Samurai Shodown  6 / Samurai Spirits Tenka
REVIEW:  The tenth installment to the long-running Samurai Showdown series was originally known as Samurai Spirits Tenkaiichi Kenkakuden in Japan (or Samurai Spirits Tenka for short), and is simply called Samurai Shodown 6 in North America / Europe / other regions. Samurai Shodown 6 brings back all 28 characters from Samurai Shodown 5 Special, and also marks the return of several classic characters from the series who haven't been seen since the likes of Samurai Shodown 2, including: Gen-an, Earthquake, Wan Fu, and Sieger.

Along with the returning favorites, joining the roster are several newcomers such as: Iroha, Andrew, Soguroku, and Ocha Maru; alternate versions of classic characters, and even a handful of animal characters (now playable by themselves for the first time) which easily makes for the biggest roster in the Samurai Shodown series to date... 52 selectable characters in all, though quite a few are still "palette" swaps.


52 characters in all... whew!


Although "Bust" and "Slash" versions of characters are a thing of the past, SS6 introduces the "spirit select" system that allows players to choose between nine specific character settings which tweak your character's abilities and play style. Depending in the "spirit" mode you select, your character will be capable of doing different things during a fight, such as being able to knock away your opponent's weapon or break it all together. Special attacks, defense/evading techniques, and even combo possibilities differ depending on the "spirit" you select, which adds a lot of diversity to the game on top of the vast character roster.


Pirates of the Caribbean stage? Yo ho.


isn't nearly the best looking 2D fighter around but it isn't bad, although previous installments do look mighty similar and possibly even "outshine" this version graphically. The stages of SS6 are refreshingly different, and have a really "sharp" appearance which is both a good thing and bad thing in some ways. The scrolling effect that many 2D SNK fighting games are known for is back once again, and does appear to be " smoother" than ever, but due to the sharp backgrounds, the "pixelation" stands out a bit more than usual.

Previous backgrounds in the Samurai Shodown series have always been hand drawn, and were no doubt incredibly "moody" and simply beautiful... SS6's stages aren't bad in comparison, but they're somewhat on the gritty looking side and the background characters appear quite stiff to say the least. No doubt backgrounds in previous games were far more memorable, and I would have actually much rather seen Samurai Shodown 6 packed with classic locations rather than entirely new ones. The new BGMs are pretty cool, and the redone voice acting is also well done and noticeably different, but again slightly pales in comparison when compared to the series' past.

These two haven't met since Samurai Shodown 2!


Sadly, there's no blood in SS6... and even more depressing, no fatalities. It's weird that they took out such a staple element of the series... I mean, how could they leave out the epic, stylish, slow-mo fatalities that the series was known for? The question whether or not your opponent will actually die on the final blow adds so much suspense and style to game (on top of realism) and it's a bloody shame they decided to do away with it yet again. There are at least a wide variety of cool looking hit effects, and do justice to make the moves look like they hurt... but no blood. Samurai Shodown with no blood... *sigh*  It's not like they're going to offend anyone nowadays... is the teen rating that important to you SNK? I'm glad Kuroko is back at least, and the delivery guy that throws in items from the background (whom now throws in sub-weapons which can be picked up and tossed at your opponent).

Cosmetic details aside, the gameplay is still enjoyable and feels like a mix between all of the previous installments... it's kinda weird actually. The game is smooth, yet slower in some places than it probably should be, but still has that "pace" that the series is known for. Many characters have been toned down from previous versions, obviously to balance out the game.... Balance is good, but what about fun? Honestly, many of the classic characters were more fun to use in previous games. You can still "make it work" with your favorite character, but he or she most likely isn't going to play quite as you remembered, and will likely feel toned down if you were any sort of Samurai Shodown player in the past. It's also a shame there aren't really two versions of each character like we had in SS3 or SS4, but the new spirit select system is certainly better than nothing.


iroha-samurai-shodown-6-tenka-artwork.jpg (89547 bytes)           genjuro-samurai-shodown-6-tenka-artwork.jpg (113175 bytes)           zankuro-samurai-shodown-6-tenka-artwork.jpg (114073 bytes)           charlotte-samurai-shodown-6-tenka-artwork.jpg (89375 bytes)

Click Here for all character artwork!

Page Updated: July 14th, 2022
Developer(s): SNK Playmore
Publisher(s): SNK Playmore
Platform(s): PS2, PSP, PSN , Wii
Release Date(s): Sept. 14th, 2005            Arcade
Jan. 25th, 2006
Mar. 24th, 2009
              PS2 / PSP / Wii - In SS: Anthology
Mar. 29th, 2009              PS2 / PSP / Wii - In SS: Anthology
Nov. 19th, 2014               PSN
Nov. 22nd, 2016              PS4 (PSN)
Characters Haohmaru, Ukyo, Hanzo, Iroha, Ocha-Maro, Sugoroku, Andrew Nakoruru, Genjuro, Kyoshiro, Shizumaru, Gaira, Rimururu, Basara, Sogetsu, Kazuki, Gen-An, Cham Cham, Tam Tam, Charlotte, Galford, Jubei, Rera, Rasetsumaru, Suija, Enja, Yoshitora Tokugawa, Kusaregedo, Mina Majikina, Yumeji, Sankuro, Yunfei, Wan Fu, Earthquake, Nicotine, Sieger, Mizuki, Amakusa, Kim Ung Che, Paku Paku, Poppie, Chample, Kuroko, Zankuro, Gaoh, Demon Gaoh

Featured Video:

Related Games: Samurai Shodown V Special, Samurai Shodown V, SSV Perfect, Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown 3, Samurai Shodown 4, Samurai Shodown (2019), Samurai Shodown 64, Samurai Shodown 64: Warriors Rage, Samurai Shodown! Pocket, Samurai Shodown! 2 Pocket, Samurai Shodown Warriors Rage, Samurai Shodown Sen, Samurai Shodown Anthology, Rumble Fish 2

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

 7.1 / 10

 Review based on PS2 version    


Final Words:

As a huge fan of the series since the very beginning, Samurai Shodown 6 wasn't where I'd hoped the series would be, by now. Some of the character sprites are still the same sprites we've had since Samurai Shodown 3, and some of which, ironically, don't animate quite as fluidly as they do in SS3 (not as many frames). I suppose that's because the sprite artists wanted to have an "orthodox" frame count across the board, so they removed from older characters to match the new characters they were introducing. While disappointing, it's understandable in a way, and at least provides good reason to return to SS3. Overall the SS6 animates well, but the overall animation and presentation has been done better in pat installments.

On that note, the gameplay, the mood, and almost everything else has been done better in previous titles. SNK took a lot of advice from players during the creation of SS6, and balanced the characters out according to the players who tested the game. So it makes for a fairly competitively-balanced game, but in my opinion, Samurai Shodown 2 and Samurai Shodown 4 are still more fun to play and look better. Still, with such a huge roster... SS6 is a sort of "fan service" game worth trying out.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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