Developer: Gearbox Software
Release Date: September 23, 2008
If you haven't invested in a charge station for your Wiimotes yet, you may as well now. One of the things we learned at E3 is that low-battery-power Wiimotes throw off Samba de Amigo's position recognition big time. We almost thought it was faulty coding. Fortunately, that's not the case, and I'm pleased to report that whatever setup you use, this game works as advertised, so feel free to have a ball once it hits. Accolades to Gearbox, then, for making it so.
I get ahead of myself, however! For those of you who still don't know, Samba de Amigo is a maraca-shaking rhythm arcade game that eventually landed its way onto the Sega Dreamcast. The object is to take two giant maraca controllers and shake, pose and dance to the beat of several Latin-themed songs (amongst others) for a high rank and score. In Samba de Amigo, looking like a huge idiot is half the fun; the other half is not caring how you look because you're having too much fun.
The Dreamcast version required specialized controllers that are now somewhat rare; the Wii, however, allows people to handily use the controls that came with the system. You can play with the Wiimote and Nunchuk, or two Wiimotes (maraca shells have already been announced for this setup). The fact that the Wii controls are wireless means the system's a perfect fit for the game due to ease of setup and use. Not only that, but after much testing on the show floor, I'm able to conclude that they're actually more accurate than the original Dreamcast maraca controllers in terms of position recognition.
As for the tracklist, the disc hosts a wealth of old favorites and new songs — over 40 total! For the full details, you can simply hit up this link. Conspicuously missing, however, are the songs from classic Sega games such as Burning Rangers, NiGHTS and Sonic R. Let's hope they're still in the cards as DLC à la the Dreamcast version.
Outside of this seeming omission, this is pretty much shaping up to be the ultimate edition of Samba. Not only does it include all of the modes from the original and 2K Dreamcast versions (including the Hustle mode, which adds a ton of body-shaking to the gameplay), but it's also bringing to the table a Career mode, online leaderboards, and multiplayer in both competitive and co-op flavors. Pay DLC for additional songs is supported, making Samba the first disc-based Wii game to do so.
There are just a few weeks to go until we're all samba-shaking our houses down. I personally can't wait for Samba de Amigo. Much as I love all these rock games (and I do), it's refreshing to see different instruments and music genres take the field.
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