Samurai Shodown V SP/FAQ

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  • What is this game?
Samurai Shodown V Special is a 2D fighting game developed by SNK Playmore and Yuki Enterprise for the Neo Geo and released in arcades in 2004.
  • What makes this Special over the original Samurai Shodown V?
Special is a 'dream match' game, and effectively a balance patch over the original. All characters have been adjusted slightly, and system mechanics rebalanced. It also adds four playable characters: Amakusa, Zankuro, Gaoh, and Mizuki. Poppy was removed, though.
  • This was called something different in Japan?
In Japan, it's known as Samurai Spirits Zero SPECIAL (サムライスピリッツ零SPECIAL). Zero, as SS5 was a prequel to the rest of the series.
  • Is this game for me?

Do not play Samurai Shodown V Special if...

  • You prefer games with a faster pace.
  • You want to combo and blockstring all day.
  • You like games where there are concrete walls not based around reads.
  • You dislike short round timers.
  • You dislike having very heavy damage readily available if they read you correctly.
  • Random weird things happening due to insufficient playtesting bother you!

Do play if...

  • You want a fighter without worrying about combos or blockstrings.
  • You get a real kick out of spacing and movement games.
  • You like being able to get huge damage off of a good read.
  • You like a decently sized diverse and varied cast that is well balanced.
  • You want something that's easy to pick up and mess around with.
  • Are there any articles on how to play somewhere?


  • Training mode?
Setting Samurai Spirits Zero Special (Set 3, Less Censored) to console (AES) mode will let you access its built-in training mode. This does have some slight issues, such as the character's life scaling not applying.
  • Tiers?
While there is no concrete matchup chart available, there are a few different tier lists around and they generally agree. However, tiers in this game are not far apart, largely due to the game's overall high damage, and it's still pretty much anyone's game.
Order within a tier is not relevant.
  • Japanese tier list
A: Kusaregedo, Shizumaru, Ukyo
B: Kyoshiro, Genjuro, Yunfei, Hanzo, Charlotte, Kazuki
C: Rera, Haohmaru, Galford, Rimururu, Basara, Yoshitora
D: Tam Tam, Sogetsu, Mina, Suija, Gaoh, Amakusa, Jubei, Rasetsumaru
E: Gaira, Enja, Mizuki, Nakoruru, Zankuro
  • mauve's tier list
A: Kusaregedo, Shizumaru, Ukyo, Genjuro
B: Charlotte, Haohmaru, Yunfei, Kyoshiro, Yoshitora, Hanzo
C: Amakusa, Basara, Jubei, Rera, Kazuki, Galford, Rimururu, Suija
D: Enja, Sogetsu, Tam Tam, Zankuro, Gaoh, Gaira, Rasetsumaru, Mina
E: Nakoruru, Mizuki
  • Nakoruru sucks?
Nakoruru has very little that is safe and hitconfirmable, making her reliant on mixups which leave her wide open to counterattack, most of which will do more damage to her than she would have done to the opponent.
  • Enja sucks?
While it is true that Enja has high damage and one of the fastest jumps in the game, he has some of the weakest mobility in the game with very short range hitboxes. If you can zone out his jump arc, he has a very difficult time getting in.
  • Isn't Mina really cheap?
Nope. If anything, she's actually a bit underpowered. Whatever you do, don't dash at her. Just walk in. You can react to her ground sliding arrow (2B) with either a crouch block or a hop. Everything else is easy to react to, just block if she flinches at all. Once you're about two character widths away, watch out for her flip move. If she does a jumping attack and you can't catch her in the air, run up and throw her. She has a small recovery period when landing from one where she can block but can't do anything about being thrown.


  • Where did all these numbers come from?
Nearly all the numerical and frame data came from the Japanese frame data site. It was all parsed and made easier to read, particularly for English speaking players.
Some of this information is not accurate, particularly about recoil cancel, so if you see any errors go ahead and fix them.
  • What do the data numbers mean?
  • Damage taken: How much more or less damage the character takes. (e.g.: 110% means he takes 1.1x damage.) This has no effect on fixed damage, such as throws and Issens.
  • Rage duration: This is how long the character spends raged.
  • Amount to rage: How many times the character needs to get hit by Haohmaru n.5A in order to rage. An arbitrary gauge, for sure.
  • Walk speed / Backwalk speed / Dash speed: All values are how many pixels are crossed over the course of 256 frames, or 4.267 seconds.
  • Jump duration: The full length of a jump.
  • Width: This is how fat the character is.
  • Throw range: This is how far you can throw beyond your width.
All characters' data are summarized on the Tables page.
  • What does the frame data mean?
Frame data describes the full sequence of animation for an attack.
  • Damage: This is how much damage the attack will do, given no Kenki Gauge modification. (So 12x2 does less damage than 24, because the first hit will reduce your Kenki Gauge.) The unit is the number of pixels removed from the life bar.
  • Startup: States the first frame in which the attack will hit.
  • Active: How many frames the attack can hit for.
  • Total: The full duration of the move, from start to end.
  • Cancel: If the attack has cancelable regions, they are described here, in the form: Start~End(Count), where Start and End are frames, and Count is the number of frames in total it is cancelable for.
  • Recoil cancel: If the attack has a recoil animation when blocked and there are cancel regions, they are described here in the same format as the Cancel field.
  • Hit advantage: How many frames you can move before the opponent after hitting the opponent from the front. +5 means you recover 5 frames before the opponent, -3 means he recovers 3 frames before you.
  • Backhit advantage: Same as hit advantage, except when hitting from behind.
  • Block advantage: Like the other advantages, except when the move is blocked. Since there are recoil animations, this will often be very different from the others.
  • Guard: Whether the attack has to be blocked mid, low, or high.
  • Notes: States miscellaneous move properties, like attack strength or invincibility periods.
  • What's it good for?
Frame data is mostly for tuning your game and understanding how/why things happen. You don't need it to be able to play, but it helps iron out the wrinkles.
A simple example is that you can look at the block disadvantage of a move, such as -21, and know that any attack with 21f or faster startup can punish it guaranteed.
  • What's with the move names?
For the most part, they're checked manually and compared with Kao Megura's FAQ, usually matching up for consistency. There's not many disagreements for names, though no translations are given.
Samurai Shodown V Special
General FAQControlsHUD
Characters AmakusaBasaraCharlotteEnjaGairaGalfordGaohGenjuro
SuijaTam TamUkyoYoshitoraYunfeiZankuro
Mechanics MechanicsTablesHitboxesHidden Moves