PSX Mania – 019 – Bushido Blade (1997)

Completion time: 25:53

This is the most jarring transition game thus far for PSX Mania. From the overwhelmingly infuriating piece of crap that was War Gods, to the innovative, unique and charming Bushido Blade. It’s like watching the worst Bruce-sploitation film you can imagine, and then watching Enter the Dragon right after it.

Bushido Blade is a game that has aged incredibly well. It’s not a traditional fighting game; the lack of a health meter, timers, ring outs and enclosed arenas in general is surreal. One hit kills are a norm as well. There’s a lot of fineness and strategy that can be employed with Bushido Blade, although my playthrough lacked much of that, but that doesn’t take anything away from what this game provides players.

Six fighters and eight different weapons. Each fighter has a “preferred” weapon, three weapon stances and elementary combos that can be performed. There’s a ton of flexibility offered, and stages are large enough to where you can run to a totally different area within it to do battle. There’s a heavy emphasis on “honor” during the story mode as well, where attacking/killing anyone that is talking and not ready to fight, will screw you near the end, forcing you to replay your journey again in the hopes that you do not perform any kind of dishonorable acts.

There’s a lack of music overall, but that’s for the better, as the gameplay carries its self in such a way that music would just feel misplaced. The clanks of weapon on weapon are done well, as with the rest of the effects in general. You do control a bit stiff, but this isn’t the type of game where you’re going to be doing backflips and super fancy attacks. The way the controls are laid out are innovative, and the entire battle feels very deliberate and impactful. Hell, it visually looks decent enough as well.

There’s nothing offensive about Bushido Blade, other than the offense you dole out. It’s a well crafted fighting game that hasn’t been imitated or duplicated enough. It’s a franchise that should make a comeback, and if it doesn’t, this still holds up incredibly well after all these years. Top five game of the project so far, and one to add to your collection.

Rating: 9

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