And for the inaugural CGR, we'll be looking at one of my personal favorite Playstation games of all time: Bushido Blade.
Bushido Blade was a samurai-style fighting game the likes of which was never done before, and hasn't been done since. Developed by Light Weight and published by Square and Sony, Bushido Blade has a bit of a cult following for its punishing gameplay and hair-trigger reflexes.
The gameplay mechanics are fairly straightforward: there are no health bars. Just you, your enemy, and an open screen. Combat is done based on parries and strikes, which have different advantages and disadvantages depending upon the weapon and the stances that come with it.
To defeat your enemy, you must strike them in such a way that it is a fatal blow. This could mean one nicely-timed slice to the neck, or five minutes of trying to break through their parrying and slowly whittling them down. The anticipation that your opponent could get a good parry and lay you out gives the game a sense of addicting necessity, knowing that you can't afford even one strike.
For its time, the graphics were pretty admirable, and the detail of combat was superb. If you landed a strike on an opponent's leg, he would go limp. If you caught them in the eye, they'd be seen wearing an eye bandage after the battle, and for the rest of the story mode if that's what you were participating in.
The story mode can be somewhat hard to grasp at first, as it seems to give you little backstory and throws you into the game with nothing in terms of a tutorial. In this respect, you had to learn the game yourself, which (while trifling at first) provided a much deeper sense of gratification the first time you thrust your naginata into an opponent's jugular vein.
Along with Story Mode, Bushido Blade also featured various other modes. Versus Mode is BB's multiplayer, allowing you to test your true skill against another human's reflexes. Practice Mode was good for learning the controls before hopping into the story, allowing you to recover from death an infinite amount of times and continue training with no punishment. Perhaps the most unique mode was the First Person mode, where you would take control of your character from a (who would have guessed) first person perspective, providing a different and, depending on who you ask, a more difficult yet rewarding game experience.
All in all, Bushido Blade is a gem. Even if fighting games aren't your thing, I would still see if I could check it out— it's simply too unique to pass up.