The ‘spin-off’ is one of the largest sectors of the gaming world, and Cartoon Network’s Samurai Jack is the latest game to hit the console from the gaming giants at Sega. We checked out the PS2 version.
Cartoon characters move into games well because they can look the same, and things like realism are not so critical - you’re living in a fantasy world after all. Samurai Jack is a born and bred warrior, a general all-round hero and good guy. The aim of the game is to battle your way through your travels and defeat the minions of Aku, who is generally a thorn in the collective backside of Jack’s world.
The first thing that jumps to mind is that both the look and feel of this game seem rather dated. It’s mostly a 3D platform-style game, but the cartoon “look” means that there is little texture graphically. The green people you save could be from games of yesteryear, not cutting edge gaming machinery.
Once again there is a touch of The Matrix here, and you can do slow-motion attacks. This forms part of Jacks formidable talent for fighting. As you travel around, you learn signature moves that will put your opponents to shame. As well as the trusty katana, you can collect throwing star and arrows for the box - which is good for long range attacks. Jack also has the uncanny ability to block and deflect shots from enemies, rather like in light sabre fashion - especially once you earn a flaming sword.
The game actually works quite well. You roam around, talk to a few people, collect the ubiquitous ‘relics' that inhabit this genre of game. You beat baddies, you free goodies. You find secret areas etc etc. Simple. It's also shockingly easy. I don't know what you have to do to die in this game, as I played for hours and hours and never came close. I stopped playing because I kept falling off a swinging platform and having to run back up again.
Fans of the cartoon will certainly love the game, and want to play with Jack and all his friends. It's addictive like many platforms games are, with enough fighting to keep you going, and not too much talking to people and reading stuff. The special moves are fun, but there is little to challenge you mentally here.
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