One big important note before we begin -- don't get the UMD version of this game unless it's super-cheap and you just want to play the first three games, or unless you plan to rip it to a memory card then re-sell it or put it on the shelf for display forever or something. There are reportedly terrible issues with loading times, like 30 to 45 seconds between matches in Shodown IV - VI, and the sound likes to get de-synced as well thanks to all the loading.

Now, if you plan on downloading it from PSN, or just pirating it like a Filthy Bagginses? It's great unless Samurai Shodown V is your favorite. That one mostly works, but I had it crash out to a black screen a couple of times, which the other games never did. Plus, it also still has loading times between matches ... only three to five seconds with no UMD, but it's still the only one of the group to actually constantly have loading screens pop up.

As with most anthologies, we won't be doing individual reviews of each game here. These do appear to be pretty straightforward emulations of the arcade/home Neo-Geo console games (down to VICTOLY and all the other notorious translation errors), so here's links to our reviews for the first four arcade games:

Samurai Shodown

Samurai Shodown 2

Samurai Shodown 3

Samurai Shodown 4

The first four here might actually be the preferred versions as they do add a training mode and eight selectable difficulty levels. Accessibility to newcomers was always a problem with SNK arcade games, but especially with Samurai Shodown as matches can end so quickly with just one perfectly-timed power strike.

As mentioned, when playing from a memory card, Shodown V is the only one that suffers from minor but noticable load times and seems like a downgrade from the arcade original. That, and crashing out twice out of four play sessions after a few matches, when none of the other games on the anthology did that. It just seems like they botched this one particular port for some reason. Oh well, I very quickly got frustrated with it anyway as it throws you up against this sub-boss named Sankuro who is like the cheapest motherfucker of all time. He has this goon squad that he can call onto the screen for assists in Marvel vs Capcom style, but for some reason he gets to do this AS HE'S GETTING HIT, meaning you can't really hit him without getting an automatic counter-hit that is probably going to be even harder. I couldn't get past him without cranking down the difficulty and spamming that equally cheesy archer chick who just shoots projectiles across the screen like Samus all day.

Shodown VI had a second or two of loading at either end of the battle, but hidden behind animations without an obtrusive "Loading..." screen like in V. It seems competently emulated but it's the most MUGEN-y of the whole series and just seems like the original talent had mostly left the series by that point and they were cranking it out for the cash. I mean, when you start the game with a nun shoving her unrealistic tits in my face, I have to assume you're trying to distract me from something. The huge roster is nice but the nonsense story segments are baffling and have a translation that's awful even by SNK standards ... bah I said I wasn't going to review individual games here, right right right.

So if you want portable Shodown I-IV on your Vita or PSP (or VI if you're freaky like that), don't mind that V is unplayable because it could crash on you at any time, and don't mind playing entirely from a memory card, then yeah, this works well enough I guess. I'd like to have seen more goodies added other than just a basic art gallery, though I do like being able to listen to all the different music from the games conveniently off of one menu.
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