Bushido Blade


STORYBushido Blade takes place on an island near the southern mountains of Japan. A five hundred year old dojo known as Meikyokan lies within this region, and teaches the disciplines of the master Narukagami Shinto. A society of assassins known as Kage also resides within the dojo. Once led by the honorable swordsman Utsusemi, he lost his position to Hanzaki, another skilled member of the dojo, in a fierce battle. Hanzaki gained respect as the Kage leader, until he discovered a cursed sword known as Yugiri. He began to change, disregarding the groups honor and the traditions held by its students.

One day, a Kage escapes the confines of the dojo with its secrets. Several other members of the society, under penalty of death, are sent to dispatch the defector, only catching up to him (or her) within the ruins of the surrounding Yin and Yang Labyrinth Castle. The player takes on the role of the escaped assassin, fighting his or her way out by killing comrades one by one. The game story differs with each character selected.

Actually one of PS1's best fighting games in '97-'98.

REVIEWBushido Blade introduced a fresh concept to the 3D fighting game genre, offering a "realistic" approach to weapon based combat. Square decided to completely do away with a staple of nearly all fighting games - Life Bars. That means, with one good slash of a katana, a fight could be won. This concept definitely brings along some unorthodox gameplay, but one can't argue that it makes sense when considering we're dealing with samurai and live blades here.

Select your weapon! ... (way to be original, guys).

Another original idea that Bushido Blade introduced is the ability for all characters to use all eight weapons featured in the game. The selectable weapons include: katana, nodachi, long sword, saber, naginata, rapier, broadsword, & sledgehammer. Each character also has 3 different stances (high, mid, and low) in which different attacks can be thrown from. Furthermore, some attacks can only be done with specific character and weapon combinations! ...Pretty cool. On the same token, many characters do share the exact same moves & animations.

Flat environments... yet atmospheric.


One of Bushido Blade's most distinctive elements is the game's incorporation of the Japanese honor code of Bushido. During the story mode, players are encouraged to battle honorably by adhering to certain rules within combat. Actions such as "attacking from behind" will result in an automatic game over (after some battles)... no cheap shots allowed!

Bushido Blade's
gameplay also features free-running (360 degrees) around the 3D environment... yes, environment. There are actually no "stages" in Bushido Blade. Instead, combatants fight it out in a landscape featuring  various paths which open new areas. Basically, if you don't feel like fighting your opponent in your current location, you can always run away and fight somewhere else! (It's pretty fun in 1-player mode). The free-running element is quite entertaining for a while, and even adds quite a bit of strategy to the game as well... those over-the-shoulder / behind-the-back running slashes are damn effective (but are strongly against the code of Bushido). Heh. The environments are also interactive, with trees you can cut down, places to climb onto, etc.

Survival mode was crack.


In addition to Bushido Blade's single player Story Mode, the contains a 2-Player Versus Mode, Practice Mode, and a pretty interesting "First-Person VS Mode" which can be played with two players by using 2 TVs. Also included is a cool 1-player bonus mode called "Slash Mode," which pits the player against 100 enemies, one after another. I personally enjoyed this mode just as much, if not more than the main modes of the game.

For a 1996 PS1 fighting game, you can't really ask for much more. However, there are some basic flaws I'd like to point out. The biggest flaw of Bushido Blade would definitely be the graphics. The environments, though generally "pretty" and immersive for the time, do appear very pixilated. The in-game blood also looks more like pixilated fireworks, or confetti than it does blood. There's a fair share of quirkiness to some of the animation, but other animations are solid and actually present rather authentic Japanese swordsmanship. The ouch factor also offers a variety of cool-looking death animations with solid collision detection.

Another "flaw" worth mentioning - there are only 6 main characters to choose from, so the roster definitely feels a bit lonely sometimes. On the bright side, there is one unlockable character available in VS mode, and 5 non-playable hidden characters than can be encountered in the main 1-player mode.
Two of these CPU-only characters present themselves only if a player can complete the game and achieve the alternative ending. To do this, you must select the appropriate character and also the following: (#1) Do not take any damage, (#2) Reach the well before the fourth battle, and (#3) do not break the Bushido Code. It's a but much to go through, but hey... I give the designers credit for their attention to detail!



Page Updated: October 7th, 2020
Developer(s): Squaresoft / Lightweight
Publisher(s): Square Co. 
Designer(s): Tetsuo Mizuno
Platform(s): PlayStation
Release Date(s): Mar. 14th, 1997      
Sept. 30th, 1997     

Feb. 1st, 1998         
Characters Kannuki, Mikado, Tatsumi, Red Shadow, Black Lotus, Utsusemi, Schuvaltz Katze
Non-Playable Characters Hokkyoku Tsubame, Sanzaka, Takeru Hongou, Hanzaki, Kindachi

Featured Video:

Related Games: Bushido Blade 2, Soul Blade, Soul Calibur, Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Battle Arena Toshinden 3, Last Bronx, Star Gladiator, Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi, Mace: The Dark Age, Last Bronx, Fighters Megamix, Bloody Roar, Mortal Kombat 4, Tekken 3, Golden Axe: The Duel

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  7.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  6.5 / 10
Animation  7.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.5 / 10
Innovation  9.0 / 10
Art Direction  8.0 / 10
Customization  8.5 / 10
Options / Extras  7.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  7.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  7.5 / 10
Characters  6.5 / 10


 7.8 / 10



Final Words: Bushido Blade was an innovative and classy weapon-based fighting game on PS1. I was happy to have his title in my PS1 library and (surprisingly) put many hours into it. The free running mechanic, unique "1-hit-kill" gameplay element, open 3D environments, and characters who can use all of the different weapons made this game stand out!

Considering Bushido Blade's competition in the fighting genre in 1997, the game still left some things to be desired in certain areas... specifically graphics, character designs, story, and overall content. (Thankfully, the sequel Bushido Blade 2 improved upon those aspects!) The animation quality has its iffy moments, but for the most part - Bushido Blade game has decent ouch factor. The ultra-pixilated blood is also hilarious but gives the game that iconic PS1-era charm.

While not necessarily designed to be taken too seriously as a "competitive" fighting game, Bushido Blade's highly unique gameplay was solid enough and a fun new take on the idea of what a fighting game could be. If you could get past the outdated graphics and blocky (yet charming) PS1-era polygons, Bushido Blade offers a truly unique gameplay experience that no fighting game player or samurai fan should miss out on.
~TFG Webmaster

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  Click Here for all Character Busts!


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