Samurai Shodown
--The website dedicated to all Samurai Spirits fans--~ver5.0~

Samurai's Review
Game Gear SS1

Written by Mark Patraw

This is the Sega Game Gear port of the original SNK fighting game hit, Samurai Shodown.

The art in this game is very nice, almost appearing 16-bit in detail and richness. The backgrounds in particular look very impressive, and some even have some minimal animation. The sprites are fairly good and a decent size, although they don't have many frames of animation and suffer from a little bit of flickering.

For some reason, Sega Game Gear game music always gives me a headache; I don't know why. Anyway, looking beyond that, the game does a fairly good job of emulating the arcade music. Sound effects are very minimal and don't add much to the game.

This game plays pretty good for a handheld fighter. It's a little choppy, but it plays at a pretty decent speed and is fairly responsive. The Game Gear only has two action buttons, so button 1 is slash/punch, button 2 is kick, and pushing both buttons at once gives you the power slash. The special moves are relatively easy to perform in most cases, but there are a few that are damn near impossible to pull off on the Game Gear control pad. You can still dash forward and backward, lock blades, etc. The screen even scrolls up when you jump. There is no two-player mode whatsoever (not even with the link cable); you can only fight the computer, which fortunately puts up a half decent fight.

Tam Tam, Wan Fu, and Earthquake didn't make it into this version of the game, probably cuz they're the three largest characters. Amakusa, the boss, is still in the game, and you can play as him via a code or by beating the game. Courier Man, Hikyaku, and the Judge, Kuroko, are nowhere to be seen although chicken and bombs still fall onto the screen. The straw man slashing bonus game is also missing.

Game Boy Comparison:
-Well, the Game Gear obviously has the advantage in graphics, because it's in color. Also, the Game Gear took a realistic approach to the game art; trying to emulate the arcade graphics, whereas the Game Boy version went with cute, super deformed art.
-The Game Boy version has fifteen playable characters while the Game Gear version only has 10.
-The Game Boy version has a similar control scheme, but plays better because of the superior Nintendo control pad design.
-The Game Boy version has the straw man bonus game, as well as much more extensive story screens, introductions, and endings.
-The Game Boy version can be played two-player, either with a link cable, or on a SNES with a Super Game Boy.

Bottom Line:
Overall, this is a good handheld game that probably could have been a little better if the programmers had more memory to work with.

My Rating: 7.0/10.0

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