Samurai Shodown V Hands-On Preview

We check out an early Xbox build of SNK's latest entry in the hallowed fighting series.

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We got a closer look at Samurai Shodown V for the Xbox today when SNK reps stopped by the GameSpot office. This is a direct port of the arcade game, which is the latest in the long-running and highly revered NeoGeo fighting series. Interestingly, SNK Japan has just given its US branch the green light to start doing its own development, and Samurai Shodown V is the first result of that development. Sunnyvale, California-based Signature Devices is handling the porting duties on the game, and we got to take a closer look to see how it's coming along.

The Xbox port will contain the original arcade game and full Xbox Live support to boot.

While the game is currently in a very unfinished state, the graphics appear to be on point and are similar to what you'd expect from the NeoGeo version of the game. Also, this appears to be based on the first release of Samurai Shodown V, not the Samurai Shodown V Special update that was released on the NeoGeo. As a result, characters like Poppy, Yumeji, and Sankuro are present. The 40 percent complete version we saw only had the A button hooked up, so it's difficult to say how well it will play. On the offline modes front, SSV will contain a standard set of fighting game modes, including an arcade mode, versus play, and a practice mode.

Of course, the biggest feature you'd look for in an Xbox port of a classic fighting game is Live support. Luckily, Samurai Shodown V has it. You'll be able to sign on to Xbox Live from the title-screen menu, and then you'll be able to challenge other players to head-to-head matches, just like you'd expect. There will also be a tournament ladder system set up so that you can get an organized competition going. The tourneys will be administered by Microsoft through the Live service, though SNK says it may offer officially sponsored tournaments sometime after the game's release, possibly with prizes for the big winners.

So far, Samurai Shodown V is looking early, but it also looks like it will eventually shape up to be a solid Xbox port of the traditional-themed arcade fighter. It's got the standard array of modes you'd expect from a home fighter, and, of course, the Xbox Live support should keep things interesting after you've already smacked around the local talent. The game is scheduled for release in October, so stay tuned for more.

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