Review by CChan

"Shake your maracas and party with Samba de Amigo! Let's Samba!"

Samba de Amigo! That’s the Japanese voice that will shout all over when you start the game and please, lower down the volume a bit if you don’t want the game to give you a heart attack. It’s a totally fun yet curious-looking dancing game so dump your Dance, Dance Revolution right away, or even the 5th Remix can’t beat this game at all, if the game ever exist.

Graphics – 10
Simply perfect! It looks as if it’s in 3D but the game will rotate itself as you play, turning in cute-looking Samba the monkey, two huge bears that don’t look really happy, colourful rainbow background once you get an A rank! Even if you are not up to that point, still, the super smooth quality of other background like cities and such beats other dancing games completely. Source of lighting and other light related effects that are used in the game is simply marvelous.

Music – 10
The music just deserves its award and it’s pretty loud too. Here’s the chance to annoy your neighbours! There are tons of music installed in here, including your favourite Macarena and my personal favourite Samba de Janeiro. Lots of tunes will go on as you play, even when you’re in options and other modes will still have the music running. And I mean tons! Sound effects are pretty cool too, ranging from the maracas sounds that it will produce (that is, if you have a maracas bought together). There will be different voices helping you out in different modes (that is, if you understand Japanese which I don’t) and to cheer you up together completely.

If you are still not satisfied, there are still lots of Samba de Amigo tunes for you to download over the Internet (connecting using a Dreamcast, mind you or you won’t be able to download anything at all) and it will be saved to your memory card which takes only a tiny-ieny-meeny of 2 blocks only. Sonic the Hedgehog songs like the Sonic R’s Super Sonic Racing, Burning Heart’s music and Saturn’s legendary character, NiGHTS.

Gameplay – 10
Not yet satisfied? There are zillions of modes for you to play (okay, not zillions but still quite a number). To really satisfy yourself, you’ll need to get a maracas, together with its own specified dancing mat and an expensive pricey sensor. The objective is simple: dance your way to victory while trying to get a higher rank (A, B, C, D and E). Of course, getting A, B and C means that you have passed (just as you would in examinations) while getting D and E will result a whole big FAILED words appear, together with a voice trailing you.

Now, the basic itself is simple. You just need to shake your maracas accordingly (or press buttons on your normal Dreamcast controller) following the blue buttons that shows the position that you must shake it. If you succeed, cheers of YEAH! will follow together with BOO! if you didn’t do it in time. There will be poses too which you must move your maracas to the pose that it tells you to do on the screen. If you fail, you’re kicked down one rank. Also, before you choose any sort of mode, you need to adjust your height so that the sensor will detect yours easily.

And then, there are the Amigo points that will help push you up one rank. There will be red dots flashing across a position and you need to shake your maracas real quick to gain them. Another way to get them is to shake two maracas on the same position on the right time. You’ll need good timing here but nevertheless, you’re sure be able to get it right.

There are number of modes that you can dance with. Arcade Mode is plain simple and straightforward. Just play one music that you like and then dance accordingly. Plain simple. The Original Mode is almost the same as the Arcade but you’re challenged with harder patterns and is definitely much harder. You’ll need practice for this.

The Challenge Mode needs you to undergo a series of music and dance in order to open up locked music which add up lots of fun to the game. That means, you only start with five or six music only which I think is quite few. There are five levels all together and you need to dance in all sorts of absurd positions or just need to fling out your maracas on the right time and the right position. Difficult? Not if you get through lots of training successfully.

You may also get your own fun through the Party Mode and you can dance against your friend. You can play it all by yourself if you like, but of course, without friends, what is this game for? There are three selectable modes in Party Mode. The Battle Mode needs you to shake your maracas on the right time without making a single mistake. There will be a bomb in the middle of all the positions and your bomb will start growing bigger and bigger if you get more and more points and at last, your bomb will be thrown at your opponent and destroy his or her bomb. There will be also a life gauge and whoever dies first will lose.

Even the Love-Love mode is totally odd itself and the name tells it all. You and your friend need to shake the maracas at the same time and love gauge bar in the middle will go higher and higher and after you completed it, you will see your Love Ranking. Beats me how you’re going to play this game in one player mode but if you know Japanese, maybe you’ll know what it’s all about clearly.

There are also five assorted Mini-Games to play. Mogra Panic is just Whack A Mole with a different type of name and you’ll know what you’re going to do. A mole will pop out of every position and you’re going to shake your maracas at that spot to whack it. Seems funny, isn’t it? Power Rush is similar to Mogra Panic except that a rock will replace a mole. 1, 2 Samba requires you to shake your maracas according the number with a bomb appearing now and then. Pose and Pose? Lives up to its name once more and a whole lot long of poses need to be done. Monkey Replay is just what is sounds like; you’ll need to replay the sequences that are shown first and replay it together.

Training Mode is training where you can just select a music and train yourself hard. This is just the mode for you to practice your maracas moves, do your poses accordingly and efficiently, until you master every single aspect of it. But sadly enough, both Ricky Martin tunes which are a great hit in the arcades are removed, due to a so-called contract with Sony, they have to be gone.

Controls: Maracas – 10
Controls with maracas are perfect, and they work fine with this game only. Buying this controllers cost you a lot and Samba de Amigo won’t be fun at all without them. The maracas pack come together with a dance pack which are different than Dance, Dance Revolution’s with the Samba de Amigo theme in it. What’s expensive is the sensor which is highly sensitive and it’s located just below the maracas. The sensor bar will then detect according to your height (now you understand why you have to select your height). Two buttons will be on your maracas, to select and cancel. Simple yet expensive.

Controls: Dreamcast Controller – 6
Works horrid! With this game, you’ll need to throw away your Dreamcast controller and use the perfect maracas. It’s not simple as it sounds and you’ll need to prepare for buttons-mashings till it made your hands sore. You can use the D-pad or Analog Stick, or even the A,B,X and Y buttons (with a whole lot of combination series) and I can tell you, I’ve been through that and it don’t really help a lot AND I’m still stuck on the first level in the Challenge Mode. Get a maracas and it’ll suit you better.

Replay Value – 9
It’s real fun if you play against your friends and if you play by yourself, it could be fun to play too but not as fun as playing against your friends. Challenge your friends against the Battle mode or even the Love-Love mode! It may make you look silly but still, the total fun is still there and you could make your friends laugh. Samba de Amigo is just a nice game if you want to held a birthday party and want all your friends challenge against each other.

Overall – 10
A perfect dancing game and it’s real cool! Entertaining monkeys, bears and cheetahs will dance along with you together with engrossing and exciting music. Grab one copy of Samba de Amigo now and you can see how addictive you’ll be! The price of maracas may be a bit of problem but still, fun is best of all.

Samba de Amigo

- Fun, fun, FUN!
- Entertaining music!
- Totally addictive!


- Maracas is a bit too pricey.
- Make you look silly with all the dance about.
- Hmmm… nothing?

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/10/00, Updated 09/10/00

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