SNK’s go-to business practice these days is to release its extensive Neo Geo library on any system that will take it for a few bucks a title. Back in the day, having an arcade-perfect Fatal Fury game at your fingertips would cost you a couple of hundred dollars. Now you can get pretty much any of them for no more than $8 if there isn’t a sale going on. God bless them for it because what a collection of games.
The Samurai Shodown series is one of SNK’s former tentpoles that fell to the wayside for years despite having a healthy amount of releases. When SNK got back in the modern fighting game groove with King of Fighters XIV in 2016, it paved the way for the release of 2019’s Samurai Shodown, which is still getting DLC updates as of this writing. SNK is now releasing a big compilation.
Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection will be released on June 18 on Steam. The game will hit the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on July 28.
This collection is very reminiscent of Capcom’s Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, but with its own special selling point: the first ever release of Samurai Shodown V Perfect.
As the name suggests, this release collects the Samurai Shodown games specifically releases for Neo Geo hardware. It’s not going to include every single Samurai Shodown game, and it’s missing titles like Warriors Rage, the 2019 Samurai Shodown, the handheld releases, and even Samurai Shodown VI (which was in the classic sprite style, but not on Neo Geo hardware).
Neo Geo’s life spanned 1990 to 2004 and with it came Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown II, Samurai Shodown III: Blades of Blood, Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa’s Revenge, Samurai Shodown V, and Samurai Shodown V Special. Special was released in mid-2004 and was, for many years, considered to be the absolute final game released in the Neo Geo library.
But there is another.
This Twitter thread by Brandon Sheffield goes into more detail, but the short version is that after Samurai Shodown V Special came out, a small group of people from that dev team decided to put together yet another upgrade installment. They fixed some balance issues, tossed in some new story content, and so on. They even completed the game! There’s just one big problem…
They never told their SNK bosses about it!
The game got as far as being released in an arcade testing location for just a couple of hours until the higher ups found out about it and had it yanked and thrown into the SNK vault. This was 2005 and by this point, SNK was straight up done with releasing games on Neo Geo software.
And now, much like Christopher Walken giving an unsanitary gold watch to a young Bruce Willis, SNK is giving us the last true game for its legendary hardware.
There’s other neat stuff in the collection. There’s online play for what seems like all seven games. There’s a vast museum filled with series info, tons of art, soundtrack stuff, and even video interviews with the developers. Basically, all the things you should have in a collection like this.
If you’re planning to play the game on PC, the Epic Games Store will have Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection available for free for an entire week starting on June 11. That’s a whole week before it hits Steam and more than a month before it hits consoles.