You've seen the movies, one swift chop to the neck and the heads go flying. Well, now's your chance to live out those Seven Samurai/Water Margin fantasies, as Kixx let you train up in the Samurai Trilogy.
Karate, Kendo and Samurai are the disciplines, and there's a whole stable full of talent who want to beat you up every step of the way You can only win the title of Lord by defeating four others in a fight to the death. And you only have the right to go for the title once you've proved to the master that the three disciplines have been learned properly.
First you go head to head in the Karate, prancing around on tip-toe trying to kick the living daylights out of each other. Kendo and Samurai are much the same, just using different weapons and techniques.
You can vary the training to gain an edge, using special techniques to improve your stamina or speed. Then you allocate the amount of time you want to spend on improving various elements of your defence and attack. The right choice is imperative and the wrong decision here could leave you frighteningly vulnerable.
The variety of choices before each fight make the characters exceptionally flexible and very strong. These elements are actually reflected in the way the guy fights too, with hits being more damaging from a strong character but more accurate from a skilful one.
There are some vagaries when controlling the combat, but for big sprites they handle well and fast - the joystick controls seem really sensitive. Like Fighting Warrior, the first few battles are very hard going, but here there's definite room for some skill development. This makes the game a more challenging proposition and gives it a depth that's rarely found on the budget rounds. It's almost worth the price just to read the biog's of the other samurai - they could have been written for the Sunday Sport!
A complex - and fiddly - combat game that's nevertheless good value.
Slightly jaded - ho ho ho.
P. Big sprites.
P. Colourful backdrops.
P. Oriental music throughout.
Grab Factor 57%
N. Hard to control at the start.
P. Constant humour
Staying Power 68%
P. A learning game.
A fun multi-style combat game.