Bujingai (武刃街), known in North America as Bujingai: The Forsaken City and in Europe as Bujingai: Swordmaster, is an actionvideo game developed by Taito Corporation in collaboration with Red Entertainment, exclusively for the PlayStation 2 console. The game was first published by Taito in Japan on December 25, 2003. Releases in North America by BAM! Entertainment and in Europe by 505 Gamestreet followed in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Bujingai is set in the 23rd century about 100 years after a global catastrophe wiped out a majority of the Earth’s population and its entire government. The survivors have found themselves in possession of magical powers stemming from the energies of the Earth. The game’s story follows one such man, Lau Wong, a sword-wielding exile who returns to Earth to confront a former ally and an army of demons who have taken hold of the titular Asian city of Bujingai. The graphics and gameplay in Bujingai are visually inspired by martial arts (Wuxia) films of Hong Kong. The game is a third-person beat ’em up/hack and slash in which the player controls the protagonist Lau, exploring open environments, solving minor puzzles, and battling enemies and bosses. The game features a counterattack mechanic and the ability to chain together sword slashes in excess of 1,000 hits.
Bujingai acted as a 50th anniversary release for Taito. Taking two years to create, the development team included Taito veteran Hiroshi Aoki as director, Taito’s in-house band Zuntata as music composers, and external talent in the form of Cowboy Bebop character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto and Trigun scenario writer Yōsuke Kuroda in their respective roles. The likeness of Japanese pop iconGackt was used in making the protagonist Lau Wong; Gackt himself aided in the game’s promotion prior to its launch. Bujingaireceived above-average reviews from press sources, who praised its combat gameplay, visual style, and character designs. However, many of these same reviewers criticized the game as having poor jumping mechanics, dull level designs, and a weak plot.