Way of the Samurai to slash the Old West

The next entry in the Way of the Samurai series will take place among the cowpokes and saloons of the 19th-century American West.

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TOKYO--For the next entry in its Way of the Samurai series, developer Spike is taking its free-roaming bushido adventure to a new and unexpected place. Samurai Western: Katsugeki Samurai-dou will take place in the 19th-century American West--instead of dodging the sharp swords of rival ronin, the hero will have to dodge the six-shooters of ornery cowboys.

In Samurai Western, you assume the role of a young samurai named Kiryu Goujiro, who's traveled to the US all the way from Japan to find his older brother. Goujiro sticks to his bushido code of honor and his belief that the Japanese sword is the strongest weapon in the world, so he seems to fight only with his sword throughout the game. Since Goujiro's outnumbered by gunmen who can pepper him with bullets from yards away, it's a good thing he has a lot of talent with his sword.

Specifically, Goujiro will be able to bounce bullets off his blade, and it seems that the shots can actually be bounced back at enemies. Aside from the ricochet system, Samurai Western also features a special dash that you can use when you're just about to get hit by a bullet, which will allow you to get close to the enemy instantaneously. Other special attacks, including a combo system, will be unveiled by Spike at a later date.

For the first time in the Way of the Samurai series, Samurai Western's gameplay will be split up into stages rather than free-roaming, interconnected maps. That doesn't mean that you'll have less area to explore, however, as the game's total map size will be about four times as large as Way of the Samurai 2. Once you finish a stage, you can return to it later to boost your character's stats.

Samurai Western: Katsugeki Samurai-dou is slated for release in Japan this winter. The game's official Web site launched today, and more information should be available by the end of the month.

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