Samurai Shodown

Game Gear

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


Samurai Shodown (UE) [!]-01.gif (6586 bytes)Face the facts. There really aren't that many good Game Gear games. The number of great games for the console could probably be counted on one hand. This is exactly what makes Samurai Shodown so special. A stunning conversion on every level, this game will have Game Gear players in awe.

One of the best of the best as far as weapons based fighters are concerned, Samurai Shodown first appeared on the immensely expensive Neo Geo. It didn't take long for gamers to take notice of one of the greatest one-on-one fighters of all time. Takara took it upon themselves to translate the console to more mainstream systems including the Genesis and SNES. Who would have expected that the Game Gear version would actually play better than the SNES version?

Ten characters have made their way into the small cart, the only loss being Earthquake. Amakusa is accessible through a code or by beating the game. Every character retains all of their special moves and backgrounds with very little sacrifice. Even the pre and post fight taunts are in here.

The controls, even with the most minimal of buttons, still work out fine. Light attacks are performed by pressing a single button and a fierce slash is done by pressing both at the same time. Simple, intuitive, and spot on. All of the gameplay nuances that make the game so special like losing your weapon, clashes, and the POW meter are here as well.

Samurai Shodown (UE) [!]-03.gif (9115 bytes)Though small, the characters are rife with detail. The animation is generally limited, but you'll hardly notice unless your looking for it (the win animations are the most noticeable loss). Flicker is an issue that can't be ignored and there are some nasty bouts of slowdown from time to time, but with all of the detail, you have to expect it. The backgrounds are no longer interactive sadly enough (the trees can no longer be slashed in the forest and the dock is missing the barrels), though this has no effect on the gameplay at all. Color levels are also of the highest quality, a rarity for the system.

Even with everything else crammed into this game, it's almost incredible that even the music made the cut. Though it certainly doesn't sound as good as the original Geo version or even the Genesis, rest assured that every note is identifiable. At the price of great music, there are no voices or decent sound effects. Simple swoosh noises and bleeps are about all you'll get, but you can hardly fault the game for this since everything else is near perfection.

It will only take one time to be hooked. There isn't a better portable 8-bit fighter to be found anywhere. The only other way to play Samurai Shodown in accurate portable form is to fork out the money for a Nomad and the Genesis version. This is easily one of the single greatest Game Gear games ever made.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Sunday, October 02, 2005 09:26 AM