You want a realistic game? It doesn't get much more realistic than Bushido Blade. Imagine a fighting game where if you take a solid hit, you're done. It wouldn't be much fun, now would it? That's where you're wrong. It's intense.
Fighting as a warrior, following the code of bushido, you need to take revenge for any number of reasons. Cut down those in your path in order to settle your soul. All it takes is one strike. Bushido Blade provides a unique experience amongst the crowd of other titles in the fighting genre. Settle down awhile and I shall spin you a tale of this game.
Developed by: Squaresoft
Released: September 30, 1997
Bargain Binned: $10-$15 on eBay, 200 Goozex points
Drawing your sword, you stare down your opponent. An evil henchman of the man who destroyed your life or perhaps the person who murdered your parents -- it matters not. This person must die. You've trained half your life, ever since that incident, for this moment. "I cannot fail." Look around, measure the surroundings. Nearby is a field of bamboo, and ten paces behind you is a ledge that leads down to the beach. Now, how to take advantage of that?
First, you swing. Still a sword's length between you and him. Suddenly, his blade comes within inches of your face. It's clear the advantage isn't yours. Pull back to the edge -- the bamboo will fall like blades of grass in the face of his sword. Your opponent follows you down to the beach. Backing you against the water, he raises his blade to strike. Dodging out of the way, you take the opportunity to throw some sand in his face, blinding him momentarily. Now! Cut him down! You feel the sword plunge into your opponent, and twist the blade to ensure he is finished.
The fight is over, but there is still a long way to go until the one who destroyed your life makes themselves known.
Bushido Blade is one of those really unique fighting games. In the sea of fighters, both 2-D and 3-D, no other title can claim the title of "most realistic." The game follows some basic principles when it comes to fighting -- a main hit to the character in the head or torso will kill; a hit to the arm or leg will cripple that limb; sand or small objects thrown at the opponent will temporarily stun them. All of these are true to life.
The game emphasizes fighting honorably over attacking your opponents as quickly as possible. In a normal fight, you can kill your opponent in three seconds. Where's the challenge in playing a game that you can beat in 20 minutes? It lies within fighting by the code of bushido.
When a fight starts, your opponent will talk to you, perhaps taunting or preparing themselves for a fight. Allow them to strike at you first, to give them some small chance of victory, otherwise you are a coward and do not fight by the code of bushido. The same holds true for attacking your opponent when they are on the ground or facing away from you. Flinging sand in your opponent's face, or flinging a secondary weapon at them is also dishonorable. Well, that counts me out, then.
The game forces the player to be much more calculated in their moves, and completely changes the pacing of the game. Now, there are rules pressured onto you in the story mode to fight honorably while your opponents will use underhanded tactics.
The slash mode is no easy challenge, either. The video in this post is the first half of someone running through slash mode, where you must fight wave after wave of enemies. It's something incredibly challenging to play, as you're still bound by the damage rules -- you could be crippled by the first enemy, and then have to fight the next 99 with a gimp leg.
Bushido Blade can sometimes be considered a party game. Hear me out on this one. A group of people getting together to watch two samurai duel. Slowly pacing around each other, it only takes one strike to kill your opponent. I've heard from others when discussing this game that it can turn to a gambling event as well.
If you're looking for an alternative fighting game that showcases what sort of diversity Squaresoft used to have, then definitely pick up Bushido Blade. Bushido Blade 2 introduces a character with a gun, so it's debatable if you want to touch that one -- she's a secret character, so it only affects the multiplayer mode.