The Last Blade 2 (known in Japan as Bakumatsu Rouman Dainimaku: Gekka no Kenshi - Tsuki ni Saku Hana, Chiri Yuku Hana, loosely translated to "Bakumatsu Romance Act II: Swordsman of the Moon Luster - In the Moon a Flower Blooming, a Petal Falling") is a 2D historical-fantasy weapon-based fighting game developed and released by SNK for arcades (running Neo Geo MVS hardware) on November 25, 1998.
The game is set one year after the events of the game's predecessor, as we learn of the Four Gods who can seal the open portal between the human world and the demon world. The game involves the search for the Sealing Maiden to perform the ritual to successfully close Hell's Gate.
Along with new playable characters (such as the reluctant Hibiki and the maniac Setsuna), the game further adds new distinctions between the game's two fighting styles (Power Mode and Speed Mode). It is the last game in the short-lived series.
The game was later released for the Neo Geo AES on January 28, 1999 and was ported to both the Neo Geo CD on February 27, 1999 and Sega Dreamcast on December 21, 2000. While the Neo Geo CD version was Japan-exclusive, the Dreamcast version was released in North America by Agetec on August 6, 2001 (as The Last Blade 2: Heart of the Samurai). The original game was digitally re-released by D4 for the Wii (via Virtual Console) on October 11, 2012, and by SNK Playmore (ported by Code Mystics) for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on May 24, 2016. The game was also included alongside its predecessor in the 2006 Japan-exclusive Bakumatsu Rouman: Gekka no Kenshi 1+2 compilation for the PlayStation 2.
The Last Blade 2 utilizes an eight-way movement, four-button scheme for the player to control their character’s actions in battle. Various gameplay mechanics and character-specific actions are performed through a mixture and series of input movement and button commands.
Three buttons are dedicated for different normal attacks while the fourth button is assigned for a specific gameplay mechanic in battle.
- A - Weak Slash: A quick, short weapon attack.
- B - Strong Slash: A slower but more powerful weapon attack.
- C - Kick: An attack not utilizing the weapon.
- D - Repel: A mechanic where the character parries an opponent’s attack if the attacks connects the character’s repel active frames.
The Last Blade 2 offers three different style modes, one of which is hidden in all but the Dreamcast version, that provide different gameplay properties in battle:
Power Mode is designed to have unleash the most amount of damage possible from all attacks.
- Inflicts the most amount of damage on all attacks.
- Inflicts chip damage on guarded normal attacks.
- Access to Unblockable Attack.
- Access to Desperation Cancel.
- Access to Super Desperation.
- Inability to link normal attacks together, nor link certain normals to special moves.
Speed Mode is designed for faster play with the importance to perform combos to inflict significant amounts of damage.
- Inflicts the least amount of damage on all attacks.
- Ability to perform combos by linking normal together and linking normal attacks to special moves.
- Access to Overhead Attack.
- Access to Combo Special.
EX Mode (or Extreme Mode) contains a combination of mechanics from both Speed and Power Modes at an extreme cost.
- Inflicts more damage than Speed Mode, but less than Power Mode.
- Takes the most amount of damage from opposing attacks.
- Gains the least amount of power meter than the other two modes.
- Access to Speed Mode’s ability to perform combos, Overhead Attack, and Combo Special.
- Access to Power Mode’s Desperation Cancel and Super Desperation.
- Punch - Back + A
- Power Slash - Forward + B
- Power Kick - Forward + C
- Sweep - Down-Forward + C
- Dash - Forward, Forward
- Backdash - Back, Back
- Super Jump - Quickly tapping up, up-forward, or up-back twice.
- High Dash Attack - A or B after performing a Dash.
- Low Dash Attack - Down-Forward + A or B after performing a Dash.
- Dash Jump - Up-Forward after performing a Dash.
- Low Dash Jump - "Tapping" Up-Forward after the dash.
- Throw - C + D
- Recovery - D while the character is in a "blow-back" state.
- Pounce Attack - Down-Forward + B or C while the opponent is lying on the ground.
- Guard Cancel - Back, Back-Down, Down + D while in "block stun." The character will cancel his or her guard while under attack to knock back the attacking opponent. A minimum of 50% super meter is required to access the guard cancel. Use of the guard cancel will drain the fighter's entire super meter.
- Desperation - The character's super move. They can be use once the character's super meter is 100% filled, or once their vitality gauge flashes.
- Unblockable - B + C; An attack that breaks through an opponent's guard.
- Desperation Cancel: Interrupting a special move into a desperation move, which requires either full super meter or low vitality. Only one special move is assigned to be cancel-able to a desperation for the entire cast.
- Super Desperation - The character's second super move. It can only be used if the character has 100% super meter and their vitality gauge is flashing.
- Overhead - B + C; The character will perform an overhead attack that must be blocked high to guard it. The opponent will suddenly be sent in the air if they are hit.
- Combo Special - Initiated by inputting Down, Down + A or B with full super meter, followed by a series of button inputs after the first hit connects. A common Combo Special flowchart in The Last Blade 2 goes as follows: Down, Down + A or B > A > B > C > A > B > C > A > B > Down, Down-Forward, Forward + C.
- Hibiki Takane
- Kojiroh Sanada
- Kouryu (final boss, only playable with cheat code)
- Hagure Hitogata (hidden character only playable with a cheat code, a shikigami summoned by Akari who transforms into their opponent for mirror matches)
- Kaede (now permanently in his "awakened" form, with his original form as a hidden version only playable with a cheat code)
- Moriya Minakata
- Akari Ichijou
- Juzoh Kanzaki
- Hyo Amano
- Keiichiro Washizuka
- Genbu no Okina
- Shikyoh (as the undead "Mukuro")
- Lee Rekka
- Shinnosuke Kagami
- Shigen Naoe
- Musashi Akatsuki (exclusive to the NGCD and DC versions, only available in Versus Mode)