One of the best maraca-based video games! … kinda by default though
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I'm Gaming Jay: Youtube gamer, let's player, fan of retro games, and determined optimist... Join me in this series while I try out EACH of the video games in the book 1001 VIDEO GAMES YOU MUST PLAY BEFORE YOU DIE, before I die. The game review for each game will focus on the question of whether you MUST play this game before you die. But to be honest, the game review parts are just for fun, and are not meant to be definitive, in depth reviews; this series is more about the YouTube gamer journey itself. From Mario games to the Halo series, from arcade games to Commodore 64, PC games to the NES and Sega Genesis, Playstation to the Xbox, let's play those classic retro games that we grew up with, have fond memories of, or heard of but never got a chance to try! And with that said, the game review for today is...
Samba de Amigo
Samba de Amigo (サンバDEアミーゴ Sanba de Amīgo?) is a rhythm game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. The game was released in arcades in December 1999, and for the Dreamcast video game console in 2000. A port for the Wii was also developed by Gearbox Software and Escalation Studios and released in 2008. In Samba de Amigo, the player uses controllers shaped like maracas with the goal of matching a series of patterns displayed on-screen. The music in Samba de Amigo is made of primarily popular Latin music songs rather than common or traditional samba. The game also features non-Latin pop songs.
Samba de Amigo is played with a pair of maracas. As a song plays, the player, guided by on-screen graphics, must shake the maracas at high, middle, or low heights with the beat of the music, or occasionally must strike poses with the maracas held in various positions. The player is represented on-screen by Amigo, a monkey. If the player does well, the scene around the monkey (usually a concert or a dance) will attract more people and become more vividly animated; if the player does poorly, characters leave and eventually all that's left is the monkey alone, looking sad.
In the primary game mode, each player has six spots arranged in a circle on the screen: two red meaning 'shake high,' two yellow meaning 'shake middle,' and two green meaning 'shake low.' Blue dots will appear in the center of this circle and move towards the spots; as soon as the blue dot touches a spot, the player must shake a maraca at that location. For example, if a blue dot touches the upper left spot, the player must shake either maraca above his left shoulder. If both maracas are shaken in that location, the player gets an 'Amigo' bonus. Occasionally a long line of dots will flow into a spot and the word 'Shake' appears, telling the player to continue shaking his maraca rapidly there. Sometimes a stick-figure (named "Pose") appears on the screen holding its maracas in a certain position; the player has a second or two to match the figure's pose for points.
In the original arcade game, the player is given two or three stages to play through, depending on how the options are set. Each stage has three songs to choose from. If the player does well enough on each stage, an additional Special stage is enabled, where three of the more challenging songs are made available.
In the Dreamcast port, this version of the game is playable as Arcade mode. Original mode is the same game, except that instead of being limited to three songs in each stage, the player gets to choose from any song in the game that has been unlocked. Initially, six songs are available in this mode, while more can be unlocked by playing the Arcade or Challenge modes.
The home game also adds a Party mode, with minigames such as Guacamole (pronounced and played much the same as "Whac-A-Mole"), Strike A Pose (consisting of a long sequence of poses to make), and 1-2-Samba! (where spots must be hit in sequence - the Japanese version's name for this minigame, "Ichi Ni San-ba," is a pun on counting to three in Japanese). Also included in Party mode is the Battle game, where two players compete to score high combos and knock out their opponent, and the Couples game (known as "Love Love" in Japan), where two players play through a song to test their "compatibility". Along with this, the home version has features which can be unlocked, such as alternate sound effects and downloadable songs.
Finally, a Challenge mode has been added, where the player is given specific goals in order to proceed through stages. These goals include having to reach a certain letter grade or to pass a certain score while playing a song. There are 25 challenges total, separated into five stages.