Samurai Showdown Anthology PSP Review - April 22nd 2009

Over the last couple of years we have seen a variety of SNK classics reveive remakes on different consoles. Samurai Showdown is no different except in one respect it’s actually quite a good game or more accurately, set of games.

Normally the moment that you see a SNK collection it’s time to move onto the next shelf, but Samurai Showdown Anthology offers a well designed collection of beat ‘em ups which give a good range of play that will take the older gamers back to their well-spent youth in the arcades. In this collection there are six games from the Samurai Showdown series that each have almost the same features and not that much that you can define as anything but from the 16bit generation.

The gameplay in this collection works the same universally over each of the six titles. It is again similar to how the previous SNK collections have been with the games featuring simple beat-em-up details not unlike that seen in the original Street Fighter games. But this variant just adds the Samurai slant to the proceedings. This offers a slight change in gameplay mechanics in terms of how the characters not only move around the screen but also in the way in which they attack each other. Movement relies a lot more on jumping around the screen instead of the stabled more standard ground-based movements, this means that you need to keep on moving around to get the best angle on your opponent. Also there are the actual fighting moves, which as I said previously, are more focused on quick attacks instead of the sustained heavier actions seen in Street Fighter. Of course the quick light attacks that are needed for victory couple well with the airbound nature of the character movement.

It feels fresh but also dated at the same time

One thing that isn’t an improvement over the original games is the graphics, for all of the games in this collection this is the one thing that pretty much stays the same. The graphics on offer here are very much basic 16 bit 2D sprites with a small amount of new age sprucing but nowhere near enough for it to be at all useful or eye-pleasing. There was one feature that I just can’t understand, the colours on a lot of the characters seem to be dull and muted at times but more vibrant at others. I’m not sure whether that was down to the porting or some problem with the source material.

The only good thing about the control system on the collection is that for a handheld console it works perfectly. This is more than likely due to the fact that the control layout of the original system is extremely close to that of the PSP but nevertheless it works excellently. Attack moves are mapped to the face buttons with top combos on the two shoulder buttons, these can be changed in each game’s options menu, while movement of the characters is performed by the directional buttons or the analog stick. Both the directional buttons and analog stick work fine with play but the directional buttons feel more solid in their movement than that of the stick.

The series has undoubtedly had an effect on other games, but it also borrows a lot

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