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Last Blade - Review

 

 

Bakumatsu Roman (Last Blade)

Review by Lesley (Winter)

Made specifically for http://www.neogeocd.net


SLICE! ENVY IS YOUR DOWNFALL

As the only contender against Samurai Shodown on the Neo Geo CD, The Last Blade stands apart from all other genres. It was released for the Neo Geo CD in 1997 by SNK. In spite of rumors to the contrary, The Last Blade has stood the test of time to be considered one of the best fighting games ever made. In my experience, it lives up to every expectation.

 

FLAIR IS NOT DEAD, IT IS REINVENTED

The Last Blade is the most beautiful game I have played on the Neo Geo CD (from here on out referred to as NGCD). Even in the year 2004, The Last Blade remains higher in graphic quality than current day console incarnations.  When conducting special moves that include fire and ice, the images displayed are as clear as a comic book drawing. The introductory “vs.” and “stage” scenes include the best artwork of any game pre-SNK-Playmore.

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS THAT WHISPER?

Like many other reviewers, I did not find the sound extraordinary. Instead, I found the music to be fitting of the genre. The game contains clear and focused sound effects for each move, while providing low, ambient background audio.

Samurai Shodown IV has better music on the whole, but I could not imagine The Last Blade having that type of music. What makes The Last Blade’s music enjoyable is the low, tranquil sounds coupled by the impact of an ensuing, thundering battle.

Try to imagine an initiate’s final battle with his or her master inside the meditation garden of the sanctuary, and you will have a clear idea of The Last Blade’s theme.

 

LIVE THE BATTLE , BE THE SAMURAI

Besides the overall attractive theme of The Last Blade, I thoroughly enjoy its game play. I enjoy most its ease of use for the non-fighting expert. Unlike games like Samurai Shodown 2, one does not need a moves list to experience The Last Blade. Oftentimes, I will turn on The Last Blade, grab a beer after a hard day, and just sit back and relax to the tranquil tunes and the fluid battles. Each combo links to the next combo and creates an effect of added speed and power. The music calms one’s nerves, while the speed and sound effects send one’s adrenaline soaring.

Inviting a friend to play The Last Blade will be no trouble. If the appeal of an old style Samurai game does not hook them, the ease of use will. Like Soul Calibur, all one really needs to do to pull off special moves and fatalities is mash a few buttons at random and half-circle the stick a bit.

Finally, the game runs fast on the NGCD hardware. I have played other 2d fighting games on the Dreamcast and the Playstation, and no other console game system runs fighting games this smooth (except for the arcades themselves and the AES).

For ease of use, combos, fast game play, and tight controls, The Last Blade stands apart from other fighting genres on the NGCD.

 

DARE YOU FIGHT, AGAIN?

The Last Blade contains a story mode, a short mode, a vs. mode, a survival mode, and a training mode. One can also unlock all four story scenes so that he or she may replay them at will. Also, one can unlock each character’s ending as well as other secrets to be played at any time. All of these items are stored in the system memory.

If those items do not excite the mind and entangle the heart, The Last Blade is also one of the most fun and entertaining games. If it is late at night and all I wish to do is relax, I put in The Last Blade. If I am tired of all my other games, I put in The Last Blade. If I ever desired to open my own arcade and I could only install one game, I would purchase The Last Blade. It is one of the most well-rounded, truly addicting, light-hearted, challenging games I have ever experienced.

Will I fight again? Absolutely, and with friends.

 

SOMETIMES, I MEDITATE BETWEEN LOADS

UNBEARABLE. I cannot imagine load times in a NGCD game getting worse (though it is possible). Let me break this down for you:

  1. Initial load

  2. Press start

  3. Load the character select screen

  4. Choose character

  5. Load the vs. screen

  6. Load the stage screen

  7. Load the game itself (50 seconds average)

  8. Fight pose

  9. Load yet again

  10. Play rounds

  11. Load ending sequence

  12. Start over

 

WILL YOU FOLLOW THE PATH…OF THE BLADE!

For an NGCD game, The Last Blade deserves a 9. There are few NGCD games that make me completely forget about the loading. When playing The Last Blade, in spite of the worst load times in a game, I honestly do not notice it.

I also think that most players will adjust to the loading. There are plenty of things to do while waiting with friends. One can drink a beverage, consult moves lists, and chat with his or her friends.

As well as a great party game, The Last Blade is fun in single player mode. There are plenty of items to unlock, and all of them are worth it. Even if I owned the AES game, I could not imagine giving up the unlockables in the CD version.

I recommend this game to everyone. It allows one to select many languages including English and Spanish and is very user friendly.

The Last Blade is the best blade there ever can be.

 

-Lesley

 


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