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International Karate + - Commodore64
Xyphoes Fantasy - AmstradCPC
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Universe - Amiga
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Game info

Samurai Showdown

Samurai Showdown
DeveloperTakara / SNK
Reviewed byndial
Samurai Showdown is the first title of the Samurai Showdown series. It's a great 2D fighting game initially developed and published in 1993 by SNK for their Neo Geo arcade cabinets. The game was converted in 1994 to various home platforms, including the Nintendo Super NES, Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive / Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Sega CD, Sega Saturn, Panasonic 3DO, FM Towns and PlayStation. There was also a much later version on the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Wii consoles. The game is also known in Japan as Samurai Spirits.
Samurai ShowdownSTORY / GAMEPLAY
At the end of the 18th century, Japan was entrapped in a wave of natural disasters and cruel wars. Life became a constant and brutal battle for survival. The maelstrom of evil began spreading across the seas to other countries, and it seemed as if the whole world would soon be doomed from an age of darkness. When evil started, a mysterious man with dark powers preaching at a heretic religion appeared! And it was quite obvious that violence and evil related to this very heresy, for war and disaster followed as soon as it was spread. The man's name is Shiro Tokisada Amakusa, and his powers grew stronger and stronger, until nothing could stand in his way. Little did the world know that Amakusa was actually the servant of evil Ambrosia, and that he was sent to draw the world into a vortex of chaos and destruction. Now, as Amakusa's influence spreads wider, it's time for the great battle! It's time for a SAMURAI SHOWDOWN!
Well, the story doesn't really say too much about the game, except that the Samurai warriors will ultimately fight each other in that chaos. Focusing more on quick and powerful single strikes than combos, slow motion was added to intensify damage dealt from hard hits (much like the famous Mortal Kombat series). All the characters hold weapons and the main goal is to battle against the most fearless warriors of the 18th century, each with his own unique weapon and moves, by using your sword and your kick and punch techniques. There is also a 'Rage' gauge featured that rises every time you are injured and gives you extra power when at maximum! The original coin-op gameplay features a variety of special attacks (combos) that they are not found on the Sega Game Gear (and the Nintendo Gameboy Color) version, flashing Katana swords and fantastic moves. Note that the fights are very intensive and include a large amount of gore, at least on the original version (the home platforms either excluded or had the blood painted in other than red color)! The Sega Game Gear port has 9 fighting characters available (Gen-An, Galford, Haohmaru, Ukyo, Charlotte, Nakoruru, Jubei, Hanzo and Kyoshiro), while the original (SNK arcade) version has 12. Honestly, it is one of the best fighting games for the Game Gear, right alongside the Mortal Kombat series.

The Sega Game Gear version includes all original stages with plenty of colors and most of the special moves (that play really smooth). But it has no combos or fatalities. Each fight can take place during day or night and thus the graphics change accordingly. There are some sort of animated backdrops here as well, but downgraded from the original due to Game Gear's hardware limitations. Each screen is also scaled down and thus some of the original backgrounds are cropped due to the small screen of this console. The game's sound is good, including most of the original music theme albeit in a downgraded form, whilst there are some nice sound effects but no sampled voices.
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Gameplay sample
Hardware information

Game Gear

Game GearCPU: 8bit Zilog Z80 at 3.58 MHz
GRAPHICS: A standard of 3,2" with 160x144 pixel resolution, 32 on-screen colours out of a palette of 4096. It support 64 hardware sprites (8x8 or 8x16 pixels). Video memory is 16 KB wide.
SOUND: 3 square wave generators, 1 noise generator, the system has a mono speaker (or stereo via headphone output)
The Game Gear (default) color palette
12bit RGB 4096-colours palette (32 on screen)
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