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Not everyone can be a Samurai warrior. Not everyone can live by the power of the sword! Not everyone can die with honor.
—Blacksmith, U.S. TV ad for Bushido Blade.
Both games were released for the Playstation. Bushido Blade was released in 1997 and its sequel Bushido Blade 2 was released in 1998.
The games' plot focuses on two rivaling schools: the Narukagami (good guys) and the Shainto (bad guys). The Narukagami has its own dojo, the Meikyokan, and a secret assassin team known as Kage. The first game deals with Tatsumi's attempt to leave the Kage after its leader became insane due to a cursed sword. The second game starts with the Shainto's raid of the Meikyokan in an attempt to recover said sword, and then use it to end their enemies once and for all.
These games differ from traditional Fighting Games in many ways. A quick list; no life gauges (a well-placed attack can be a One-Hit Kill!), ability to injure (slashing an arm or a leg cripples the opponent), everyone has a real weapon (mostly melee, but a few characters use guns) and use them fairly realistically, easy to use simple specials that are typically just a different type of attack (stabbing as opposed to slashing), and other more realistic features that are rare in the genre.
After its second game, arguments between developer Sunsoft and Square Enix ended in the franchise's demise. A pity.
Not related to the 1981 film of the same name.
- Anachronism Stew: The game is actually set in the modern day, so the anachronism isn't the guy with the gun on the helipad: it's that you're fighting him with a sword while dressing like you came out of the Edo period.
- Arbitrary Gun Power: Averted; a single shot to the torso will almost always put you down, through if you're lucky and get winged in a limb instead you can survive.
- BFS: A nodachi and broadsword are among the pool of weapons available to your characters.
- Blade on a Stick: The naginata in both games, and the yari on the sequel.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted with the gunslingers. To balance out their limitless range and power, they need to reload every 6 shots.
- Camp Gay: Katze, what with his high-pitched voice, mannerism and rather pintoresque choice of wardrobe.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Mikado's sensei, Kannagisai, is mentioned on the first game's worst ending. In the sequel, he's the Final Boss (the one that counts) of the Shainto story side. The "Last Kagami" girl also appears in the first game, in the select screen and without any plot relevance.
- Eye Open: Happens when you continue after being killed.
- Face Heel Turn: As noted above, Hanzaki in the first game. Black Lotus sorta as well, when he changes allegiances to the Shainto under a new identity, Highwayman.
- A Handful for an Eye: You can do this in both games by using the subweapon button without any subweapon. In the first game though, this was considered dishonorable.
- In a Single Bound: A somewhat subdued version: no character can jump higher than their own height, and heavy weapons reduce this considerably.
- Lady in Red: Red Shadow. Her name could even be a reference to this trope.
- MacGuffin: The Yugiri sword on both games. An Ancestral Weapon of the Shainto's ancestors, stolen by the Narukagami's ancestors. It's also believed to be an Evil Weapon that sends Hanzaki into madness in the first game. The main objective of the Shainto in Bushido Blade 2 is to recover it.
- Marathon Level: Slash Mode in both games.
- McNinja: Red Shadow is a Russian ex ninja, while Black Lotus is an Irish one.
- Miko: Mikado.
- Multi Mook Melee: "Slash" Mode, renamed "Chambara" Mode in the sequel. How fast can you take down 100 Mooks with just your trusty katana before getting killed?
- Multiple Endings: The first game has a different ending depending on how well you upheld the Code of Bushido, as explained above. The sequel has 2 endings for the Shainto-side characters, which depends on whether you kill or spare the last descendant of the Kagami.
- Ninja: Red Shadow/Hotarubi. Night Stalker joins her in Bushido Blade 2.
- One-Hit Kill: An inherent part of the combat system.
- Professional Killer: Katze has been contracted in both games to kill the main guys.
- Royal Rapier: A selectable weapon in the first, and Highwayman's subweapon in the second.
- Samurai: The majority of the playable cast.
- Ronin: Matsumushi.
- Secret Character: Katze (both games) and Tsubame (second only). The second also has two nameless kabuki-themed characters to unlock.
- Shows Damage: In the story mode, after each fight, areas that were injured will be if you continue after being killed, areas injured prior to your defeat will be bloodied or bandaged.
- Single-Stroke Battle: A very possible scenario in any battle if one can get in a well-placed clean strike on the enemy. See One-Hit Kill above.
- Spiritual Successor: The Kengo series of games for the PlayStation 2.
- Stance System: A central part of the game system. Each character has the same moves in each stance, only varying in their speed and power. The first game has three different stances to choose from, while the sequel included a few extra stances like sheathed and Dual-Wielding.
- Subsystem Damage: One of the game's unique features. Arms and legs can incapacitated in the first game, while the second only retained arm incapacitation. A broken arm would lead to weaker striking force and defense, a broken leg would force the player to "crawl-fighting".
- Too Good to Last: Thanks to Executive Meddling, there will be no Bushido Blade 3.
- True Companions: Tatsumi, Kannuki and Mikado seems to be very close. This is specially noticeable in their Bushido Blade 2 endings.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Black Lotus is clearly distraught with having to kill female combatants.
- Awesome but Impractical/Joke Item: The sledgehammer is a good weapon to use for incapacitating your enemies, but good luck actually killing anyone with it. Since it's not a bladed weapon, you can't get away with simply slashing or stabbing them. The game treats blunt attacks as non-lethal hits for the most part, so only a very specific blow to the enemy's head will actually kill them.
- Driven to Suicide: Black Lotus in his ending.
- Drop the Hammer: The sledgehammer, which was only available in the first game.
- Guide Dang It: Getting the best ending in the first game seems Nintendo Hard because of the stringent honor requirements that you aren't told about. But it turns out that one element that you would think is part of the honor rules isn't: You are allowed to run away from opponents. The stages are not separate, but form a connected chain, and if you simply enter the next stage without killing your current opponent, they will simply follow you and no new opponent spawns. By crippling your first opponent's leg, you can easily run all the way to the well, where you face the final boss. So you can get the best ending by handicapping yourself against every opponent... or by simply running away and avoiding most of them.
- There is a "clue" in the explanation for the story mode: the premise of the story mode is that your character is trying to escape, and the other characters — your friends — have been sent to assassinate you. So the logic seems to be that you get the best ending by actually escaping, while sticking around to kill all your friends is dishonorable. But while there's some sense to be made, it's still a major case of this trope.
- Honor Before Reason: It's a gameplay element in the form of the Bushido Code. Acting dishonorably results in a Nonstandard Game Over.
- The Man Behind the Man: Kindachi is hinted to be the one behind the Big Bad's Face Heel Turn.
- Nintendo Hard: It's nigh impossible to get the good endings, both because you can't get hit once including non lethal hits, and you have to do a series of tasks the game never hints at.
- Old Master: Utsusemi, the oldest Narukagami-side character at 56, is the master for both Red Shadow and Tatsumi (as well as Mr. Exposition in the latter's case) and was the former leader of Kage before Hanzaki.
- Parental Substitute: Gengoro to Kaun, Utsusemi to Tatsumi.
- Press X to Die: In both games, there's the option to surrender by pressing Select. In the first game, you need to wait for your foe to finish you off, while the second activates a cutscene after a short time (allowing for some sneak hit if you attack before it kicks in).
- Promoted to Unlockable: Hongou, Sazanka and Tsubame were originally computer-controlled only characters in the first.
- Resignations Not Accepted: The Kage works with this code in the first game, which is what sets things into motion.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kannuki in the first game: he's out to get revenge for his hometown being slaughtered under Hanzaki's orders. Midway through, he realizes not everyone's involved and decides to just kill those that stand in his way.
- Talk to the Fist: The story mode let you stop your opponent in the middle of their Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner, though it counts as breaking Bushido.
- True Final Boss: After going through the needlessy hard Code of Honor handicaps unharmed, you get to fight each character's True Final Boss: Kindachi (Mikado, Utsusemi, Red Shadow), Kannuki (Black Lotus), Hongou (Tatsumi) and a severely wounded Black Lotus (Kannuki).
Bushido Blade 2
- An Axe to Grind: Hongou's subweapon is a handaxe.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Hiragi Taina, the Narukagami side's Final Boss, must be hit on the back to be killed. Attacking any other part results in a rebound due to his armor.
- Charlie Brown From Outta Town: Black Lotus, in his new persona as the rival Shainto "The Highwayman" in the sequel. Obviously, none of his former Narukagami allies are fooled for long.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Pretty much all Shainto-side characters do this in their endings.
- Domino Mask: Used by Highwayman to hide his true identity.
- The Dragon: Gengoro. Besides being utmost loyal to the Shainto and Taina, he's usually the one fought before him.
- Dual-Wielding: A few characters can dual-wield with a specific weapon and their subweapon.
- Feuding Families: The backstory for the second game states the ancestors of the Narukagami (Kagami) and Shainto (Sue) were feudal families under the same Daimyo, which after his fall entered in conflict, spawning a secret war for over 800 years.
- Funny Foreigner: In the sequel, Suminagashi, a large American that speaks broken Japanese in the original version (and broken English in the localization). Also Tony Umeda, a disco-styled half-African half-Japanese "black ninja" whose main goal is to create his own style... based on dancing moves. Lastly, there's "Highwayman" who dresses like the Phantom of the Opera, but has a thick Scots accent...
- Genki Girl: Jo.
- Iaijutsu Practitioner: Gengoro, Kaun, Tony and Utamaru makes use of the "sheathed" stance in the sequel.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: In the second game's ending for both Kannuki and Mikado, Tatsumi forces them to kill him, since after discovering his Shainto roots, he feels that the feud will never end until the last Shainto is death.
- Island Base: The Shainto's HQ.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Tatsumi, the Shainto leader Hiragi Taina is your father!
- Old Soldier: Isohachi, a World War II veteran.
- Ring Out: Implemented in a few stages. There are no Bottomless Pit though, so one can see the poor sap fall to his/her demise.
- Risk-Style Map: The story mode has one.
- The Rival: Hongou considers Tatsumi his rival after his defeat in the first game. Utamaru seems to consider Kaun his rival, even though they are on the same side.
- Seppuku: You can end a fight by giving up; this causes your character to commit seppuku. See Press X to Die above.
- She's a Man In Japan: Inverted case with Chihiro, who is clearly female in the Japanese script, but was given a male dub-actor and is referred to as a male with pronouns consistently in the English version.
- Shout-Out: Jo takes her Victory Pose from Cloud in Final Fantasy VII.
- The Siege: In the story mode, Shainto's forces has sprung an attack on the Narukagami's HQ believing their forces are reduced after the first game's ordeal.
- The Stoic: Kaun.
- Teleport Spam: Kannagisai. Every time the player strikes, he teleports out. The catch is that every teleport places him closer to the character, and leaves him vulnerable for a few seconds.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Certain characters have a sword subweapon that can be thrown and, on clean shots, One Hit Killing the enemy.
- Video Game Caring Potential/Video Game Cruelty Potential: What determines the ending of the Shainto characters.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Kaun.