I remember the trips to the local department store to play the arcade version of Samurai Shodown 2 and this PC version is nearly a perfect translation. You don't even have to install anything on your computer to play the game if you have DirectX. All the same characters, their moves and backgrounds are here but certain qualities ruined what could have been a fantastic game.
Many of the features such as Japanese voicing and text subtitles are identical to its arcade counterpart. Each character's moves are precisely the same and actions like only certain fighters being able to jump off the walls have been included.
The first problem I encountered was documentation. This normally isn't a focus of criticism in a videogame but with Samurai Shodown 2, it really hurts gameplay because of the lack of characters' moves depicted in the instruction manual. Even though the arcade game would not have the moves available, a computer game should contain them in the manual. In fact, there is no documentation whatsoever and while this may work for some arcade games (such as shooters), a fighting game needs at least minimal information.
The fast and furious action is wonderful, though, and each character is different. They all have unique weapons that can be lost during battle and all possess certain special moves. From the Ninja's prowess and Katana sword of Hanzo to the Edward Scissorhands-like claws of Gen-an, Samurai Shodown 2 has fantastic characters.
As examples, Galford has a dog that helps out during battle if you enter certain commands, Nakoruyu has a hawk that can dive bomb his opponent, and Cham Cham wields a deadly boomerang that can knock out the largest of adversaries.
The graphics are an issue. When played in 320x240 resolution in a small window on your computer, the graphics are perfect but, if you increase the resolution and screen size, they progressively get worse. By the time you reach full screen view, you can see the pixels in characters' swords and the graphics are fuzzy.
It can also be quite aggravating to play the game in such a small window but you can get used to it in time. When in the smallest resolution, the graphics resemble those in the arcade version. Backgrounds are multi-layered and change when you move. An example is the wheat field where several layers of wheat sway with the wind and give you a real 3D sense of being as your character moves. Additionally, moving characters of all sorts can be seen in the background.
For a computer game that you can just pop into your CD-ROM drive, Samurai Shodown 2 is packed with arcade-style action. Even though the graphics quality dwindles when you play the game in full-screen mode, they're still fairly good. You'll have to play the game for hours and hours to figure out all the different special moves since they're not documented.
Overall, though, Samurai Shodown 2 is every bit like playing the original. The moves are the same and if you've ever enjoyed playing this fighter at the arcade, now you can do it at home. No more traveling to the local mall, department store or bowling alley to enjoy this fierce Japanese fighting game!
Graphics: The graphics are great in the small window but diminish when enlarged to full screen. So you'll have to sacrifice some of the great Arcade graphics for an easier look at the action. When the screen is small, backgrounds, weapons, and characters are highly detailed.
Sound: The sound is identical to the Arcade game. With Japanese language spoken by the characters and Japanese music playing in the background, Samurai Shodown 2's sound is an integral part of the fighting experience.
Enjoyment: The game is very enjoyable despite the small screen size. The game could have been enhanced had the designers improved this aspect. For those who enjoyed the Arcade game, it's obvious this version is a tribute to it in almost every way.
Replay Value: From the beginning, you have a choice of 12 different fighters; the idea that once you win the game with one you'll want to quit is not valid. Because of the lack of documentation, you'll be playing the game repeatedly just to learn the many different moves by each of the characters!
Best known for their Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting series, SNK has been one of the forefather of fighting games (along with Capcom, of course). As we know it today, SNK is the first to develop the Roll system and the Power system (yes, Capcom actually copied these system). In Samurai Spirits 2, they added new features, Weapons, and fatalities (Switch to Japanese mode and maximum POW to turn on the fatalities). The game offers fluid animation, lots of possible combos, and lots of action! It's a pity that this game never reached the shore of United States. IMO, this game is one of the best fighting games for PC. If you're a fan of fighting games, you are a fool if you don't try this one out!
People who downloaded Samurai Spirit 2 (a.k.a. Samurai Showdown 2) have also downloaded:
Samurai Shodown VS. MUGEN, Fatal Fury 3, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams (a.k.a. Street Fighter Zero), Primal Rage, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Street Fighter II
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