Sword of the Samurai

aka: Sword of the Samurai: A Quest For Honor In Feudal Japan
Moby ID: 246
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Description official description

Sword of the Samurai simulates feudal leadership in 15th century Japan. Players take on the role of a young samurai warrior with a small kingdom. You and your neighbors vie for land and perform feats to win the favour of your lord, struggling to win the shogunate. Time will be spent managing the kingdom and wandering through feudal Japan; setting the scene for arcade sequences that determine your standing. Win the battle, gain land; beat the swordsman, gain honour.

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Credits (DOS version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 8 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 29 ratings with 6 reviews)

Comprehensive, yet simple and fun!

The Good
I enjoyed being rated on various aspects, such as the amount of land (and taxes), honor, generalship, and swordsmanship. The "honor" rating distinguishes and defines this excellent game: every move that you make will be judged, unless you're clever enough not to be caught red-handed!

The gameplay has enough variety to keep one interested: marrying the right woman, having sons to take over your legacy (and giving up your power at the right time so that a young heir can have enough time to continue), balancing diplomacy and intrigue among your rivals or allies in order to be the "best", raising taxes, practicing generalship and swordsmanship, defending villages, and battling against enemies in relatively simple wars.

The game's progression is logical, as you expand your focus from the tiny to all of Japan eventually by game's end.

The music and cut-scenes (or dialogues?) create a sensible and enjoyable environment. The atmosphere is pleasant, yet very tense and suspenseful.

The Bad
If there were a weak part, I would have to choose the sword fighting. Ironically, this is the section of the game that was created by Sid Meier! It succeeds in that it attempts to replicate the discipline and techniques of its era (such as balance and a rocking momentum), but, as a game, it doesn't work: you are limited to only three (or four) basic moves: left slash, right slash, powerful overhead slash, and blocking.

(Even so, this is a minor point, considering the game's age and these duels represent only a small portion of its strategy.)

Sometimes, the keys don't seem to respond quickly enough in the duels and the battle sequences.

The Bottom Line
Sword of the Samurai stands the test of time. I play it occasionally today! It balances action, strategy, and historical inspiration in an elegant way.

DOS · by M B (15) · 2002

Gettysburg meets Pirates

The Good
Very few people have seen this game, but it had a blend of both real-time combat (via troops moving in formation) and personal honor (go rescue your daugher singlehandedly from your opponent's castle. Do this and other game mechanics successfully, and you will slowly control all of Japan!

The Bad
The formation combat was a bit slow and not all that exciting.

The Bottom Line
Another of the great Sid Meier's triumphs, although not very well known.

DOS · by Tony Van (2804) · 1999

Pure Samurai Entertainment!

The Good
Deciding what kind of samurai will you be is great. Will a person of great personal honor, or will you assasinate and dishonor your rivals? I love the idea of getting married having children, and when your character becomes to old to continue, you take the role of your son.

The Bad
A complete lack of honor in the last section of the game. It seemed to be that the quickest to attack would become the winner.

The Bottom Line
Possibaly the greatest game of it's type, lightyears ahead of it's time. Enthralling and exciting, feels as if your creating history. Pure enjoyment on an EGA monitor.

DOS · by Righteous Fire (2) · 2000

[ View all 6 player reviews ]

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Justin Hall.

Linux, Macintosh, Windows added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: formercontrib.

Game added August 26th, 1999. Last modified August 21st, 2023.