Samurai Shodown 2 review by Corbie
|Graphics: 8.5 Fun: 8.5||Overall: 8.5|
|Sound: 8.0||Gameplay: 8.5|
Let's face it the first Samurai Shodown game was SNK's ticket to the big time. After many failed attempts at creating a game that could actually hold a candle to Capcom's much vaunted Street Fighter II game, SNK had finally done it. Samurai Shodown grabbed a cult-like following before finally breaking out in the arcades as the outstanding fighting game it was. And instead of basking in the glory of their victory, SNK decided to make this great game even better. And thus was born Samurai Shodown 2. The game introduced us to 4 new characters as well as a host of new backgrounds. The gameplay pretty much stayed the same with only minor improvements here and there. But like they say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" And while Samurai Shodown didn't do as well in American arcades as the first installment did, it's actually an excellent weapon-based fighting game and is still my favorite of the series.
You won't find any innovative combo systems or a lot of fancy special moves here but what you will find is very responsive and crisp control that seems to fit the game perfectly. The one thing that I think really sets the Samurai Shodown series apart from earlier SNK fighters is this crisp control system. The control in most earlier SNK fighters felt very sluggish and unresponsive and really was what made them such a chore to play. SNK didn't change much with the control system in Samurai Shodown 2 which is okay because it was fine just the way it was. Take my word for it if you liked the first SS game you are gonna like SS2 that much more. Very well done.
The graphics were really good in Samurai Shodown but they are even better in SS2. All of the background are very colorful and vibrant and there is quite a bit of animation in each of them. The characters themselves look absolutely wonderful and seem even more detailed than they were in the first game. And I must commend SNK on the 4 new characters as they are really great additions to the game. Overall even 7 years and several great fighting games later the graphics in SS2 still stand the test of time and look very impressive even when compared to some of the newer Neo fighters.
The sound and music in Samurai Shodown 2 is very similar to Samurai Shodown. A few added touches here and there but nothing to write home about. In fact the only problem with the sound I had with this game was that after long playing sessions it began to become a little redundant. Could have been a little better in my opinion but it's still better than than SS1.
Bottom line is that Samurai Shodown 2 is one of the better fighters on the Neo Geo. And although I think SS3 & SS4 are deeper and more innovative fighters, I still prefer SS2 over the rest. There is just something about its simplicity and crips feel that always brings me back for more. And it has the best cast of characters of the SS series in my opinion. And I think those are the things that make this game so much fun to play. Not to mention the fact that playing as Nicotine still cracks me up after all this time. I sometimes wonder what SNK was thinking when they hatched this guy.
Samurai Shodown 2 is everything a sequel should be. Better graphics, better sound, new characters, and more moves. You couldn't ask for much more. And while SS2 can't compete with the depth of some of SNK's newer fighters like The Last Blade, there is something to be said for SS2's simple fighting style and unique character line up. Because even though I spend most of my time these days hacking away at The Last Blade 1 & 2, I still find myself coming back to this game time and time again. And that has to say something. If you have a Neo Geo and you have the means, you should own this game. It's still one of the best.
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