Samurai Shodown
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Samurai's Review
Neo Geo Pocket SS!

Reviewed by C.K. Gan

Samurai Shodown ! was one of the first game that was released for the Neo Geo Pocket(black & white version) a few years ago. The game has color if you play it on your normal Neo Geo Pocket Color. It is only released in Japan of course, and it might be hard to find this game nowadays. The manual and cover of this game are in Japanese, but good thing is you can set it in English on your NGPC.

This game only has 3 modes, 1P Mode, Survival Mode, and Versus Mode. It does not have any extras so to speak. It is based on the arcade version of Samurai Shodown 4 Amakusa's Revenge. It is more like a portable version of one of the finest 2D SS game, SS4. The characters, story, gameplay are similar to SS4. And most of the characters are from SS4. The playable characters are Jubei, Hanzo, Ukyo, Sogetsu, Genjuro, Nakoruru, Kazuki, Haohmaru, Rimururu, Amakusa, Galford, Shizumaru, and also secret playable characters, Zankuro and Shiki. The story is similar to SS4. When you start a game, you'll see the character you are using talks to another character, just like in SS4(although the character speech are worse translated than SS4). But the only difference is there are basically no endings for this game, all you get is a one line thing, for Jubei, you'll see him say something like, "case closed. Wah! Hah! Hah!". The gameplay or rather the game styles are like in SS4 as well, your characters have most of their moves and supers from SS4, and you also have rage explosion, fatal slash, side step, hop slash, chain combo(only 4 hit combo, unlike 14 slash combo in SS4), and so on. And one more thing is you can also choose from 3 grades, beginner class, medium grade and upper grade(I know a lot of people love to play on upper grade). So, basically, it feels like SS4 when you are playing it. If this game is released during the same time when I play SS4, I would have totally love and adore this pocket version of SS4. But for what it's worth, it feels like a classic SS game, and it kind of brings back wonderful nostalgic memories of SS4.

If I am to compare the other pocket SS that was released on the NGPC, which is Samurai Shodown ! 2. I can say that SS!2 has a bit better graphics(better background and more color mostly) than this one. The characters animation are about the same, although my friend who had tried the game, complained about why Zankuro is the same size as Rimururu. When I think about it, SS!2's Gandara looks much bigger than other characters in the game. Anyway, SS!2 also has slightly better game AI than SS!, and better and friendlier controls, for instance, in SS!, you need to press both A and B buttons when you execute a super or rage explosion, and in SS!2, you only need one button, which is better and easier to execute. Other than that, SS!2 has more gameplay values than SS!, like collecting cards. Nevertheless, SS! and SS!2 have about the same amount of characters in the game. The difference is: Shizumaru, Amakusa and Zankuro are not in SS!2, and Asra, Morozumi and Charlotte are not in SS!(Weird, Charlotte was in SS4, so she should be in SS! instead of SS!2) Overall, SS!2 is slightly better than this game in most aspects. However, personally, I like both SS! and SS!2 equally.

Regardless the fact that this game is not as good as SS!2, it has some of the classic SS4 musics that SS!2 does not have, for example, the cool Amakusa and Zankuro's themes. Overall, it's an enjoyable NGPC game and it's cute, like when you do the Ukyo's apple throw move, there are 3 different 'apples' he throws, and one of them is like a big honey melon. Anyways, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give this game a 7.5 out of 10.

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