Samurai Shodown 2 Review

Putting four-button fighting games on a portable system that only has two buttons is never an easy task.

Putting four-button fighting games on a portable system that only has two buttons is never an easy task. The most popular method for using two buttons to execute different attacks is timing the length of each button press. This means you have to hold a button down a little longer than usual to get it to execute more powerful moves. The trouble with this method is that can hamper your reaction time, since moves don't come out the instant you push the button. While Samurai Shodown 2 for the Neo Geo Pocket employs this timed button press technique, it doesn't take too much away from the gameplay.

Samurai Shodown 2 adds three characters over the last game, which appeared on SNK's older, black-and-white handheld. The game also has a couple of interesting modes. Along with the standard versus mode is the survival mode, where you must defeat as many enemies as possible, receiving only small health recharges between bouts. This mode is tied to the collection of special cards, which add things like increased defense and special attacks. Each character has eight cards to unlock, which are split evenly between the two character modes, slash and bust.

The game uses one button to perform all your weapon attacks, and the other button is used for kicking and dodging. It's a decent enough setup, but using the A button for all your main attacks can get a bit confusing.

The card collection adds some longevity to what would otherwise be a short-lived affair. It would have been nice if it employed a more mission-style mode to it, rather than rely on simple survival matches as its secondary mode. This game doesn't have the universal fighting game appeal that King of Fighters R-2 has, and SS2 should be considered a secondary fighting game at best.

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Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

Samurai Shodown II More Info

  • First Released Dec 2, 1994
    • Android
    • Arcade Games
    • + 8 more
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • Neo-Geo CD
    • NeoGeo
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    The second game in SNK's Samurai Shodown line is widely regarded as the best of the series.
    Average Rating299 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    SNK Playmore, SNK, Kinesoft, Hamster
    Published by:
    SNK Playmore, SNK, D4 Enterprise, Hamster, GameBank, CyberFront
    2D, Action, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Blood, Language, Tobacco Reference, Violence