SAMURAI SHODOWN 2 / SNK / Arcade
Samurai Shodown 2 essentially renders the first Samurai Shodown game pointless. It has all of the same characters minus Tam Tam, who was swapped out for his sister Cham Cham, and there are three new fighters added to the roster. It has pretty much all of the same art and music assets that the first game did, but the returning characters now have a few new animations. Unless you want to play as Tam Tam or watch the endings from that game, this one leaves very little reason to bother going back.
It's really a beautiful game, with motifs and design drawn from feudal Japanese legends. Nearly every character is drawn from some sort of mythical hero of the period, save for anachronistic Europeans Galford and Charlotte, and the completely inexplicable Earthquake. The art is sharp and colorful, and the traditional Japanese style music is great and a refreshing change of pace.
It's really quite a graceful and lovely game. The only major failing that it has is one common to SNK fighting games - the learning curve is ridiculously steep, and it takes a considerable investment of time and patience to become even basically competent. I used to enjoy this game when I had an arcade full of people at a similar low skill level to play against, but nowadays trying to solo it I find I really don't have the patience to get my ass kicked 100 times in a row by the near-perfect computer while I try to master a few basic moves. If you've got a high threshold for that sort of thing, however, you will likely enjoy the rich fighting system and atmosphere of this one.
* Gameplay Video