Samba de Amigo

Sega Dreamcast

samba_box
A Sega game with monkeys? Hell yeah!!

I usually hate music and dancing games and whatnot, despite my fondness for music in videogames. I guess that I feel that videogame music should be original, not imported from “artists” like, ummm… hell I really don’t even know much about who’s popular these days. But Samba de Amigo, as simple as it is, is pretty fun! You can play with the controller or the maracas. The maracas are actually motion-control devices that you hold in each hand. I’ve never played with the maracas, but it has been insisted to me that it is a horrible experience and will eat your soul. So I stuck with the controllers. There is also a Wii version of the game where you can use the motion controls to simulate the maracas.

samba1
You play a monkey who is on some serious drugs.

Gameplay: 7/10
Basically all you ever do is press the appropriate button(s) when the li’l blue balls get to the over circles. The right 3 circles are represented by the A, B andY buttons on the controller while the left 3 circles are taken care of by pressing Down, Left or Up on the d-pad. That’s it. Oh yeah, and sometimes you have to “pose”. Posing can be kind of tough because if you get the pose just right at the last second or two, it doesn’t register. Also, the blue balls will still be moving while you’re trying to pose, bringing on confusion. And I am very easily confused.

As you go through the game you can unlock more songs including stuff like music from Afterburner, Burning Rangers and NiGHTS. In the Arcade Mode you only have the same 4 songs ever. Some of the songs can be “downloaded” via Sega’s now-defunct online service which was available ONLY to dial-up users of this game. Broadband Adapter users can go straight to hell. It’s funny how the world used to be.

The game is strangely addictive, though it’s still pretty easy to put down. It’s just so kooky. I love how mispronounced the male voice is in the game. The first voice that comes up says “Presented by Sega, heh heh”. The next voice says something that simply cannot be deciphered. It’s this overall kookiness that adds to the game’s charm. And it needs charm, since music games like this usually suck ass. Actually are they really “music” games? I think they’re just timing games and nothing more. Can anyone prove me wrong? Rock Band is probably as close as it gets to the real thing. Or maybe one of those guitar tutors if they count.

samba2
How would you like to be the oral surgeon who had to extract a tooth from THE SUN??!!

Graphics: 8/10
The graphics are made up of fairly simple polygons, but there is a TON of color onscreen at any given moment. Unfortunately you are so busy staring at the little blue balls to which you must sync your button presses to that it’s often hard to even notice the graphics at all. But I will say this: this game looks absolutely fabulous in VGA or in 480p (progressive scan) with component cables! The colors really come alive, especially when you’re doing well and everything under the sun (hell, even the sun itself) starts to have a visual orgasm. When I played this game to capture the screens for this review, I used S-Video so these screens don’t really represent how good it really looks. Be sure to play this either in VGA or component if you can. I have not personally played the Wii version so I don’t know if it looks as good in 480p or not.

samba3
Everyone has a virtual orgasm when your grade rises to an “A”.

Sound: 7/10
This is a tough category to rate being that the game has very little original music and some of the songs are redone by generic musicians. But most of the songs here have a bit of a Spanish flava, except Take on Me… what the hell is that song doing here? Some of the songs are actually the real versions. They fit well within the game, except of course the duet song from NiGHTS which still sounds worse than a wet fart here. There are lots of other songs, including After Burner, Out Run, Rent A Hero, Fantasy Zone, Sonic R, Sonic CD, and stuff like that. So the music is generally good but it’s not something that gives Samba de Amigo its own musical identity. It’s like borrowing a crappy mix tape from some guy at school.

samba4
For some reason the monkey always has this expression on his face when the cover of “Take On Me” is playing. So will you.

Wrap up:
A neat game to borrow from your friend every once in awhile.

OVERALL SCORE:

7/10