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First Samurai


Censored SNES Version
Region: Worldwide

Uncensored Amiga Version
Region: Worldwide

Release: Oct 14, 2011 - Author: -Der-Tribun - Translator: DaxRider123
The First Samurai is an extremely unconventional platforming game which was produced by Vivid Image in 1991. In the game the action is less important than finding hidden items to solve the riddle of the level.

In the game, the master of the first samurai was killed by a powerful demon-king. With his last breath of air the master is able to call a mighty sorcerer for help. This makes the demon flee to the future. Ashamed of his inability to help his master, the samurai calls the sorcerer for help. He equips himself with his master's magic sword and follows the demon-king through time to kill him.

When the game was ported to the SNES in 1993 it was heavily censored. Additionally, the game was a big disappointment in its SNES version. The puzzle-elements which were the main attraction of the original version were taken out in behalf of the action. The previously non-linear leveldesign was re-arranged so that it has a more or less linear style. Several levels and bosses were taken out (only 5 of the original 10 levels and only 5 of the original 9 bosses made it into the SNES version).

Thus, the Amiga-version is much better than the SNES porting, so this is the version to pick if you're interested in playing the game.

This is a comparison between the uncensored Amiga-version (=the original version) and the censored SNES-version.


The Intro

The censorship starts right in the intro which was butchered for the SNES-version. The reason for this can't be technical difficulties because the intro only consists of freeze frames and was released on 2 disks for the Amiga (even though it had twice the levels).

Missing Images:

These parts of the intro do not show images but only text:
  • You see master and pupil sitting together.
  • The demon-king sneaks up to the house.
  • The pupil is paralyzed by the demon.
  • The first samurai is sent to the future.

    Censored Murder of the Master

    The murder of the master was obviously censored. At first you see the image of the dying master along with the text "...until his Master lies dying.".

    Additionally, the following image was censored, too. The puddle of blood underneath the dead master was colored in so that it looks like water.

    Special Case: Sword

    Additionally, the intro lacks the samurai's magic sword. However, the situation gets even more quaint: while the sword is not shown in the intro, you do see it during the end credits.

    The Title Screen

    The title screen was obviously censored. The bloody sword was edited out, along with the "slash"-effect - the sword cuts through the title and makes it bleed red. In the SNES-version the title is colored green.

    The Enemies

    The human enemies all fell vicitm to nintendos censorship policies. They were all changed so that you no longer fight human beings. They altered the following things (in the screenshots there's an enlargement in the upper left corner):

    The knife thrower in the levels "Mystic Land" (levels 1-4) was changed to a purple demon. Additionally, he doesn't throw knives anymore but spits fire after suddenly jumping out of the ground.

    In the exact same levels you also fight a martial artist. In the Amiva-version they have 3 different looks. In the SNES-version they got rid of this variety and instead only used one sprite: a green-yellowish demon. Also, he doesn't fight in a martial arts style anymore but throws grenades.

    In the level "Train to Tomorrow" (level 5) the thugs who want to beat you up were re-designed: they now look like green-metallic robots. Instead of using martial arts they just hit you very fast.

    In the exact same level, the punks were re-designed to another type of robot. Interestingly enough, the robots still have a Mohawk (however that's supposed to work...). Instead of using martial arts they give you electric shocks.

    In the levels "Tokyo" (levels 6-8) the thugh who throws grenades was re-desinged; now he looks like a green demon. Howeverm this time they simply re-colored the guy, nothing else changed.

    The commando - who tries to stab you with his knife - was completely taken out of the "Tokyo"-levels.

    Deleted Fastfood

    In the later levels which take place in present time Tokyo there are some new forms of powerups: a can of cola and a burger. Both things were cut out of the SNES. While it makes sense to edit out the cola (so that Nintendo does not have to pay usage rights), it's still unclear to why they decided to edit the burger out as well.