Samurai Western

Moby ID: 18192

Description official description

Samurai Gojiro Kiryuu comes to the American West in search of his brother. His journey takes him to a corrupt town ruled by a sinister land baron named Goldberg. Though Gojiro isn't interested in righting wrongs, he is soon caught up in the town's problems: killing highway robbers, protecting a woman from would-be rapists, and thwarting Goldberg's machinations. Focused on destroying Gojiro, Goldberg unleashes an endless stream of minions... all fodder for Gojiro's blade. But Goldberg has an ace up his sleeve...

Samurai Western is a third-person action game. Gojiro's blade is more than a match for Old West weaponry as he can ably deflect or sidestep bullets. As Gojiro completes levels, he upgrades his skills, unlocks new swords and stances, and adds Western accessories to his wardrobe. Primarily a single-player game, Samurai Western has a two player co-op mode and unlockable characters for both modes.

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160 People (142 developers, 18 thanks) · View all

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Critics

Average score: 60% (based on 22 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 8 ratings with 2 reviews)

Dull, repetitious game that would make any Samurai hang up his sword and become a Salaryman.

The Good
Gojiro Kiryu, the samurai of Samurai Western, comes to the American frontier town of Cactus Gulch in search of his brother, Raddo. Cactus Gulch is run by a ruthless land baron named Goldberg and policed more by Goldberg's henchmen than by the fat sheriff Donald. In his attempt to build a utopia, Goldberg has captured people from nearby towns and sent them to work in his mines. Sadly, the connection between utopia and mining is just one of Samurai Western's undeveloped areas. Anyway, Raddo is now calling himself Rando and he seems to be working for Goldberg, paving the way for a Samurai Showdown in the Old West.

This third-person action game has a good concept. It's a terrible game, but the core concept is interesting. I think Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman (which I've never played) is probably the closest gaming comparison; usually the Eastern Western draws on Chinese traditions (Kung Fu or Shanghai Noon). Samurai Western has an interesting setup, asking whether a Samurai's blade can stand against hordes of gunmen and what it means to be a Samurai (or Mr. Sam Rye). The answer to the latter is yes and the answer to the former is the game's only real strength in terms of story.

Not only can a sword stand up to a gun, but it can stand up to dozens of guns including shotguns and Gatling Guns. Gojiro can dodge or deflect bullets with a well-timed button tap. Of course you could play the entire game by dodging your way through (doing an odd sort of dance), but if you time your dodges, Gojiro moves faster and has a stronger attack. The more Gojiro uses his sword, the better it becomes increasing some of his attributes. Gojiro also unlocks more swords as he completes levels, each one having different strengths, stances, and uses. Some swords are made for muscling through enemies while others are lighter allowing double jumping.

Gojiro's main sword attacks can be linked into combinations. He can also perform jumping attacks or unleash a powerful sweeping attack by holding down the attack button instead of mashing. Killing enemies and gathering power-ups fills Gojiro's Master meter. When the meter gets to certain levels, Gojiro can launch more powerful attacks and, when the meter fills completely, Gojiro can enter master mode—being temporarily invulnerable and killing with a single sword stroke.

Adding a bit of an RPG element, Gojiro gains experience during stages and increases his level and attributes. Gojiro's main attributes are Life, Magic, Power, and Defense. These are increased by spending points on them, the choice of sword, and accessories. A walkthrough indicates that Gojiro is capped at level 99 which would require a great deal of interest to reach. On my playthrough, I ended at level 33, ejected the disk, wiped the memory card, and salted my PS2.

Every level sees Gojiro fighting against numberless hordes of enemies. Based on the time it took to complete the level, the amount of damage Gojiro takes, the difficulty of the level, and some other factors, Gojiro can unlock accessories. Some of the accessories make sense (like a Good Guy Hat or Lasso) and some are odd (like an Afro or a Monkey). These accessories improve some attributes while lowering others and Gojiro has a weight limit he must watch. Gojiro can also unlock other playable characters and extra levels.

The 16 main levels of the game are single-player levels with a two-player co-op option. Player Two can join in at anytime by pressing the start button and selecting an available character and their weapon. Unlike most co-op presentations, this does not trigger a split-screen or change the Player One-centric camera mode. Player Two must stay within Player One's field of vision. If Player Two dies, the level ends for both players.

At sixteen levels, Samurai Western sounds like a lengthy game, but it can be beaten in five hours. Finishing the game the first time unlocks a higher level of difficulty and a six-stage Survival mode. Up to five extra story levels can be unlocked during regular game play.

**The Bad**
Samurai Western begins when Gojiro is accosted by thugs while he's walking through Cactus Gulch. As quickly as he can kill them, new gunmen spawn shouting the same three lines of dialogue. Eventually, Gojiro a) kills the last one, b) has killed enough of them, or c) has killed for long enough and the level ends. Next he goes to the Saloon where he's accosted by a black Frenchman named Jean who unleashes a host of gunmen on Gojiro. As quickly as he can kill them, new gunmen spawn shouting the same three lines of dialogue. Eventually, Gojiro a) kills the last one, b) has killed enough of them, or c) has killed for long enough and the level ends. Then Gojiro returns to the streets of Cactus Gulch where he's accosted by Jean who waxes poetic about combat and wine before unleashing a host of gunmen on Gojiro. At some point, a boss battle begins between Gojiro and Jean with the host of gunmen continually warping in. Eventually this level ends, too. Although Samurai Western has sixteen levels, it only has seven areas. By the time you’ve completely smashed up the Saloon for the third time you have to wonder why the busty Claudia bothers keeping the place open. It’s obvious that her money is going towards replacing the dozens of smashed chairs and tables rather than clothes that fit her. Bigger mysteries abound. Goldberg must have something supernatural up his sleeve. Evil dwarves lurk in his mine, sinister “Faceless” gunmen rejoice in their own demise, and he is able to transport hundreds of gunmen to fight you. None of this is dealt with. I’m not even sure why one of the villainous leads has pointed ears. Spock, is that you? Speaking of the bad guys, Samurai Western has a dearth of character models, with emphasis on the weapon, not the man. There’s the shotgun guy, the six-shooter guy, the guy that looks like the Witch of the Waste’s henchman, the knife guy, the Tommy Gun guy, and the vile bombing freak who looks like a lobber out of Gauntlet. If you play this (pleasedont), you’ll grow to loathe these deformed imps who are the only real threat in the game. Luckily, the bad guys damage themselves as much as they try to hurt Gojiro. One boss battle ended almost instantly as the bombers took out Goldberg’s man instead of the samurai. Even with the repetition of levels, even with the repetition of enemies literally popping into existence right in front of me, I probably wouldn’t have hated this game if it weren’t for the repetitious nature of the game play. From start to finish the mission objectives are: kill the henchmen and kill the boss, if there is one. One of the screenshots released by Atlus shows the makings of a high noon draw. In reality, this is just the co-op characters back-to-back. Red Dead Revolver was far from great, but at least it had variety and did something with the source material. One of the few design elements that impressed me was having Gojiro and Rando speak Japanese with English subtitles. That’s the big draw in terms of audio. The score is an uncomfortable blend of Asian music cues mixed with Western themes with some rock riffs thrown into the mix. Voice acting is fine, but how well can you do with lines like, “Thanks, Mr. Sam Rye,” or, “Now I’m a samurai sheriff.” In terms of graphics, Samurai Western seems to have traded quality for quantity. The game puts a lot of characters on the screen, but they have no depth or weight. They bounce around, hovering on rails or wherever else they’ve spawned. The backgrounds are flat, with very little detail. There’s nothing to explore and anything that’s destructible pops back into existence. Cutscenes using the game’s engine are crude, with Gojiro unable to even sheath his sword smoothly.

**The Bottom Line**
Samurai Western might not have seemed so egregious if it was presented as a side-scrolling platformer. That’s how it feels anyway. There’s no skill required for fighting, no depth to the environment, and little variation in levels. In terms of third-person action games set in a 3D environment it feels like an artifact from an alternate timeline where Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider never existed. Following Red Dead Revolver, Blood Will Tell (or any other Samurai game), this game simply dishonors its heritage. The developers should expect an unholy smackdown from Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone in the afterlife.

PlayStation 2 · by Terrence Bosky (5375) · 2005

What a corny game...makes Matrix look bad though...

The Good
Well, I understand the concept...sword versus gun. In this game, let's make the sword win and see what happens. Although apparently no one in the game understands the laws of physics and were to intrigued with the Matrix movie, made this game downright corny.

You have this "average" samurai stuck in the middle of Marlboro country. Guess what this dude carries a sword and is killing numerous cowboys. What's corny is that NOT ONLY can this samurai bloke dodge bullets, he can also DEFLECT the bullets with his sword (in the intro cutscene, he literally cut bullets in half). Well it's fun, but pigs could fly and I doubt they made a game about flying pigs yet.

But since it's a game, you basically could dang well make any dang plot you want. But the thing about "realism" at least as fiction goes, this samurai is just another John Doe. He's not a super-human samurai, or a divinely entity in the form of a low-life samurai, he's just a samurai that can "casually dodge and deflect bullets like their flies". The dudes in the "Plot Department" should be fired for being quacks.

But regardless, it is fun as hell looking at your samurai moving faster than the wind and dodging bullets. Thankfully the sound of cowboys dying by the sword was very nice in a squishy way so you probably wouldn't get bored in the first several hours.

The game did introduce some features that I wished would be applied to every dang RPG in existence. This refers to skill-based items. The more you use a sword, the higher your skill with that blade, thus increasing your stats. There are a lot of swords, so you can experiment the pros and cons of different blades.

One funny feature in the game was the "Accessory Dress-up". You can visually change the appearance of items you get throughout the game. You can rotate, move or even alter the size of items you can wear. I wanted to make my samurai a little cool, with his cow-boy hat, but somehow made that hat as big cart-wheel. Which is somewhat fun seeing your character, half as an overgrown hat running around. This was probably meant as a humorous game than a serious one. Dry humor, but humor nevertheless.

The Bad
Well this was probably the quickest game I've ever finished. Took me several hours but I successfully defeated the final boss. Ended in level 30-something. Surprisingly, the game stated I only unlocked 35% of the game. It sounded intriguing but I lost interest since there isn't much game play to the game. All you do in the game is dodge and attack. Slash here, slash there, dead here, dead there. Repetitive at its fullest.

The items you get suck big time. Different swords were nice, but a lot of the items you get are junk: Afro (what's an Afro wig doing in this game?), parrot, etc. I have 3 different Right-foot boots but no left-foot boots. Funny but irritating at the same time.

Eventually, you'll probably get bored really fast. Won't be expecting a sequel, that's for sure.

The Bottom Line
Interesting, ironically speaking.

PlayStation 2 · by Indra was here (20633) · 2006

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  • MobyGames ID: 18192

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Game added by Terrence Bosky.

Additional contributors: Sciere.

Game added June 22nd, 2005. Last modified September 2nd, 2023.