Soul of the Samurai
   Japan. Samurai Legend. Shogun Assassins. Soul of the Samurai. A succesful series taking place in Japan? Not quite -- these are all different names for one game. After its bout of schizophrenia, Konami seems to have finally settled on one name, Soul of the Samurai, and is now preparing for the title's release in August.
Rendered backgrounds

   As in almost every adventure game, you have the choice between two characters, one male and one female. Don't expect to find any cops or SWAT team members here; Soul of the Samurai is set in the Edo period of Japanese history, and your two protagonists are a samurai, Kotaro Hiba, and a ninja, Lin. Having recently returned to his hometown, Kotaro is seeking revenge from those who desecrated his parents' graves, while Lin, a member of the Shogun's secret police, investigating the disappearance of her brother in the same town. Both characters eventually find themselves on the trail of Kizumi Danmasa, an evil lord plotting against the Shogun, and the complex storyline Konami promises is set into motion.

You fight like a cow!

   The character you don't pick doesn't disappear; he or she will appear from time to time throughout the game's six areas to lend advice or otherwise join the action. In a first for the genre, you'll also encounter townspeople wandering around; killing these innocent bystanders is a big no-no. Fear not, however, for you'll face plenty of enemies as well. For those times, both characters can select from a variety of swords and around 40 special attacks, gained with experience, to use with those swords. A small box in the lower-right corner seems to be used to hold other special items, and magic will be available later in the game as well.

   Soul of the Samurai's fresh concepts seem promising, but the execution will determine whether or not it can stand up against the numerous other adventure titles on the way. With Capcom's similarly-themed Onimusha also in development, Soul of the Samurai has its work cut out for it -- but Konami's track record in the genre, including Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill, indicates that they're more than up to the challenge.

Preview by Fritz Fraundorf, GIA.
Soul of the Samurai
Developer Konami
Publisher Konami
Genre Adventure
Medium CD (1)
Platform Sony PlayStation
Release Date  04.28.99
E3: Soul of the Samurai impressions
6 assorted E3 shots
Rendered art / Sword gallery
U.S. and Japanese box art