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The first Samurai Shodown game from SNK started what would become one of the most famous series of 2D weapons-based fighters. Released in 1993, Samurai Shodown shows evident influences from Capcom's Street Fighter II while presenting a gameplay model of its own. Samurai Shodown is also known as Samurai Spirits in Japan.
Players can choose from twelve fighters, each armed with a melee weapon of some sort. These weapons range from the traditional Japanese katana to more exotic weapons like Kyoshiro Senryo's naginata. Characters start each round armed, but can lose their weapons during the course of a fight through weapon clashes or disarming techniques.
If a fighter is disarmed, he or she can still resort to punching and kicking as well as some unarmed-only special techniques. A weapon that has been disarmed will partially embed itself in the ground; its owner can pick it up again by standing next to it and pressing an attack button. It's also possible for a character to have his or her weapon broken through a weapon clash. In that case, the weaponless character must fight on using only unarmed techniques.
Players begin fights with an empty power meter and a full health meter. As characters take damage or block attacks, their power meters charge up. When the power meter is fully charged, a fighter can do significantly more damage with his or her attacks. If a fighter's health bar is depleted, he or she loses the round. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide