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

Samurai's Review
Sega Saturn SS4

Reviewed by Mark Patraw

You need (1) a Sega Saturn that can play import games and/or a converter, and (2) a 1 meg memory card of some type (either the official SNK cart or a 4 in 1 converter, etc.) to play this game. I use an American Saturn and an Ultra Madness ST-Key to play my copy of SSIV.

Graphics: This game has beautiful, colorful graphics. The characters are fairly well animated as are the backgrounds.

Sound: Overall, the music if good. However, with the exception of the music that plays during your climatic battle with Zankuro, none of it is really outstanding. Depending on who you fight, some of the backgrounds have very realistic "background" noise - waves crashing, flames crackling, wind blowing, etc. - you don't see this too often, and it's definitely a nice change of pace. The sound effects and speech are pretty good - however, I don't speak Japanese (most of the character's quotes, etc. are in Japanese), so, I can't say how clearly it's spoken.

Game play: This is the only real flaw in the game; the Sega Saturn version of SSIV suffers from some pretty bad slowdown at times - mainly with the larger characters (Gaira and Zankuro especially). It isn't too bad most of the time, but during a fight with these two characters, it really starts to chug.

Load Time: This game has decent load times. It takes about 10-12 seconds for a 2-player match to load up. During the one player game, the load times seem faster. I'm not sure if it really is faster, or if it's just because of the map screen and story art that play in between the matches.

Extras: First and foremost, you can play the game in English, as well as a few other languages. Definitely a plus for the import gamer! In addition to the one and two player games, there's a practice mode. You can set you practice opponent to block, jump, etc. - which is useful for practicing different moves and combos. During a match, you can pause the game and see a list of all of your character's moves. This is very useful, and something every fighting game should have. Zankuro is playable via code.

Overall: Other than the slowdown, there really isn't anything bad about this game in my opinion. With 17 characters (18 with Zankuro), plus bust and slash versions of each, this game will keep you busy for a long time. Great fun for samurai spirits and fighting game fans alike! I give it a 9.0 out of 10.0.

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