With SNK Playmore’s wealth of quality games a number of compilations which originally had their debut on the PS2 are now being ported to the Wii. This collection contains a collection of the Samurai Showdown games from one through to six. The Samurai Showdown games whilst popular in the arcades and on the Neo Geo have tended to be more of a niche game amongst 2D fighters. With its slower paced more tactical fights having a very different feel to other games in the genre.
Having recently played the King of Fighters collection I was keen to see how this latest SNK collection compared. Visually I have never found the Samurai Showdown series to be as interesting as many of its competitors with bland backdrops but this is merely a preference. From a technical stand point the games look as they should and should bring back fond memories for fans. Load times are quick, frame rates consistent and the music has been faithfully recreated.
The pleasant animated intro gave me high hopes for the overall presentation which was soon shattered upon pressing start. Menus are basic and although easy to navigate are nowhere near as nicely presented as the King of Fighters which themselves seemed merely functional upon review. Rather strangely the collection from one through to five are accessed via a separate icon to that of the sixth in the series.
As for the controls the classic pad proves to be your best option again. The more fighting games I play with this pad the more I enjoy it. Although not as nice as using an arcade stick it does prove to handle many of the quarter and half circle movements with ease. Meaning you can get on with enjoying the game and learning its intricacies without fighting against the joypad.
Unlike the king of fighters collection though where the most recent edition was likely your first choice things are a little more complicated here. As the series has evolved its complexity has ramped up with each addition to the series. This is great for fans but becomes increasingly off putting to newcomers to the series who would be recommended to start with one of the first two games in order to get a grasp of how the fight systems work. Early games in the series already have a rage gauge to learn how to balance but by the time you get to the sixth in the series you have to contend with nine different spirit styles with one of these containing eight variations.
Any extra content is pretty thin on the ground with a character editor that simply allows you to adjust the colour of your fighters outfit and will hardly interest anyone for more than a few minutes. Then there is a mini game that seems so tacked on I can hardly imagine fans of 2D fighters having any interest in it. You are given a choice of four animals with your choice affecting the difficulty and then thrown into a stage where u must catch food via moving left and right. As if this wasn’t quite bad enough you can only move left and right by tilting the Wiimote with the results being slow and cumbersome. Making things worse is the fact that this poor mini game is the only addition to extend the game through single player gameplay. Training mode is very basic and does away with the king of fighters collections innovations. Also absent is the challenge mode or any unlockables.
Having been impressed by the King of Fighters collection I feel slightly let down by this recent Samurai Showdown anthology. The games included are favourable and the emulation will satisfy fans of the series but many like myself will feel let down by its basic approach to presentation. For those entering the anthology in order to relive some of their favourite games this will prove competent but lacks the extra polish that could have elevated it to a higher standing.
Hi Score: Emulation, Nice collection of many games from the series
Lo Score: Basic Presentation, Lack of extra features
Final Score: 6 out of 10