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Video Game / Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time

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Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is a video game developed by Japanese studio Soleil, based on the Cartoon Network / [adult swim] action franchise of the same name by Genndy Tartakovsky. The game was released on Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Via Steam) on August 21, 2020. It is considered canonical to the events of the animated series and serves as a companion piece to the Grand Finale that aired in 2017.

This game is a interquel that occurs during the events of the series finale. When Ashi creates a time portal in order for her and Jack to finally return to the past, Aku manages to intervene at the very last moment and traps Jack in an alternate dimension, a pocket locked between time where he relives a majority of his adventures and fights throughout the series. However, according to Aku, things aren't exactly what they seem to be, and the dangers contained in this new reality will stop at nothing to finish the samurai off. Jack seeks to escape from this alternate dimension, defeat Aku, and save the past, present, and future from his control once and for all.


This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Throughout the stages, there are collectibles called Corrupted Emperor's Kamon. Beating Aku after collecting them all unlocks the game's Golden Ending, which saves Ashi from being Doomed by Canon via Time Paradox.
  • 2½D: Some sections of some levels have Jack follow a linear path in this fashion.
  • Actor Allusion: One of the posters that can be seen in the background of the Aku City level is an advertisement for an acting course at the Mako Center for Extremely Awesome Acting. Not only is this a nod to Mako, Aku's first voice actor (who passed away in 2006), but Mako himself was the founder of the East West Players, an Asian-American theater company.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This game does so for the series itself, taking place in the middle of the final episode, and expanding that few minutes of time travel into a massive adventure.
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  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: A variation. Completing the game on normal difficulty ("Samurai") unlocks the ability to change Jack's outfit at will from the settings menu.
  • Animal Motif: Jack now knows that ladybugs are what represent Ashi's Heel–Face Turn, and reminds her of them to stop her from killing him in their match before Aku forces Ashi's body through Jack's sword to kill her. In the Golden Ending, a ladybug also lands on Jack before Ashi appears, showing that she avoided her erasure following Aku's final defeat.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: If you get a Game Over in a story stage, you are given the option to change the difficulty level.
  • The Artifact: Upon startup, the game begins with the original Season 1-4 opening (complete with archival audio of Mako's portrayal of Aku). Aku's narration can also be periodically heard in the background of the Aku City level.
  • Ascended Extra: Rothchild III and Da Samurai (both in their original designs) are reoccurring NPC's in the game, while they were relegated to a single cameo appearance each in Season 5 after the one-shot episodes they were introduced in.
    • Various minor enemies who only appeared in a single episode reappear as recurring enemy types, including Huntor (from Tartakovsky's earlier show, Dexter's Laboratory), following his cameo in "Jack vs. Mad Jack", the robotic alligators from "Jack and the Scotsman", and the Beetle Bot from "Chicken Jack". Even the Beetle Drones, who made minor appearances since "The First Fight", appear.
    • This extends to some collectable items. Particularly, the jewel from "Jack and the Warrior Woman" (here called the "Desert Oasis Jewel"), the Neptune Jewel from "Jack and the Gangsters" (oddly named the "Jewel of Neptune") and the Crystal of Cagliostro from "Jack and the Creature" (which had previously been eaten by the creature of the title) can be found and sold for gold or used in Skill Tree unlocks.
  • Auto-Revive: The "Second Wind" skill allows Jack to revive with a small amount of health if he is defeated on the Jack or Samurai difficulties. If he is defeated again, it's game over.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The player can choose to have Jack use the "Samurai Fist" fighting style, which has him punch and kick his enemies to death using his Shaolin Kung Fu martial arts, taught to him by literal examples of this trope.
  • Back from the Dead: After being killed by Aku, the "celtic magic" of the Scotsman's sword brought him back as a ghost (in his prime, no less) for the rest of Season 5. In this game, the Scotsman is now fully revived back to his youth, and now he can more physically lead his army of daughters to help out Jack.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Jack is once again hesitant to finish Ashi off in her demonic form, the Ashi from the prime timeline appears at the last second to stop her demonic self.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played straight in normal battle as Jack's attacks do not shed a single drop of blood. The only exception is in a few cutscenes near the end of the game where Jack mortally wounds the Daughters of Aku, including whom he believed to be Ashi, hence the ESRB's blood content descriptor.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Aku's pendants forces whoever wears it to attack Jack, regardless of their original morality. While several wearers of this pendant are already villains, they are also given to the Scotsman and the Lava Monster.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Jack, even moreso than in the original series, since the Kiai Attack when using the Samurai Fist style is basically a ki-based shockwave right out of Dragon Ball.
  • Clothing Damage: In a nod to the show, damage to Jack's health translates to damage to his gi. By the time he reaches critical health, he's a Walking Shirtless Scene with his hair let down, and his body and the remains of his gi get covered in dirt. Restoring his health will likewise bring his outfit and hair back to normal. This also applies to the armor he wore in Season 5 for the two levels he's back in this outfit.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The game is more or less "The Very Best of Samurai Jack", as it revisits familiar locations and fan-favorite characters (friend and foe alike) from across the show's history, albeit with new perspectives in some instances, as explained in this exchange between Aku and Jack in the opening of the Boon's Castle level:
    Aku: I have cast you down into a place with no future or past. A place between time.
    Jack: Between time?!
    Aku: Here, things you know, or think you know, may not be what they seem and I control your fate. And the only hope of escape is through your death! HAHAHAHAH!
    • The Aku's Mines level is based on the events of "The Samurai Called Jack", "The First Fight", and "Jack and the Scotsman". Da Samurai (as he originally appeared in "Samurai vs. Samurai") can be first found here in a secret alcove.
    • Boon's Castle is based on the events of "Jack and the Scotsman II", but culminates in a battle with giant Beetle Drones similar to the one seen in Episode XCIII.
    • Cave of the Ancient is based on the events of "Jack and the Lava Monster", but also incorporates an encounter with Demongo.
    • Undead Cemetery is primarily based on the events of "Jack and the Zombies", only this time, Jack is able to defeat the Witch Hag that originally possessed his sword, but not before another encounter with Demongo.
    • Aku City is mainly based on "Jack and the Hunters", but incorporates an encounter with the Shinobi from "Samurai vs. Ninja", as well as culminating in a battle with (and the subsequent demise of) the Clenches from "The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful".
    • Ruined City is inspired by Episode XCII, and includes a battle with Scaramouche's golem, as well as two more encounters with Demongo, before fittingly ending in a battle with Scaramouche.
    • Snowy Forest is inspired by the events of Episodes XCIII and XCIV. Appropriately, the Daughters of Aku are fought throughout and all five of Ashi's surviving sisters come at Jack at the end.
    • Prison Ship is based on the events of Episode XCIX, but has yet another encounter with Demongo. It also includes two rematches with Lazarus 92, but ends with a battle against Ashi's corrupted form in the robot graveyard from Episode C.
    • Aku's Tower largely repeats most of the events of Episode CI, but it also features one last encounter with Demongo. The game itself begins at the moment when Ashi breaks free of her corruption.
  • Continuity Nod: The game is filled with these. For instance:
    • The title screen is done in the style of a scene from the opening of Season 5 (when Jack states how Aku's grasp choked past, present and future).
    • Three unlockable achievements are based on a line said by Jack in "Jack and the Warrior Woman"
  • Continuity Snarl: Due to Gameplay and Story Segregation, immediately after Ashi and a battle-worn Jack jump into Ashi's time portal, Jack is inexplicably back to how he normally looks (as opposed to the ripped gi, and loose hair, he had just previously). Ashi has likewise regained her original spiky hairstyle from before her Heel–Face Turn. In Jack's case, it can be subverted in the game's ending if Aku is defeated while Jack's health is at critical.
  • Darker and Edgier: Just like the Season 5 episodes it replicates, blood doesn't start appearing in the game until Jack slits one of the Daughters of Aku's throats. The rest of the level this occurs has him kill the rest of the daughters again, though in their case, it's Bloodless Carnage. Then Aku pushes Ashi through Jack's sword, leaving her to die with a visible blood wound through her body.
  • Deader than Dead: Taking the game's placement in the canon into account, Jack manages to kill Aku in the past and the future.
  • Death by Adaptation: Josephine and Ezekiel Clench are killed by robotic alligators after Jack beats their level.
  • Descending Ceiling: There's one in the Cave of the Ancient, and its filled with Spikes of Doom. If you don't escape this particular passage in time, you'll get an instant game over as Jack gets fatally crushed.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Jack, in his early Season 5 attire, no less, re-lapses into this after he is forced to kill the Daughters of Aku again, this time including Ashi when Aku forces her through Jack's sword. Jack begins to doubt if he'll ever escape Aku's dimension, but his inner self snaps him out of it and keeps him focused on the mission of doing so, which in turn restores Jack to his original samurai look.
  • Double Jump: An unlockable skill.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: 100% Completion nets you with Jack sitting under the cherry blossom tree after killing Aku in the past, like he did at the end of the revived series... Only Ashi is there with him, indicating that she was able to be married to him and that she won't get erased from existence. Since the game is treated as canon, this is technically the true ending to the series.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: There is no reward for beating the game on the easiest difficulty, Jack. The medium difficulty "Samurai" unlocks costumes and missions and the hard "Master Samurai" difficulty unlocks "endless" survival missions and the extra-hard Master of Masters difficulty.
  • Evil Is Petty: Aku, was there really a need to puppet your daughter's corpse around in front of Jack?
  • Flunky Boss: Demongo, in keeping with how he fought in the show, mostly fights by spawning in enemies. Ninjas drop in during the fight against Aku. Nearly every boss becomes this on the Master of Masters difficulty.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Jack's ability to "Jump Good" is very gimped compared to what he could pull off with it in the show.
    • Jack can damage Aku with any weapon (including his fists) during Aku's boss fight, while he needed his magic katana to do actual damage to him in the show.
  • Harder Than Hard: The unlockable Master of Masters difficulty level.
  • Honorary Uncle: The challenge of finding and talking to all of the Scotsman's Daughters is titled "Uncle Jack", implying that they view Jack as this.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: There are three difficulty levels available when you play the game for the first time: Jack, Samurai and Master Samurai. Completing all levels on Master Samurai unlocks a Harder Than Hard difficulty level, Master of Masters, one of Aku's famous titles.
  • In a Single Bound: Jack's ability's to "Jump Good" is an unlockable skill in this game, but thanks to Gameplay and Story Segregation, it's not nearly has epic as how it's shown the show and simply gives him a slightly higher-than-usual jump.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Per Present Ashi's wishes, Jack attempts to reason with the past Daughters of Aku, as well as their own Ashi, to pull a Heel–Face Turn as Present Ashi has. Unfortunately, he is forced to kill them all anyway, including their Ashi once Aku pushes her through Jack's sword.
  • Interquel: A new story penned by the shows' own writers, set right before Jack's fully-realized trip to the past in the show's Grand Finale.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Jack's signature blade, called "Magic Sword" in this game, is a mighty katana forged by the gods, and as such is the only weapon that can defeat Aku. In this game, it's the only weapon with infinite durability (not counting his weaponless Samurai Fist style), though you can find and choose to use a more standard katana if you want.
  • Kiai: Jack is much more into vocalizing his attacks in this game compared to the show. This is also literally the name of his Limit Break.
  • Limit Break: The Kiai technique is an invincible attack where Jack attacks at opponents with powerful blows. The technique used depends on what weapon is equipped.
  • Money Is Experience Points: In addition to using money to buy items and weapons, you can also use it to level up Jack's attack power with each weapon type. There is also a skill tree in this game, although that uses a separate points system that can only be used for unlocking its abilities.
  • Multi-Platform: This game is available on most eighth-generation consoles.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two.
    • Normal Ending: Jack manages to kill Aku's future self and escapes the time pocket with Ashi, finally allowing him to return back to the past and finish Aku for good. Roll credits.
    • Golden Ending: Unlocked by collecting all 50 Corrupted Emperor's Kamon and fighting Aku again. The game plays the remaining moments of Episode CI as normal, but the ending cuts to the final scene at the cherry tree, now with Jack sitting alongside Ashi, revealing that she survived her erasure.
  • Non Standard Game Over:
    • In the Cave of the Ancient, if you don't escape the cave with the Descending Ceiling in time, you'll watch Jack get slowly crushed and buried alive before getting an instant Game Over.
    • In the Aku City level, if you don't struggle hard enough when the Imakandi manage to start tying you up, Jack will be completely immobilized and the Imakandi will signal to his comrades to take him away for an instant game over.
  • Nostalgia Level: The entire game is a sequence of Nostalgia Episodes, focusing on new takes and interpretations of different quests and battles Jack has already been through in the animated series.
  • Offing the Offspring: Aku pushes Ashi (or at least a version of her from a past timeline) onto Jack's blade in order to break him. To add further salt to the wound, he later puppets her corpse around just to taunt him. Luckily, the present version of Ashi is revealed to very much still be alive.
  • Player Nudge: Tips will appear on loading screens and every time you get a Game Over.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: Jack can quickly change weapons at the press of a key or directional pad direction.
  • Recurring Boss: Demongo is fought multiple times throughout the game.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In contrast to the final scene of the show's Grand Finale where light shines on everything but Jack to reflect its Bittersweet Ending, the Golden Ending features light shining on not just the grove but also Jack and Ashi, who survives erasure, to symbolize the two getting their happy ending.
  • Screw Destiny: A meta example, as fans can save Ashi from being Doomed by Canon by beating the game again after collecting all the Corrupted Emperor's Kamon.
  • Shows Damage: The more Jack is hurt, the more is his outfit damaged, culminating in a shirtless Jack with his hair undone and what's left of his outfit covered in dirt.
    • Similar with the Daughters of Aku. When their health meters are half full, their masks fall off revealing their faces, and they fight without them.
  • Slashed Throat: Jack accidentally ends up killing one of the Daughters of Aku like this again, but this time with the full knowledge that they're not robots and with him trying to carry out Present Ashi's wishes to spare and redeem her sisters.
  • Smashing Survival: Some enemies can trap Jack, requiring the player to wiggle an analog stick or mash down movement keys, depending on the platform, to break free or risk losing a lot of health. Failing to do so when caught by the Imakandi can result in a Non Standard Game Over.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the True Ending, Ashi doesn't vanish from existence following Aku's demise, allowing her to live peacefully with Jack.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Da Samurai actually completely willingly helps Jack fight Aku's army in the climax.
    • Jack himself shows just how much experience he has gained by Season 5 when he fights the Imakandi hunters, who he failed to even deliver a significant scratch to in the episode they starred in, and causes enough damage to them to force them to actually retreat.
    • Jack is changed into his early Season 5 attire for two levels, only this time, he now has his sword with him, allowing him to fight enemies such as Scaramouche and the Daughters of Aku with better ease.
  • Traintop Battle: The Aku City level ends with one, culminating in a rematch with the Clenches.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Carrying over from his sudden cameo appearance in Season 5, we're still not given an explanation for Demongo's return after Aku seemingly offed him for his failure in his one-shot episode. Either way, his last boss battle means that Jack is the one to truly finish him off.
  • Unlockable Difficulty Levels: The extra-hard difficulty level "Master of Masters" will only unlock after all levels are beaten on Master Samurai difficulty.
  • What If?: This game asks the question of "What if Aku managed to stop Jack from returning to the past in Episode CI?" The answer is the entire plot of this game.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Averted, as Jack does not hesitate in taking on Josephine and the Daughters of Aku if they stand in his way of his goal once again.
    • Invoked by the former when she and Zeke are defeated and clinging for dear life on a train, telling Jack that it wouldn't be right for a man like him to let her fall. Jack is not convinced (considering her previous attempt to play to his chivalry) and allows her and Zeke to plummet to their eventual deaths.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: With the Ashi of the present timeline knowing that Jack is currently reliving his past adventures in this game, she wishes to him that he can use this oppotunity to spare the lives of her sisters, including the past, pre-Heel–Face Turn version of herself. Unfortunately for both of them, Jack was unable to make the rest of Ashi's sisters turn, and he had to kill them all over again. Aku then further exploits this by killing Past Ashi through Jack's sword to make him go into Despair Event Horizon.