The Demon King has chopped your Sensei down to size and cut out through a time warp. You're just a rookie samurai in old Japan, but you've got to track the villain down.
Have Sword, Will navel
First Samurai by Kemco is a sharp hack-n- slash game from the old school. You use fist, feet, and blade to carve a path through hordes of vile creatures and deadly robots in order to... all together now... "meet the Demon King in the final showdown."
First Samurai may not be the "first" to use the concept, but it's still first-rate action/adventure game. Finger-pumping martial arts, imaginative graphics, and inventive sounds carry you a long way through this adventure.
Your perilous journey of revenge takes you across time through five side- view, multi-scrolling stages. To find and face the Demon King, you have to fight in 18th Century Japan, on a runaway Express Train time machine, in Tokyo 1999, and in a Time Elevator.
You Slice and Dice
First Samurai gives your brain a workout, along with your fingers, and the crisp controls give you a fighting chance. Your primary moves are basic stuff -- punch, kick, jump, and cut. Throw daggers, axes, and bombs if you can find 'em. The Magic Shurikens, which home in on your foes, are the weapons to cherish.
- Shurikens only appear in Stages 1, 3 and 5. In Stage 1, you can find a Shuriken up on the rocket-powered floating platforms. In Stage 3, there's one hidden in an underground chamber wall.
- Hold down A to speed up the materialization process at any Force Pots.
The murderous menagerie includes demons, goblins, imps, bugs, robot drones, and more. A zombie warrior and a tentacled horror lead the Boss attack. You only get four lives and no continues, so make your cuts clean.
- Obake, the tough Express Train boss, is open to attack when he raises his sword to slash you. Jump back far enough to make him miss, and then quickly run in to slash him. His revolving shurikens shoot forward after he slashes, but they temporarily disperse. Time your move appropriately.
- Sometimes you can "bat" thrown weapons back at your adversaries.
Some obstacles are impossible to overcome without the ethereal Wizard Mage (a genie-like friend). First, however, you must find the Magic Bells that summon him.
Sharp Graphics and Sounds
This game's graphics shine. They're standard stuff at their core, but vibrant colors, lively movement, and gorgeously painted backgrounds make them a cut above average.
Overall, the sounds are good, although the Japanese-flavored rock music grates after a while. The effects feature expressive grunts, moans, and monstrous bellows.
A Nice Slice of Samurai Life
First Samurai is a good-looking, familiar sword fight that attacks you with a vengeance. Though it's not an original, First Samurai definitely makes the cut.