Samurai Shodown 2 (Switch)

The NEO GEO Pocket Color is one of my favorite handhelds.  For a while I even liked it better than the Game Boy Color!  So that’s why I’m glad they’re releasing more of the games on the Nintendo Switch!  The NGPC was made by SNK, who is most famous for their fighting games, so many of their most popular series were on the handheld as well.  One of SNK’s most well-known fighter series is Samurai Shodown.  They even had a new entry in the series this past year.  I didn’t get to review that one, though.  Too bad.  But I’m glad I got to review this pocket sized Samurai Shodown 2!

Samurai Shodown 2 is a one on one fighter with a medieval Japanese setting.  You can pick from over a dozen characters, including Haomaru, the ninja Hanzo, Galford and his dog Poppy, Nakaruru and her little sister Rimururu, and many more!  Even though this fighter is on a portable system and only uses two buttons, you’ll still use a lot of button and joystick combinations when you pull off moves, so it’s nearly every bit as complex as a regular fighter.  One thing you can do when you pick your character is choose two different fighting styles.  The game calls them “Slash” and “Burst” but the in-game instruction manual calls them “Chivalry” and “Treachery.”  What this means for you is that each character has two sets of moves.  For instance, “Chivalry/Slash” Galford uses a lot of attacks involving his dog Poppy.  But for his “Treachery/Burst” mode, he loses his pup pal (oh no) in favor of more magical electric attacks.

Modes of play include Story Mode, where you play out each character’s tale.  Although you end up fighting the same characters in the same areas.  One thing I don’t like about this mode is the last boss is really cheap.  He’s a giant purple monster chained to a wall, but he can attack you anywhere with falling rocks, and if you get too close, he’ll eat you!  I could never defeat it, even on Easy.  There is also a Survival Mode where you try and defeat as many opponents as possible with one life.  The Vs. Mode on the NGPC used a link cable for you to battle your friends, but here they get around that by having a second NGPC handheld pop up for the other player to choose characters on a split screen!  Neat!  Unfortunately, one mode that you can’t play on the Switch is the Collection Mode.  Here you could trade cards with friends via the link cable, but you can’t do that here.  And last is Game Option where you can choose your difficulty as well as other rules.

Since this game came out 20 years ago, it doesn’t have a lot of the quality of life features that many of today’s games have.  But luckily, there is an option screen that takes care of a lot of that.  You view the action on a mock up NEO GEO Pocket Color handheld (which is weird when you are playing the handheld on the Switch handheld mode), but you can choose to zoom in on the screen to make it much easier to see.  You can also toggle various screen filters, rewind, and view the game’s original instruction booklet.  Only real problem I had is the game is too hard, even on Easy mode.  But then, I’ve always found Samurai Shodown games to be more difficult than other fighters anyway.  While Gals Fighters is still my favorite NGPC fighter, I’m glad they put this one on the Switch as well, and I hope they continue to release more NGPC games!

Kid Factor:

Samurai Shodown 2 is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Violent References.  It’s a fighting game, so you hit other warriors with swords and other attacks and they fall over when hit.  But the characters are very cartoony and there is no blood, unlike most of the main Samurai Shodown games which are usually a bit more violent.  Reading skill is helpful for the text and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

Just for fun, in the comments section, tell me your favorite Samurai Shodown characters.  My favorite is Poppy, Galford’s dog.  Earthquake was also neat because he took up half the screen in the arcade.  I also think Shiki, Mina Majinkina, and Iroha are cool.  They’re a bit too fanservice-y, but still neat characters.  Later!  –Cary

One Response to “Samurai Shodown 2 (Switch)”

  1. I used to love playing the original Samurai Showdown in the arcade. My favorite fighter was Charlotte, the French knight with the rapier.

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