GD Star Rating
Grab your maracas and get ready for fun — the Sonic Team has stuck again with Samba De Amigo. A dance fiesta where everything is moving and bouncing (including you), Samba De Amigo challenges you to keep the beat of the songs using a special set of maracas controllers. Stay with the beat and you will move onto the next stage, miss too many times and you aren’t a dancing fool, you’re dancing history.
Although popular in Japan, dancing games have never really caught on in the US except Guitar Hero and Rock Band – you find some in arcades, but they haven’t made it big on the home console. The only previous experience I’ve had with the genre has been during my last few visits to the Seattle Gameworks where several arcade dance games are available. I must admit that I was skeptical of Samba De Amigo — I’ve never seen the point of dancing games, but after playing for a few minutes I began to enjoy myself. However, this isn’t a game you’re going to want to play alone — this is a party game and full enjoyment requires making a fool of yourself with your friends.
The key to Samba De Amigo is the special maracas controller (wich I bought at a retail price of $79.95) that consists of two bright red maracas and a floor sensor that detects where they are at all times. As you play the game blue and red balls on screen tell you exactly where and when to shake the maracas. If you keep on the directed beat your score rises appropriately. You can play with a standard Dreamcast pad, but the game just isn’t the same. In addition to shaking the maracas as directed, the game will occasionally ask you to strike a pose from time to time by showing you a stick figure on-screen. If you can match the pose within the time limit you’ll earn extra points. In the standard game mode you get two songs to play and if you’re really good you’ll be rewarded with a special third song.
In addition to the default game mode there is a single player challenge mode where you must match the on-screen directions, performing successively better on each song to beat a preset score. Mastering the challenge mode will make you the dance king at your next party. Add to that the multiplayer party modes and you’ve got the makings of a good time for you and all your friends.
Graphics & Audio
The music in Samba De Amigo consists mostly of classic samba tunes, but adds several recent songs including "Living La Vida Loca," "Tubthumping," and the ever-annoying "Macarena," all arranged to provide maximum dancing fun. Excellent sound quality is required for this style of game and Sega provides it in spades. The bright, colorful animations blend with the music perfectly. Amigo, the monkey who is the main character in the game, is particularly fun to watch. If you are keeping to the beat correctly while you play, the animations get livelier and livelier, but if you don’t you may leave Amigo crying at the end of the song — and who wants to make a monkey cry?
The main downside to Samba De Amigo is the cost — getting the game and the required controllers used to be over $100 and that’s just for a single player. If you want to try the two player modes you were looking at close to $200. But despite the cost this is a game that was sure to enjoy with a group of friends. I found myself liking it despite my preconceptions and played a lot more than I thought I would. So grab your maracas and start shaking.
Samba De Amigo by Sega,