Samurai Shodown! 2 (SS2) for the Neo Geo Pocket version is the sequel to the original portable Samurai Shodown on the black and white Neo Geo Pocket. SS2 adds more on the first game but also shares some similarities with SNK's other weapons based fighter for the NGPC, Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny.
Gameplay & Control Samurai Shodown 2 has three modes of play: One Play, Survival and Vs Play. One Play mode is your typical story mode which is fairly entertaining to read and watch. Survival mode is your standard fighting game option of defeating as many opponents as you can while only having one life to do it. Vs Play is also your simple ability to link two NGPC's together and play against a friend. There is also a Collection where you can view Ability Cards that are rewarded while playing Survivial.
There are 15 fighters to choose from in SS2 each with his or her own weapon and abilities. Aside from the 15 different characters, each character has two modes of play borrowing from Last Blade: Slash and Bust. Slash is more for the agile fighter, increasing a characters speed and agility during battle. Bust is for the player that wants more power in their fighter, adding stronger attacks and effects to a fighter. Also lending from Last Blade is the option to append abilities to your fighter, two at a time. These abilities (six for each fighter) are the cards earned through Survival mode.
Most if not all SNK fighting franchises have made great transitions to portable systems but SS2 takes a little hit in the controls. On the consoles, like all SNK fighters, you use a four button layout to perform attacks and while most others have coped well button wise when coming to the NGPC, SS2 had a little difficulty moving from four buttons to just two buttons. Now you must hold down a button a little longer to perform a more powerful attack which in turn may throw off your timing. The A and B buttons each let your character attack with a different motion of their weapon and thankfully the analog stick still works great for movement of the characters.
Graphics & Sound The graphics for SS2 are both good and great. Good when it comes to color, each players is once again subject to one color and the background, while colorful, don't have as much detail to them as Last Blade. Great, though, in that each fighter is very detailed and the cutscenes as well are detailed and colorful. The sound is good as well, not great. The music sets up the style of feudal Japan nicely and doesn't get annoying as you play. Sound effects, which are slim, try to mimic the sounds of clashing swords and slashing through the air. It adds to the feel of weapon based combat but sometimes sounds like cheesy anime cartoons.
Replay Value & Closing The story mode itself is rather short when you consider the fact that it is the same story for each character and you really don't gain much for beating that game with each fighter. There is one unlockable fighter, Yoka, but that's simply accomplished by a series of button presses at the character select screen. The card collecting through Survival mode does extend the game while remaining fun because the game is fun to play. It is also fun to append different cards to their characters to see what kind of combos you can get and what combos are best suited for each character. This is especially rewarding after you find the right combo to try against a friend in Vs Play which is always a blast in fighting games. Overall Samurai Shodown 2 is a fun, entertaining game that has some nice depth and strategy and is a great addition to the Neo Geo Pocket Color game library.