Review by: RKeefe

Samurai Spirits RPG is being released on three systems at the same time. It is based on the the first two Samurai Showdown games from the Neo Geo. For some reason, the Saturn version was the first to hit the market and was available from most import dealers last week.

GOOD SPIRITS:

We finally have another standard RPG for the Saturn ( overhead walk-around, towns, caves, etc.). The game is nicely drawn especially the the outside fields and mountain areas. Your character spends a lot of time talking inside some beautiful old-style Japanese villages. You can select from several characters at the beginning of the game and this will determine your starting point in the game.

As you play through, you will find there are towns and some areas that you never get to see (I assume they are related to the story of another character). This makes for great replay value.

Depending on your knowledge of Japanese, the character I selected took about 25 hours to complete. Luckily, I never had to use or equip any special items. If you had the item, it worked and you progressed.

The battle scenes are done in a standard “turn based” Final Fantasy format with some nice character animation and magic. Overall, it reminded me of a “top of the line” Super Famicom RPG which I personally have missed over the past two years. I wish more companies would go back to some of the old formats that worked and update the colors, speed, animation, with all of this technology. There should be a permanent “hold” on any game that takes place in an industrial building or robot suit.

BAD SPIRITS

Slowwwwwwww……. loading times. Unfortunately, the loading time for going to battle takes way too long. Once in the battle, they move along very quickly and are great fun. The import Albert Odyssey had the same problem and made matters worse by having a fast fight clock (three steps and it’s that time again). Samurai doesn’t beat you to death with too many fights and your character can really motor around if you hold the X button.

I couldn’t help but think that this would have made a great Super Famicom game with instant loading and great atmosphere. The game is a lot of fun. As you can see I put in the time because it was very addicting. I kept wanting to see what would happen next. I just kept lots of snacks around to keep me busy while the CD searched for the next battle. Got to fix that folks!