The game was designed to illustrate the terror of fighting weapon-to-weapon and the impact of fighting with a sword. Thus, being hit by a weapon does significant damage to the opposing player. This punishing difficulty faced criticism during the game's development. As noted by series creator Yasushi Adachi:

"There was a lot of internal criticism about deducting so much life gauge with one attack. SNK management said this design had to be changed, but I thought it was very interesting to have players fight under the risk and fear of fighting with weapons and feel the destructive force of the sword, so I ignored them and kept it in the game."
Contributed by DrakeVagabond