Review by leeko_link
"Not Arcade Perfect but Still Fun Overall"
When Samurai Shodown become SNK's major hit fighter in the early 90s, every consoles around that time had got to had a port of that awesome 2D weapon-based brawler and with help from SNK's second party developer, Takara, that goal of making multiple ports for multiple consoles had being accomplished. The Sega Genesis version of SS is the first game that Takara ported and boy did it turn out awesome but don't take just that word for it, here are all the full scoop of this game that you should know of.
Not arcade perfect but they do look close to the arcade game by a few inches closer. The problem with this version's presentation is that with the zoom-in view, it's hard to see everything in the background of each stage and it's also missing a ton of detail corners. Good thing this is a minor problem because outside of that, all the character's sprites look much larger and in full form unlike the Super NES version of the same game. However, due to the large sprites and the zoom-in camera, the giant character Earthquake can't participate in this version's SS, but if you absolutely don't care about that huge fat boy this isn't much of a letdown at all. Also what's great about the visuals in this game is that all the blood and violence that you see in the arcade are present during gameplay so those add a lot of plus to any SS fans mind. Though it got a few plus as well as the included background characters Kuroko and Hikyaku, there are a few minor visual loss from the arcade as well such as the arcade intro and all the character's winning art as well as a few of their win poses but since this game already look great on the Sega Genesis, missing a few minor stuffs are exceptional especially when you figure that this game is played on a16-Bit machine which is ten times more inferior than an arcade machine.
Like the arcade you will hear a ton of screaming from the fighters, a few sword swinging sound, and announcement from the announcer but beside all that everything sound close to the arcade even though some of the character had to share the same sound sample. The music on the other hands are good, not as good as the arcade game since this is run on a 16-Bit machine after all but Takara does try its best to capture all the tunes the arcade game feature and I had to say they had succeeded.
This could either be a letdown or a blessing depending on which controller you are using. If you are using a three buttons controller for playing this game you might had trouble getting use to the awkward gameplay but if you play this game with the require six buttons controller, you'll be glad to know the game plays true to the arcade perhaps even better. I for one play this game using a six buttons controller and didn't had any controller issues at all with the game except maybe one of Galford's or Hanzo's special technique move but once I had master them it's a piece of cake to perform. The best thing I love about the Sega Genesis six buttons controller in SS is that each of the six different attack are assign to one of the six available button so you don't have to simultaneously press both weak and medium to get a strong attack or unlike the Super NES version, you don't have to hold another button to initiate the same strong attack since Sega Genesis doesn't need trigger buttons for that.
The gameplay balanced in this game could be tough or simple depending on how good a player you are, I for one think this game is very well balanced. Never had I got trouble executing a special nor had I got my character one hit killed by any character, heck even Amakusa in this game is well worth a challenge and he is not as cheap as he were in the arcade and best of all you get infinite continues to try to beat the game as well so there's always a chance. Unlike the so call superior Sega CD version, the Sega Genesis version had a much better versus mode, after choosing a fighter in this mode, you could determined each player's handicap, choose how often the courier man throws out items, and choose a battle stage to fight in. If that isn't enough, Takara also introduced players to the fun exclusive Showdown Mode, a new multiplayer mode where both players could choose a team of four to duel against each others to the finish similar to Capcom's Street Fighter II's Group Battle Mode and unlike the glitchy Sega CD version, there are no such glitch in this version's Single Player Mode so you could play with your samurai til the end.
There are a ton of combat to play and a lot characters to master in this game. You could play in Story Mode and discover all the endings, have fun in the superior Versus Mode against a friend or rival or in the exclusive Showdown Mode with both taking control of four warriors instead of one including the final boss, Amakusa himself. Since this game had a lot to offer I had to say who cares if it's not arcade perfect, it's still damn fun to play.
Is This Game Worth Buying?
Yes, of course this game is everything an SS fan could ever want. Some may pass this up for the more expensive (but inferior) Sega CD version but who cares as long as this game had arcade comparable graphics, good tunes and sounds, solid control, fun gameplay, tons of replayabilities, and no glitch conflict, this is a must buy in my book. Of course, Earthquake fans will flop to the Super NES or kept their money at the arcade or Neo Geo version but for the rest of us, the Sega Genesis SS is the game to get and besides, all the violence and fatality you see at the arcade are all here; though, not in perfect form but at least you are saving yourself some dough just for playing (and owning) this great 2D weapon-based fighter of an arcade classic.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/28/08, Updated 08/03/12
Game Release: Samurai Shodown (US, 12/31/94)
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