Shodown III held its own in the arcades. But until the release of King of Fighters '95 and Fatal Fury Real Bout for the Saturn, SNK has had trouble converting its games to the home platform. The burning question: Would Shodown III safely make the transition? The answer: Samurai Shodown III for the Playstation is really good, but not really great.
Some animation frames from the arcade version of the game have been cut, and the gameplaying speed on the Playstation is somewhat slower. It's a solid game - that is, as long as players are willing to deal with the excruciatingly long loading time. Even so, the gameplay is still there - along with vivid colors and SNK's detailed character art and backgrounds.
It would seem that the name of the game in Samurai Shodown is patience. For players who like to whale on the buttons, prepare yourselves for a big time beating. Players should instead look for openings and slice away. Since this game doesn't really have a combo system, players have to string together moves slowly, methodically countering their opponent's swordplay. This can lead to some long bouts - a departure from today's fighters, which are designed to guzzle quarters as fast as possible before going to the consoles.
Changes from Samurai Shodown II are many. Each character now has an alter ego with tweaked moves, and players can also choose among the many difficulty settings. For example, new players can make their character always block; more experienced players can eliminate blocking; and there's even an option that gives players a full desperation move meter throughout a match. These options are a nice touch - especially for those who are otherwise discouraged by the move complexity in the fighting game genre.
Those who loved the arcade game version of Samurai Shodown III will be happy with this conversion. Those who have never played the game should give it a try - they'll probably like it, provided they can stand the loading time.