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Name: Samurai Spirits 2 (72.00% in 5 votes)
Type: FTG
Platform: WINDOWS
Company: SNK
Release date: 1994
Reviewed by: KurenaiJiku

Deciding to rummage through my old pile o' games, I came upon the old SNK 2D fighter; Samurai Spirits 2. Better known as Samurai Showdown in the US, it was a main contender against the Street Fighter series when SF2 made it's first debut. Of course we all know that isn't the case nowadays. Samurai Spirits 2 lacks many of the better strengths and holds many of the weaknesses relative to the fighting games of today. Capcom of course stands upon the premiere fighting game pedestal. However, in it's time Samurai Spirits was second best.

This game is about a bunch of folks with various weapon skills clashing together creating a very Japanese ambience. The game is centered around samurais and ninjas. Even though there's a French fencing woman named Charlotte, the dominant mood and theme is still Japanese. That's a good thing though. If they attempted balance too many cultures equally, it would be incredibly muddled rather than an unified theme. Aside from this good thing, there are many other good things; a good balance of plentiful characters, incredibly nicely drawn backgrounds for it's time, and a unique style of gameplay in comparison to Capcom fighters. Each character is nicely drawn and animated, it's own diversified moves, and a play style substantially different. The visual designs definitely mark a "World Heroes" and "Fatal Fury" influence, but are still unique from other games. Unfortunately, if you were to place all the characters into the real world, the costume designs are a bit a-whack. They are highly unrealistic, and seemingly is the opposite effect of what SNK wanted for players to feel.

For gameplay, it's pretty much like Street Fighter 2. Weak punches and kicks all the way up to fierce attacks; a 6 button configuration. By executing certain directional movements and button presses, your character will perform a variety of attacks; quite trivial stuff for any person who's seen a 2D fighter nowadays. What I found disappointing when I looked back at this game, is that the gameplay is really slow paced. It's definitely not your Marvel VS Capcom, and combos are an almost nil. The game pauses a good couple of seconds whenever a character strikes another character with a fierce punch/attack. It creates a sense of drama, but definitely devoids the gameplay of flow, grace, and consistency. Not only this, I have realized that the game runs in a annoyingly low frame rate; 15 fps or probably even less. This makes it incredibly difficult to fight sometimes. When the gameplay requires you to minimize "fake" attacks and rely on precision gameplay, a player must avoid at all costs wasting attacks on a blocking opponent due to freeze and recovery time. However, there aren't enough frames in the game so players can see what they should do next. Playing this game for several minutes after several years made me realize that the gameplay is really like; you do a move, the enemy does a move, you do a move, and so on and so forth. I guess that's acceptable, but many 2D fighting games rely on combos for players to have more fun due to the sensation of interaction and participation. Spirits 2 just seems like a tennis version of 2D fighting; a simple exchange of singular moves. There are combos of attacks for some characters, but it's not justified as there are substantial pauses inbetween attacks for drama's sake. These pauses actually do harm to the flow of the gameplay.

The graphics are fine for it's day and age, but the sound definitely needs to be fixed. Ok, so it sounds about the same as the first edition of Street Fighter 2. But after going to the Dreamcast with it's Yamaha sound system, you can't really go back. The sound is simply horrendous, but of course I can't bash it due to the technical limitations of game development in it's earlier days.

Keeping this short, the game doesn't really offer anything at all. If you were to buy this game, get it dirt cheap somewhere. If you're a fan of SNK games, you'll really like this game as it's one of the better so called SNK fighting games. If you have a Dreamcast or god forbid a Playstation, go spend your money and time on that. But if you want to visit the old gaming field, this isn't a bad game. Guaranteed that it won't hold your interest too long though as Capcom crushed this type of gameplay many years ago.

Graphics (technical) - 3.5/5
Graphics (creative) - 3.5/5

Sound (technical) - 2/5
Sound (creative) - 2.5/5

Technical Gameplay - 2.5/5
Fun Factor - 3/5

Diversity of Features - 2.5/5
Story - 2.5/5

Overall Value - 3/5
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