Samurai Shodown
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Samurai's Review

Reviewed by Mark Patraw

System Requirements:
Windows 95/98
Pentium 100 or better
16 MB RAM or better
Video Card supporting Microsoft DirectDraw (2 MB VRAM or more)
256 Color Capability
640x480 resolution or greater resolution
Sound Card supporting Microsoft Direct Sound
15 MB free Hard Drive disk space

This is a review of the PC version of Samurai Shodown 2, the second Samurai Shodown game released by SNK. I played this game several times in the arcade years ago, and Interplay seems to have done a very nice conversion of the original in my eyes.

The graphics in SS2 improved on those in SS1, but they're nowhere near as good as the SS3 and SS4 games that came later. Looking back to the time period when this game was released, the graphics were considered impressive. But you can tell this is an older game just by looking at the art style, and it just doesn't compete with later games in the series. If you liked the art in the first game, you'll enjoy the graphics here just as much, if not more so.

The audio in this game is pretty nice. The voices could be a little clearer, and I think because this game uses CD, the music could have been of a much higher quality too. It's been too long since I played this in the arcade to remember how closely the audio matches the arcade, but it seems like a pretty competent job. You can change how high or low the music and/or voice plays in the options menu as well. I'd have to say that SS2 has the least impressive music of the first four SS games though.

You can use either the keyboard or control pads to play this game. I don't have a control pad, and the one I borrowed wasn't compatible with my laptop computer, so I had to use the keyboard, so I can only comment on keyboard play. Overall, the keyboard works well when you get used to it, but pulling off some of the trickier special moves is almost impossible. As would be expected, because this is a PC game, you can customize the keyboard anyway you like.

Game play:
SS2 doesn't play much differently than SS, but it did add a few new control features to enhance game play. You can now execute super attacks, taunt your opponent, do forward and backward rolls, crouch very low, and do feint dashes. Most of the old characters from SS learned at least one new special attack as well. There's no slowdown or other problems like that; the whole game works quite smoothly (although how well if plays may vary depending on your computer's capabilities). I'd say it plays almost exactly like the arcade version.

Many people would argue that this game has the best selection of SS characters in the series. You get 11 of the 12 characters from SS (everybody except Tam Tam, but seeing as how Paku Paku, Cham Cham's monkey, is really Tam Tam, technically, he's still in the game), as well as four all new characters: Kibagami Genjuro, Caffeine Nicotine, Neinhalt Sieger, and the aforementioned Cham Cham, for a total of 15 selectable characters. There's also a new boss (non playable), Rashoujin Mizuki. Kuroko, that crazy judge, was playable in other versions, but I'm not sure if you can use him in this version, although I've heard that you can.

Bottom Line:
If you in any way hold SS2 dear to your heart, I can't see you being disappointed with this game. Myself, I think I've been spoiled by SS3 and SS4, because I'm just not as impressed with this game as I used to be, even though I still like it a lot.

Final Grade: 9/10

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