I love the Samurai Shodown series and have done since I stumbled across a Neo-Geo cab wit the original game in it when I was a kid. Today, I am looking at the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive port of the first game. The original game in the series actually holds up pretty well when you get to play the Neo-Geo original, but how does this 16-bit version of the game gold up?
Two Samurais Go To War
As you would expect, each of the available characters has their own reasons for being in the game and why they are going up against the big bad. While it may not be a modern Mortal Kombat in terms of its storytelling. I have always liked how from the very first game in the series, Samurai Shodown, SNK went all in with trying to make the world in this game feel as large as possible. Taking the time to beat the game with each character so you get their ending is worth it. As you have probably guessed, the longevity of the game is greatly expanded if you have a friend to play against.
Shrinking Down That Neo-Geo Cart!
Have you ever seen a Neo-Geo cartridge? The thing is as big if not bigger than a model one Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. So, you have to keep in mind that some sacrifices had to be made in bringing this game to the console. To be fair, they did a fantastic job, and in no way do I feel that this is a lazy port. Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, the scaling. The arcade version features a really cool scaling effect that the 16-bit Sega simply could not do. Instead, they decided to stick with the closer viewpoint. This was the right decision; I say this because the SNES version uses the further out viewpoint and it is not as good.
Color Me Bad
Usually, the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive’s lack of a string color pallet can make games not look as good as they should. In the case of Samurai Shodown, the Genesis color pallet is a real strength as they were able to make the game look dark and moody. The characters are much smaller and lacking in the finer details of their big brother, but they still look and move well here.
Take Me To Six Button Heaven
The gameplay on offer here is good. It plays similar to Street Fighter and each character has their own weapon, moves, and style. I liked how different each character felt and there was not an overuse of special moves in this game. Each character has their own move set and you are encouraged to really learn a character and a lot of the strategy comes in the form of knowing when to time your attacks properly. The problem I have with this version of the game is that you really need a 6-button controller to get the best out of it. The game is playable with the three-button controller, better than Street Fighter in my opinion. However, it still requires you to do one extra step and think a bit more than if you were using a six-button controller.
I enjoyed what SNK did with the original Samurai Shodown when they brought it to Sega’s 16-bit bundle of joy. It looks good, plays fine, and in all it is a very solid conversion of an arcade classic. It may not have made people put down Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, but this game more than does its own thing to stand out. I will say if you have a six-button controller, add on an extra half-point to the score.
- I liked how different each character was
- They made it look the best they could on the Mega Drive
- It encourages skill over button mashing
- It is cool to see each ending
- Playing against a friend is always a lot of fun
- Sadly, the Sega 3-button controller does not cut it
- The sequel is better
Processor: PC compatible, P-200
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode Multiplayer (Hotseat)