Bring me to the main page   Bring me to the reviews index

Second samurai logo  A1200 untauglich

V or rund zwei Jahren stürmte der „First Samurai“ den Amiga, damals im Auftrag des zwischenzeitlich verschiedenen Mirrorsoft-Ablegers Imageworks. Ersatzweise läßt nun Psygnosis den zweiten Fernost-Raufbold von der Leine.

Second samurai Frei nach der Divise “Never change a winning team” hat die Crew um den in 8-Bit-Zeiten so rührigen Programmierer Raffaele Cecco (er hat u.a. die C64-Kultknallerei „Io“ mitentwickelt) zwar Detailverbesserungen am zweiten Samurai vorgenommen, doch im großen und ganzen sieht er seinem Vorgänger verblüffend ähnlich. Aber das ist ja nicht unbedingt eine Schande...

Keine Überraschung also, daß auch der Dämonenkönig aus Teil eins wieder seinen Auftritt in der Vorgeschichte hat, diesmal dürfte er ganz Japan in Schutt und Asche legen. Und weil das traditionell nur Godzilla darf, reist der rächende Held dem Bösewicht nun durch drei Zeitzonen nach, wo er sich mit dessen Stachelwürmern, Flugechsen und Robotern herumschlägt. Abgesehen von den teilweise sehr originellen Endgegnern ist die Innovation hier zwar irgendwo unterwegs verlorengegangen, doch alle für Action-Plattformen unerläßlichen Zutaten sind vorhanden: Während man sich zunächst nur mit Handkante und Fußritten zur Wehr setzt, sammelt sich im Spielverlauf ein schöner Vorrat an jederzeit individuell abrufbaren Extrawaffen (Schwert, Wurfmesser, Smartbombs, etc) an, Zusatzleben oder frische Energie liegen häufig zum Aufklauben bereit, und wer suchet, der findet auch Bonuskammern etwa oder sogar komplette Subgames wie z.B. „Asteroids“-Variante. Wer das alles schon aus dem Vorgänger zu kennen glaubt, dem sei der ebenso neue wie launige Duo-Modus ans fernöstliche Herz gelegt, denn hier ist Teamarbeit genauso möglich wie ein heißes Duell um begehrte Extraboni.

Second samurai Soweit wäre ja alles in Butter, doch leider ist der Levelaufbau nicht besonders abwechslungsreich; zudem können geübte Zocker ihren Samurai binnen weniger Stunden bis zur Finalen Auseinanderstzung führen. Außerdem hat man sich ein paar technische Schnitzer geleistet; Um z.B. den Optionsscreen störungsfrei bearbeiten zu können, muß die üblicherweise an Port I angeschlossene Maus abgeklemmt werden, da sonst der Cursor willkürlich auf und ab rast. Systemabstürze waren beim Test ebenfalls zu vermelden, Festplatten und Zweitlaufwerke werden nicht unterstützt, und am A1200er bekamen wir seit langer Zeit mal wieder Grafikfehler zu sehen – tröstlicherweise soll die 32-Bit Schleuder aber demnächst mit einer 256farbigen Spezialversion bedacht werden. Doch auch in der Normal-Fassung agieren schon hübsch animierte Sprites vor bunten und ebenfalls animierten Berg-, Wald- und Wiesenszenarien, das Parallax-Scrolling kann überzeugen, die Musikstücke sind prima und die Sound-FX geradezu orchestral.

Einen Hit kann sich der Second Samurai aufgrund des mangelnden Feintuning und der wenigen neuen Einfälle somit nicht an den Kimono heften, ein würdiger und unterhaltsamer Nachfolger ist er aber allemal – besonders für Kämpfer mit Begleitung. (rl)

Amiga Joker, February 1994, p.16

SECOND SAMURAI
(PSYGNOSIS)
PLATTFORM - ACTION
73%
"KAMPFSTARK"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
75%
77%
75%
80%
69%
69%
VARIABEL: 4 STUFEN
PREIS DM 79,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
3/NEIN
NEIN
LEVELCODES
ANLEITUNG


Second samurai logo

Samurai or ninja? It is hard to tell with these ‘modern’ haircuts.

Game: Second Samurai
Publisher: Psygnosis
Authors: Vivid Image
Price: £29.99
Release: Out now

O Second samurai ne thing that has plagued the computer industry since its inception is petty machine rivalry. The early days saw the world gripped by pointless and depressing arguments along the lines of “My X I better than your Y”, where X and Y were variables dictated by current computer trends. It is a little know fact that the major computer manufacturers got together in 1986 in order to bring the so-called Tedious Put-Down Wars. Sadly, the talks fell apart when Clive Sinclair proposed that while, yes, every computer had its classic games and hence none could be regarded as actually being worse than any other, you really had to admit that those on the Speccy were, in a non-tedious put-downish way, far superior to those on all other formats. The representative from Commodore argued “Yeah, baldy? Come over here and say that,” and things got unsalvageably out of hand when Alan Sugar started putting the boot in (Allegedly – Ed..

Things have never been pretty much the same ever since, and the whole thing has been given a ghastly new leash of life with the relatively recent popularity of consoles. Hopefully AMIGA POWER readers are far too mature to engage in such feeble drivel and will not, for example, guffaw disdainfully at anybody who happens to own a SNES when I reveal that the long-awaited SNES conversion of the excellent Amiga platformer First Samurai was absolute crap.

Second samurai Second Samurai, the polite-ripple-of-applausingly-named sequel, treads much the same path as the original. Yon Demon King is again legging it through the time lanes with you in hot pursuit and again the soundtrack is replete with groovy orchestral samples and feudal Japanesey groans and yells, including everyone’s favourite, ‘Oh no! My Sword!’. The big difference this time round is that Vivid Image have cleverly exploited the dual meaning of the title and introduced a second samurai: it is our old friend Simultaneous Two-Player Game once more. So, naturally, Second Samurai is at least twice as good as the original. Or is it? Hmmm? Well, actually, no it isn’t. The best two-player games are based on conflict, with the two of you locked in mortal combat over the racing track or the fighting ring or whatever. Even with the archetypical co-operative two-player game - Gauntlet 2 there was an element of landing your friend in it by nipping round a corner and leaving him to face the opposition alone, or letting the ‘it’ monster get him then screaming with laughter as the monsters were drawn towards him. (Naturally, he’d be doing his best to pass on ‘it’ curse to you while all this was happening). Due to the nature of Second Samurai - big graphics, platform gameplay – the only real sense of interpersonal conflict comes when you both rush for the bonus weapons.

You cannot split up, you cannot trick the other player into wandering into an ambush (because the monsters will go for you as well) and even the sword-conserving magic force from the first game is a shared commodity. There is an option whereby your blows hurt the other player, but this is far more frustrating than fun as you end up getting in a terrible mess trying to stay out of each other’s way. I dunno. Obviously, the two-player mode adds that ‘human element’ to the game, and there is no denying it is a bit of a laugh, but, well, it is old-fashioned. Instead of adding massively to the gameplay, it just feels tacked onto the one-player game. Most dammingly, when I was playing on my own, I did not miss the second player at all.
So it is lucky the one player game is so darn funky then, isn’t it?

Second samurai One of the criticisms you could aim at dear old First Samurai without fear of being trampled underfoot by its legions of fans was that the puzzles were terrible. You came to an apparently impassable bit, you rang a handy magic bell and some wizened old bloke appeared and solved the thing for you. At least in the sequel you get to work it out for yourself, which typically involves thinking about the mechanics of the puzzle for one-sixth of a second and then walking back three screens to pick up that funny object you saw lying around in a suspicious fashion.
A-ha, but then you have to carry it to the scene of the puzzle, threading carefully because you cannot fight with your hands full. And every now and again there will be a very neat problem to take you by surprise. An example. At one point, the floor is littered with deadly revolving spikes. If you are quick and you are lucky, you can probably get through. But wait! What about the sentient stone clock (don’t ask) guarding that prize in the screen above? Jump up, kick away that up-to-now inexplicably collapsible floor, and before you can lay butter the block has crushed the spikes into the ground. Hurrah.

The basic platform gameplay has been wisely left alone. Lashings of punching and kicking cruelly-spiked minions, then getting hold of your famous sword and having a go with that as well. And bosses? This game has bosses to spare, two or three sprinkled around each level in a Turrican sort of way, and all of them cheerfully grotesque. The levels themselves deserve a special mention, packed with secret bonus rooms, atmospherically decked out in glorious competent-artist-o-vision, sufficiently differing from their fellows to raise excited questions in the House, and each featuring a unique and terrible death trap, from leaping fireballs to razor-edged mechanical crusher. Ah, it fair does you good to get away from jumping on cute nasties’ heads in order to knock them off pleasantly rural landscapes.

The difficulty curve is also pitched just right. You find yourself really wanting to see the next level, you will get that vitally important bit further each time, and the size of the game (three worlds of four huge levels) guarantees a fair bit of playing time before the Demon King is finally defeated in an undoubtedly ludicrously protracted climax. (Such is the absurdly large talent of the programmers that the game comes on a single disk, with a second providing an entirely wonderful piece of introductory musik. Disk access is kept to a minimum – only new worlds, not levels, need to be loaded – and overall the game does as much as possible to keep you enfolded in its atmospheric embrace. What a delicious change).) Oh look, I will put it to you straight. Second Samurai is a brilliantly programmed, terrifically playable, spectacularly addictive, graphically excellent and sonically boffo game with a hugely average two-player mode. I cannot wait for Third Samurai, where no doubt we will discover the Demon King managed to escape into another dimension or had a twin brother called Bernard or something.
Jonathan Nash

Amiga Power, Issue 32, December 1993, p.90



"It is our old friend, Simultanous Two-Player Game"


Upper UPPERS Improvements all round on the original game, which means a platform game of gigantic loveliness. It is big, it is playable, each of the twelve levels brings new features, the difficulty curve is spot on, there are loads of secret rooms, no annoying disk hassles and you have got a sword.
Downer DOWNERS The simultaneous two-player mode is disappointingly lacklustre, and you could argue that the whole thing is just another platform game. (But let me tell you, you won’t find another platformer more polished than this).

THE BOTTOM LINE
Raf Cecco and co do it again. Those improvements I mentioned over the original are not all that major, but they are more like refinements to an already impressively-tiered cake. Er. It just goes to show that there is life in the platform game yet, damn its eyes.
90

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE

A1200 Second Samurai is just as stupendously fab when it is running on the A1200 but, strangely, no more so. Still, eh?



Second samurai logo

PSYGNOSIS OUT DECEMBER £29.99

Second samurai G ames, unlike children, deserve lots of love and affection. In fact, the more you give them the better they become. Vivid Image have spent the last two years lavishing Second Samurai with as much care as they could manage. It shows. This game has got more polish than a jumbo size can of Mr Sheen.

Second Samurai picks up where First Samurai left off. Our lone Samurai is continuing his pursuit through time, of a demon that killed his master. After vanquishing the horny beast at the end of the first game, Sam took a bit too long finishing him off. Tricky things these demons, more lives than a cat and with a habit of turning up when you least expect them. Anyway, this one has fled back to Ancient Japan so Sam has got to follow him back there to wreak his revenge. The problem is that demon has left 10 levels of henchmen-invested platforms behind to slow old Sam down.
To make matters worse, he starts the game with nothing more than his hands and feet to defend himself with. Luckily, some careless geezer has left various weapons scattered around, like a huge sword, throwing daggers and even a special magical bomb. Sam will need all the help he can get ‘cos the demon’s henchmen are a tough bunch. There are snakes, beetles, robots, ninjas and other samurai to contend with.

One major fault in First Samurai’s game design was the vastness of the levels. Players often ended up wandering around searching aimlessly for the exit. That error has been ably corrected here, though, with each level split up into small manageable chunks; the ends of which are punctuated by a tough mini-boss creature. In addition, the more of every level you explore, the more of the end of game sequence you see and boy is there a lot to it!
This element is only of many that give Second Samurai a console feel. With three-layer parallax scrolling, bags of colour and unique graphic sets for each of the three worlds you feel you are playing a 16Mb console cartridge.

So much has been stuffed into Second Samurai that it would be hard to do it real justice in any review. Vivid Image have clearly thought long and hard about all the little things that make players warm to a product. For instance, you can alter the sound level of the in-game tune whilst playing without affecting the spot effects!

There is plenty of sub-games, with many pastiches on old classics like Asteroids. There is even a section where Sam straps on a rocket pack and the game turns into a shoot ‘em up. The icing on the cake is that it all hangs together so cleanly with only a few slight flaws showing through.
Second Samurai is an Amiga games classic. Do yourself a favour and rush out and buy a copy now.
Jon Sloan

83%

CU Amiga, December 1993, "HOT! The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" – Amiga games Special, p.22


Second samurai AGA logo  AGA   A1200 Speziell

Vor zwei Monaten eroberte der Plattform-Samurai den Amiga in der Standardversion, allerdings nicht ganz ohne Macken. Waren acht Wochen gunug, um die Mängel in der Spezialfassung für den 1200er auszumerzen?

Second samurai AGA Im Vertrauen auf Euer Gedächtnis schenken wir uns die dämonische Vorgeschichte diesmal und stürzen uns gleich auf das opulente Optionsmenü: Zur Auswahl stehen vier Schwierigkeitsgrade, die Anzahl der Kriegerleben (3, 5 oder 7) sowie Ein- und Zwei-Spielermodus, wobei das menschliche Duo sowohl mit- als auch gegeneinander kämpfen, sprich, um die Extras streiten kann. Nach dem Abschluß dieser Vorarbeiten darf man seine Samuraikünste in drei verschiedenen Welten à zehn Levels unter Beweis stellen.

Und weil die Reise durch mehrere Zeitzonen führt, muß sich der Held der blechernen Besatzung einer Raumstation ebenso erwehren wie feuriger Fantasy-Lindwürmer. Das tut er zunächst nur mit Fausthieben und Fußtritten, aber im Lauf der Zeit erwirbt er sich dadurch ein imposantes Arsenal an Schwertern. Dolchen und Zauberb:uchern. Auch die gängigen Extras für mehr Energie oder Leben sind vorhanden – und dazu gelegentliche Bonusrunden, in denen man z.B. auch mal ein bißchen ballern kann. Auf Überraschungen stößt man hingegen kaum, dafür ist das Leveldesign einfach zu konventionell.

Leider beschränken sich die erkennbaren Veränderungen auf das nun etwas bessere Parallax-Scrolling. Mehr als ärgerlich ist, daß eine angeschlossene Maus nach wie vor den Optionsscreen stört und daß immer noch keine Festplatten oder Zweitfloppies unterstützt werden. Wenn sich ein Hersteller so wenig um die Interessen der Spieler schert, ist das schon zwei Prozent Abzug wert! (ms)

Amiga Joker, April 1994, p.32

SECOND SAMURAI
(PSYGNOSIS)
PLATTFORM-ACTION
71%
"KAMPFBETONT"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
75%
77%
75%
80%
67%
67%
VARIABEL: 4 STUFEN
PREIS DM 89,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
3/NEIN
NEIN
LEVELCODES
ANLEITUNG