Samurai Shodown IV/FAQ

From Dream Cancel Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


What kind of game is Samurai Shodown IV?

Samurai Shodown IV is considered by many to be the high point of the Samurai Shodown series alongside Samsho V Special. Owing to this are its fast gameplay, diverse roster, and unique combo system - one of, if not the deepest combo systems in the entire series. SNK developed it with the intention of fixing many of Samurai Shodown III's issues, though with it came many other issues presented. It's a very flashy, combo heavy Samsho game with a high focus on its combo system and heavy emphasis on very fast movement to create a uniquely stylized take on the high risk, high reward essence of the series. Like Samsho 3, it brings the Slash and Bust system where each character has two variants of themselves with different moves and playstyles, making a 17-character roster effectively a 34-character roster. With it came the highlight of Samsho 4 - the CD combo system, or SCS (Samurai Continuous Slash; or Samurai Combo System). It even introduced many mechanics later found in the likes of Samsho 5, such as pursuits, honorable deaths, Issen, fatality type finishers, and much more.

Samsho 4, while still retaining elements of classic Samurai Shodown games such as strong emphasis on spacing, movement and high single hit damage, includes an updated rendition of Samsho 3’s combo system that rewards capitalizing on openings and striking from behind. Along with this, grab speeds were increased, allowing for more traditionally offense-oriented gameplay. The overall flow of matches is generally comparable to Samsho 3, with combos taking center stage and offense being rewarded more highly than in your typical Samsho game. As stated, this brings its own set of issues. The combo system being as deep as it is mechanically, while simultaneously bringing in mechanics from 3 and fixing many of the issues 3 had, there are still several ways in which infinites can be performed, and other exploits to cheat the system that allows for them to exist. That said, many infinites are impractical, and usually locked behind tight links or in some cases, pretty demanding execution requirements. Generally, they're impractical either because of the awkward requirements needed to set them up, or because of the low damage they deal taking several loops just to finish them that it's ultimately more optimal to finish it after at most one loop. On top of that, the combo counter lies to you which makes it difficult to actually gauge when the combo is real or not. Infinites are just a byproduct of unique design quirks in characters and their ability to utilize the CD system, but are not the focus of the game.

The combo system allows for so much more including unique death combos and combo creativity that combined with all the other mechanics on offer, makes Samsho 4 a system mastery game that rewards your offensive risk taking. The better you can utilize the system, the better as a player you'll perform. If you’re a fan of Samurai Shodown, and are curious to see how the franchise evolved over the years or just want a taste of something different from your usual fare, then this game might just be for you. It had the misfortune of being released at the worst possible time (1996, the same year King of Fighters 96 released), being released before the Hyper NeoGeo 64 (where SNK had attempted to use Samsho as the flagship series), and perhaps worst of all, being sandwiched between Samshos 3 and 5. However, it remains a very unique game in its own right that, while it might take some getting used to, can provide a unique itch to the series you may not have realized you needed to scratch.

What's the deal with Zankuro and Cham Cham?

You may see mention of Zankuro and Cham Cham as playable characters in Samsho 4. This is true, to an extent. Zankuro is only playable via the NeoGeo CD and PlayStation 1 versions of Samsho 4, whereas Cham Cham is exclusive to the PS1 version. Technically, you can also play as Zankuro through cheats or rom hacks of Samsho 4 as well, but it's nothing more than a standard boss hack at that point. Zankuro has no variation between Slash and Bust, just like Samsho 3, whereas Cham Cham does. Slash Cham Cham is as she appears in Samsho 2, with Bust Cham Cham turning into a rekka character. Seeing as no one plays the PS1 version with its several downsides, this wiki for the most part ignores anything related to Cham Cham. Not to mention, it wasn't until recently that Duckstation has given PS1 games rollback that playing the PS1 version wasn't very viable, either, when NeoGeo already had rollback. Supposedly, though, Cham Cham is a mid-tier character with Slash being slightly better.

As for Zankuro, you can basically imagine him as his Samsho V Special counterpart but with none of the downsides. In other words, a textbook definition of a boss character. Ignoring the fact that he is not at all selectable normally through the NeoGeo version of the game, he does huge damage with simple strikes and CD combos. If you desire, you can play the boss hack which unlocks him via Fightcade, but he is in no way a tournament standard character, and if he were, would likely be banned.


What version is most played?

There's a few ports of Samurai Shodown 4, but ultimately the original NeoGeo arcade release is what's most played, via Fightcade 2. The Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection is the second best choice, but it still has its own issues of note, namely no training mode. Below is a list of each version and their pros and cons.

NeoGeo MVS:

NeoGeo AES:

NeoGeo CD:

Sega Saturn:

PlayStation 1:


Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection:


What does the tier list look like?

Ponnsyabu02's tier list with explanations can be found here. Dated 1st September, 2019. Note that Zankuro is not selectable on NeoGeo, therefore he is not ranked nor tourney legal. Arguably the most accurate character ranking of Samsho 4.

  • S: Slash Nakoruru, Slash Hanzo, Bust Haohmaru, Slash Galford
  • A: Bust Nakoruru, Bust Hanzo, Slash Charlotte, Bust Genjuro, Slash Genjuro, Bust Sogetsu
  • B: Bust Ukyo, Slash Sogetsu, Slash Haohmaru, Slash Tam Tam, Bust Galford, Bust Charlotte
  • C: Slash Gaira, Slash Jubei, Bust Jubei, Bust Tam Tam, Slash Kyoshiro, Bust Shizumaru
  • D: Bust Kazuki, Slash Rimururu, Bust Rimururu, Bust Gaira, Bust Amakusa
  • E: Slash Ukyo, Bust Kyoshiro, Slash Shizumaru, Slash Kazuki, Bust Basara
  • F: Slash Amakusa, Slash Basara

Ponnsyabu02's site also contains an older tier list dated 2001, 22nd February with explanations, though the rankings aren't too much different.

Old Tier List copied from SuperCombo Wiki (source: Japanese Shinansyo full SS4 Guide); un-verifiable source and with very questionable character placements. Most likely of no real value, but documenting for archival purposes.

  • Banned: Zankuro
  • Top: Nakoruru(Slash), Sogetsu(Bust), Genjuro(Bust), Sogetsu(Slash), Hanzo(Slash), Haohmaru(Bust)
  • High: Genjuro(Slash), Galford(Bust), Haohmaru(Slash), Hanzo(Bust), Nakoruru(Bust)
  • Mid: Gaira(Slash), Galford(Slash), Cham Cham(Bust), Ukyo(Bust), Charlotte(Bust), Cham Cham(Slash), Amakusa(Bust)
  • Low: Charlotte(Slash), Shizumuru(Bust), Jubei(Bust), Jubei(Slash), Tam Tam(Bust), Basara(Slash), Kazuki(Bust)
  • Bottom: Amakusa(Slash), Kazuki(Slash), Ukyo(Slash), Gaira(Bust), Shizumura(Slash), Rimururu(Bust), Kyoshiro(Slash), Tam Tam(Slash), Kyoshiro(Bust), Basara(Bust), Rimururu(Slash)
Samurai Shodown IV