is to drain your opponent's by landing combos and special techniques without allowing yours to be drained. Bushido Blade was not such a game. Just as you couldn't simply refer to the UFC Undisputed franchise as merely a fighting game because it is more of an MMA simulator, Bushido Blade was more of a "sword-fight simulator."
|Kanuki catches Red Shadow with a thrust in the original Bushido Blade.|
The following year Bushido Blade 2 came out, featuring a much larger roster of characters. This time the story was expanded to include many more characters and followed a feud between the clan from the first game, the Narukagami, and the Shainto. In this instalment, instead of just fighting clan members you had to fight a group of ninjas, one at a time, until you faced a clan member as a boss in each map. You started with three initial characters, and after choosing one the game would take you through their story. On certain levels the characters would stumble across fellow members of their clan who would offer to take over that particular fight for them, and thus the player would control these "sub-characters" for that level, unlocking them if they were victorious. The game culminated in a boss battle with the head of the clan. The Shainto leader was invulnerable accept for a spot on his back that was really easy to find and exploit. The Narukagami's boss was much more annoying, as he could teleport. There were also the obligatory gun characters, although this time there were two, Kaze, the cowboy from the first game, and Tsubame, a scantily clad woman wielding an M16. These two characters could be unlocked by succeeding in a time attack in which one had to kill 100 ninjas within a specified time in the game's "slash" mode (or whatever it was called). Pretty wild!
|A duel ends poorly for Jo of the Shainto.|
|One player chopping down a bamboo shoot in the bamboo grove map during a multiplayer duel.|
All these elements made for some AWESOME multiplier action, and my friends and I would spend hours going at it. Even these days we occasionally load the game on an emulator, as it still holds up! It's a lot of fun and is easy to learn but hard to master. So why would I want this to be rebooted? Because not only is it an awesome and fairly simple concept but the original games were hampered by the original PlayStation's technology. The maps were pretty simple, you could only fight one on one, and the environments were pretty sparse; the story mode was basically the multiplayer mode with CPU-controlled opponents with fairly basic AI. However! Imagine the possibilities with today's technology! Dynamic weather conditions, sprawling maps, larger-scale duels, maps with usable objects, better AI, more advanced physics engines, HD graphics and character models, more weapons, more moves, more modes, more characters, customization--the possibilities are endless! Sadly the original developer of Bushido Blade had a falling out with its publisher, Squaresoft (now Squarenix), and the development team disbanded years ago, so the likelihood of a new Bushido Blade entry is practically nil. However, it's a fairly straightforward concept and I'm honestly kind of surprised no one has ever tried to recreate the experience, even in the indie sphere. Don't people like sword fights anymore? I know I do!