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Samurai Shodown! 2 (Switch) Review

Originally released as a pre-order bonus for the new release of Samurai Shodown (2019), SNK has released this NeoGeo Pocket Color classic on the Switch eShop now as a stand-alone download. Like Gal’s Fighters and King of Fighters R-2, the NeoGeo Pocket Color version of Samurai Shodown! 2 is a must play and a must have on Switch.

Samurai Shodown! 2 separates itself from the other fighting games as swords and daggers take precedence over fists and kicks although there are a few fighters that prefer these attacks over weapon use. In fact, one button is assigned to all attacks while the other face button is used as a fake out action.  While this seems limiting on paper, it is actually deep in practice. Further, each character has two fighting styles complete with unique abilities, essentially doubling the roster from an already large cast of fighters. The weaponry also makes a difference in battle. If characters clash swords, for example, they negate the attack with a weighted blow. Even though this is a one-on-one fighter, it plays a bit differently from the other NGPC fighters.

The main single player mode is the typical defeat one opponent and move onto the next until the credits roll.  However, the last couple battles stand out as the player will face some tough bosses, one of them being a tortured creature chained to a wall that cannot move.  One hit takes about 1/4th your energy and there are some nearly undodgeable attacks so the built-in rewind feature is a godsend here. Fighting well and performing special feats can also unlock cards which can be attached to a fighter to increase stats and abilities. There are dozens to collect and trading between two cartridges was possible on the original NeoGeo Pocket Color hardware via link cable but not available in this digital Switch release.

Like Gals’ Fighters and KoF R-2, the emulation is excellent. Two player versus mode is available on a single console in tabletop or TV mode, the border modifiers will please any longtime NGPC fan, and even the instruction manual is available to view in HD at any time.  The quality of life features are great and Samurai Shodown! 2 also keeps track of play time in the main options screen.

Even though my time spent in the Samurai Shodown series is limited, this Switch re-release provides a wealth of fun and tons of replayability thanks to a healthy character roster and fighting styles. With awesome emulation features, this eShop version makes this the best way to play this forgotten gem especially now that you can play two-player versus mode on one console instead of linking two systems together with two copies of the game.

Now that Gals’ Fighters, KoF R-2, and Samurai Shodown! 2 have been released on Switch, what will SNK re-release next?  They teased more NGPC games are coming so maybe a Match of the Millennium or The Last Blade will be coming soon.

SCORE: 8/10

Also Try: One Strike (Switch)
Better Than: tracking down an original copy
Wait For It: more NGPC games to be available digitally  

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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