He slices and dices and makes julienne fries!
Being a big fan of Samurai Jack, one would expect me to have high expectations for this game. Not true. I had low expectations, just because I thought the game would suffer from “license fever,” where the game is a rushed product to cash in on something popular. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by The Amulet of Time.
First off, the graphics looks pretty spiffy on the GBA. They keep the show’s art style and animation, though they are a bit pixelated at times. But the animation is truly a sight to behold. Jack almost moves as he would in the cartoon. Even the sword slashes move like they do sometimes on the shows. Character design is quirky, but cool, especially the priest-bot. That’s a cool boss fight.
The sound is somewhat of a mixed bag. The in-game sounds are okay, with sword hits and twangs and such. All that stuff is ok. It’s the music that bugs me. It’s great…all four tracks of it. And one of them loops endlessly throughout the whole game. I like it, but the music gets very repetitive.
There is nothing wrong with the control. Even when you attempt to make up your own sword combos, you can do them seamlessly, although you may take damage. Above all, the control is responsive, except for a little sluggishness during some really hectic sword fights.
This game reminds me of Castlevania: Circle of The Moon with a sword, and that reminded me of Metroid with a whip. It is a nice template to use, and BAM! did a nice job of implementing it. The game is unexpectedly big. There is a large world to explore, including a really snazzy training area. The environments look great and are a joy to run through. Sometimes you can have problems finding out where to go next, but the clues never go unstated. Enemies drop health potions and equipment, which alters various stats. The Amulet of Time itself lets you pull elemental attacks from the sword, which gets useful later for solving some puzzles. The battle system lets you combo various sword attacks with the A-button and D-pad. The boss battles highlight this aspect, and the key to winning is sometime finding an opening for a round of clean strikes. Such deep gameplay is surprisingly refreshing in a licensed game.
If there is one big gripe with Samurai Jack, it’s that the platforms can sometimes be a little hard to jump on. The art style makes the ground border line ambiguous, but it never gets too frustrating.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself with Samurai Jack: The Amulet of Time. If you are a fan of the show, it’s great fun. And if you are not familiar with the series, it’s still worth playing. Maybe the game will make you a fan of the show after all.