Monday, June 20, 2011

Soul of the Samurai

Soul of the Samurai
Developer - Konami
Publisher - Konami
Release date – August 31, 1999

Soul of the Samurai is an action-adventure game developed and published by Konami in 1999 for the PlayStation.


From the start the player chooses to be either a young male ronin named Kotaro or a teenage female ninja named Lin (Rin). From then on he or she travels through prerendered levels, killing enemies and fulfilling their mission.

Kotaro Hiba: Kotaro is a masterless samurai who travels Japan. Not much is known about his roots, other than he grew up in a dojo with a boy called Yukinosuke, training in the ways of Japanese swordsmanship. Both were apparently raised by their 'master', and Kotaro reveals his parents have already died. Yukinosuke reveals, that when growing up, they were both of equal skill, with neither ever able to clearly defeat the other in sparring contests. Kotaro left suddenly one day, after his parents died. He has a laid back attitude to life and does not sit in the traditional seiza sitting position in the dojo.

Lin (Rin): Lin is a ninja who was orphaned as a child. Both she and her brother, Shin were taken in by a ninja clan and trained in the art of ninjutsu until they were strong enough and skilled enough to carry out missions as a spy for the Tokugawa shogunate government. She resents the 'kid' image Kotaro uses on her, despite her youth. She has feelings for Kotaro, which is revealed at the game's end.


The game's combat system is quite detailed, and might take a while to get used to. However, when mastered, it is relatively easy for Lin and Kotaro to dispatch multiple enemies quickly from different directions, while simultaneously avoiding the enemies thrusts and swipes. There is a single attack button, but combined with different directional buttons pressed in different combinations and held down for various intervals. There are different attack speeds which correlate to the weight of the equipped weapon, and this is displayed on the sword's 'check' window (also displayed is the sword's length and sharpness, and a brief description of the blade).


An early version of the game, developed under the working title Shogun Assassin, featured a young warrior named Hotaru and Hyaku, a member of the shogunate secret police (their designs were the same as these of the final protagonists Kotaro and Lin). Earlier, the game was also known as Japan and Konami sources said the game would combine elements from Bushido Blade and Tenchu.

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