Samurai Shodown V Special (known in Japan as Samurai Spirits Zero Special) is a 2D historical-fantasy weapon-based fighting game developed by Yuki and released by SNK Playmore for arcades (using Neo Geo MVS hardware) exclusively in Japan on April 22, 2004, with a worldwide Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System release on July 9, 2004.
A revision of the series' fifth main installment, Samurai Shodown V Special is known as the last official game released for the Neo Geo hardware. Along with minor changes (such as tweaked commands for certain abilities), the game adds the final bosses from all main games as playable characters (Amakusa, Mizuki, Zankuro, and Gaoh), while removing two mid-bosses (Sankuro and Yumeji) and introducing new fatality effects (including a new special move, the Zetsumei Ougi, which can finish off opponents mid-battle).
Due to the intensity of the overall amount of fatality effects, the game was censored for its home Neo Geo AES release. Because these changes added new glitches to the game, SNK Playmore issued a recall and allowed players to trade their cartridges back for an updated bug-fixed version. It is the only game in the series not to be released for other home consoles near the time of its release.
An updated version of the game, known as Samurai Spirits Zero Special Kanzen-han, received a limited location test during the development of Samurai Shodown VI. Also known as Samurai Shodown V Perfect, this version includes some gameplay fixes and rebalances along with new story cutscenes and minor censorship of the fatality effects. It was said during later interviews that this version was developed and tested without SNK Playmore's knowledge, and it was quickly pulled from testing and cancelled once they found out. Originally believed to be lost, it was later re-discovered and included in the 2020 compilation Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection, followed by its own dedicated arcade release in 2022 (by Team EXA-AM1 as part of the PC-based exA-Arcadia platform). The exA version features pillarbox artwork by Shiroh Ohno, as well as the restored fatality effects.
Ports & Releases
Although the game was not ported to consoles at the time, nor was it included in the Samurai Shodown Anthology compilation, it later received multiple separate digital releases:
- It was included in some Humble NEO GEO Bundles starting in late 2015, later sold separately. This version, developed by DotEmu, is both downloadable (DRM-free, with ROMs included) for the PC, Mac, and Linux and playable on modern browsers.
- It was released for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on September 12, 2017, with a later PC (Steam) release on June 18, 2019. Developed by Code Mystics, this version features online multiplayer. The PS4 version also received a limited-edition physical release by Limited Run Games, featuring a replica "shockbox" (Neo Geo AES game box), a miniature replica of the Neo Geo AES cartridge, and bonus artwork (in both cards and a reversible poster).
- It was also released as part of HAMSTER's ACA NeoGeo series for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch on April 18, 2019, with a PC (Windows Store) release on December 20, 2019.
- It was included in the 2020 Digital Eclipse compilation Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. It also features online multiplayer, although it is incompatible with the other PC release.
- Yoshitora Tokugawa
- Mina Majikina
- Liu Yunfei
- Hanzo Hattori
- Ukyo Tachibana
- Jubei Yagyu
- Kyoshiro Senryo
- Tam Tam
- Genjuro Kibagami
- Shizumaru Hisame
- Gaira Caffeine
- Kazuki Kazama
- Sogetsu Kazama
- Rasetsumaru (based on Haohmaru's alternate moveset from previous games)
- Rera (based on Nakoruru's alternate moveset from previous games)
- Enja (based on Kazuki's alternate moveset from previous games)
- Suija (based on Sogetsu's alternate moveset from previous games)
- Amakusa Shiro (boss)
- Zankuro Minazuki (boss, can only be fought against by performing a fatality on Amakusa)
- Gaoh (boss, can only be fought against by performing a fatality on Zankuro)
- Mizuki Rashoujin (final boss, can only be fought against by performing a fatality on Gaoh)