It’s the late 1800s, where the edge of swords is being replaced by the quick steel.
In the guise of a changing world, an elder attempts to resend an ancient evil alongside his three compatriots. Only to discover their abilities were for nought, the Bakumatsu era of Japan becomes a secret battlefield to halt or further the ancient evil from ascension to Earth. For us, it was the game SNK decided to let loose on the public after Samurai Spirits/Shodown and yet another prize winner in the stable of SNK’s boatload of fisticuffs. Where does this Neo Geo Pocket Color revitalisation stand?
The Last Blade harnesses both game’s rosters to an extent. Some hidden characters are also brought in. The aesthetics attempt to swing at the game’s prettier features, but it’s more chibi than the actual run. There are some variances on the ladder runs to the final boss, but mostly seems to be a fixed portion. Surprisingly, The Last Blade sports safety falls, two super gauge styles, and a lot of fighting game mechanics packed into two action buttons. Beyond The Destiny compensates for the arcade feel that it should, yet with several tweaks to the fight to ensure that the Neo Geo experience shines through. Mostly sombre than the other reproductions in terms of music, the last blade isn’t afraid to allow combatants to cut loose. The Last Blade has a versus, survival, story, and two other modes within the title in lieu of mini-games.
Each character hits different, with their own styles and fighting architectures.
With two gauges representing speed and power, the gameplay varies from faster combo heavy usages to higher damage inflictions. One cut Moriya would different from Yuki’s naginata blade usage and so on. Seven hidden characters and a gallery mode populate the game’s other features. Versus is still here and head-to-head, which is something no fighting game can do without.
There is a kink in the blades of The Last Blade. Again, another CodeGurus port without the taste of Wi-Fi is a bit baffling in these days. As faithful as the game is, the lack of online play throws a bit of a curveball into liking the classic. It’s still fun to delve into, but it feels as though this is meant for one console. In a world of Parsec, I’d expect better from this. The variation of the roster could have been better on the ladder. As much as I don’t mind a repetitive run, perhaps a bit more variety could suffice a more unpredictable run. Presentation aside, the manual pullout feels a bit daunting for a fighting game. Especially if you’re looking to see how to pull off specials.
The Last Blade: Beyond The Destiny is a testament to an old guard that SNK attempted to make onto handhelds. As Samurai Shodown would be the predecessor fighter to sport blades in the Pocket and console realm on this end, the Last Blade’s charm is invoked. As many of Neo Geo Pocket Color’s games are constantly compared to that of their masterpiece, SNK vs. Capcom, it’s nice to see witness the resurgence of another beloved SNK port.
Review code provided
Release Date: 29/10/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Arcade, Fighting
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop