Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa's Revenge, known as Samurai Spirits: Amakusa's Descent (サムライスピリッツ天草降臨 Samurai Supirittsu Amakusa Kōrin, TenSamu in short) in Japan, is the fourth in SNK's flagship Samurai Shodown series of fighting games. Chronologically, is the second and final chapter of an interquel between Samurai Shodown and Samurai Shodown II, Samurai Shodown III being the first chapter.
After Samurai Shodown III was received more or less poorly by the fighting game community, SNK again went back to address the complaints, and tried to deliver a followup that would hopefully regain some of the magic that had made Samurai Shodown II such a hit.
The most obvious change is visual, with dramatically adjusted color palettes for the individual characters, generally brightening them up and reducing contrast, in the attempt to make the game more cartoonish. Aerial blocking was removed entirely, and the switcharound move, which enabled a player to shift quickly behind the other's back, as well as the dodge (Evade; side-step), in which the move virtually brings a semi-3D environment to the defense in attempt to use each sword more effectively.
Following the same philosophy, some of the older characters were restored, such as Charlotte, Tam Tam and Jubei Yagyu. The entire cast of the previous game also returns, though some have been retouched to further enhance the cartoonish look.
Joining the cast were the two ninja brothers:
- Kazuki Kazama - member of the Kazama ninja clan specializing in fire jutsu, he deserts to rescue his younger sister, Hazuki, from Amakusa's clutches.
- Sogetsu Kazama - older brother to Kazuki and Hazuki who uses water jutsu; unlike Kazuki, he stays with the clan and is ordered to assassinate his brother for leaving.
Overall, the game plays not terribly unlike SS3, but the feel is considerably different. Control has been loosened and more accurately modified, controller motions have been improved, overall damage has been reduced and one can no longer charge his/her own POW gauge. The off-screen delivery man was omitted entirely from the game. The biggest addition is probably the "CD Combo," wherein a player can press the C and D buttons together, triggering a strike that can be followed up by a sequence of button taps. The single-player mode now has a timer, as well. Only by reaching the final boss within a specified time limit can one see a character's ending.
In a slightly paradoxical move when compared to the brighter aesthetic, SNK also added in a "suicide" move (known in English-speaking fan circles as the "Honorable Death"), wherein one's character sacrifices his/her own life, thus forfeiting the round. The bonus to this is that the one committing suicide will start the next round with a full POW gauge. Certain finishes will also enable a "fatality" move in the vein of Mortal Kombat. This feature has been much-debated for its violent nature.
Source: Wikipedia, Samurai Shodown IV , available under the CC-BY-SA License.