Review: Samurai Jack:

Based around the popular cartoon show Samurai Jack where the hero (Jack) has been sent thousands of years into the future by an evil wizard called Aku. Here he finds that Aku is more powerful than ever and has taken over the world. Jack travels the world battling with the wizards' robot minions in search of a time portal to return to his time and defeat Aku before he reaches power.
So this is probably where you're thinking, "Another cartoon license, it can't be that good can it?" Well unfortunately, you just might be right.

From 2D to 3D:

The Cartoon itself has a very distinct visual style, but the developers of the game(unsurprisingly) choose to use a 3D cellshading to portray Jacks world to the gamingpublic. Despite their best efforts to recreate that 2D cartoon in 3D, it is acomplete failure, which will certainly disappoint fans of the show. The models ofthe characters look fine and the background also but they just don't have that samefeel or visual impact you get with the show. This is most obvious in the few shortcut scenes that appear within the game and show you this is nothing like watchingthe actual show. Even more disappointing in relation to the cut scenes is that theydon't take place in full screen, but in some form of widescreen that takes up justthe middle third of the TV. How can you try to make players believe that they are incontrol of a Samurai Jack episode when the most important part of that (mimickingthe visuals) is not achieved?

Words of Wisdom:

But it's not all bad news however, as all the voices of the characters are done bythe actors of the show. So you can be assured that the quality of the acting is onpar with that of the cartoon original, and throughout the game (ok, more like in thelater half) a number of Jacks friends do make an appearance such as Scotsman and MadJack to provide a bit of nostalgia of actual episodes. But again, there is a smallprice, where another well-loved characteristic of the show is seemingly lost, namelythe offbeat comic humour. Aside from Jacks first game encounter with Scotsman thereis little humorous within the scripting of the cut scenes.

The various sound effects within the game such as clashing swords, explosions andgeneric robot noises are all pretty decent. And the soundtrack while slightlyreminiscent of the show is nothing special within this game and don't help toprevent the player from starting to feel boredom set in after 20 - 30 minutes.


The Way of the Warrior:

The basic plotline to the game is the same as the show but is not based off any episode but is instead more of an episode (or episodes depending on your view) in itself.You play as Jack in search of a time portal so that you can stop Aku before he gets started. Each world is basically like a different village where in exchange for helping out the locals with some Aku related problems and freeing those captured by him they will help point Jack in the direction of his much needed time portal.

The game plays like a cross between a beat-em up and a platformer, requiring Jack to use his sword fighting skills to dispose of those nasty Aku minions and do some light on his feet jumping skills to progress through each level. It's probably worth mentioning at this point the Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku is most likely aimed at younger gamers, which would explain its easy and short-lived gameplay.

The actual combat is very basic and the enemies put up little challenge unless encountered in a large group in which case you can make use of some of the special moves you may have collected during the game. Jack also has a "Zen meter" which allows him to slow down time matrix style to inflict more damage. While this seems fun at first it soon becomes repetitive and boring. Ad to this Jacks blocking ability, which also automatically deflects most projectile attacks directly back at the enemy that fired it and you,'ll find the only time you have to worry about losing all your health is if you miss time a jump and fall to your doom. Even the bosses prove little challenge with the slight exception of the final two (the last being Aku of course).

The platform side of things is again very basic but a few times you may encounter some frustrating moments mostly in relation to jumping to moving platforms as sometimes it can be hard to tell Jacks position while he's in the air so you may over/under shoot the jump a few times. But this really does provide the only difficulty and challenge in the game. The level layouts are all very liner so there should be no problems with getting lost or wondering where to go next.

Which now brings me to my next point, the number of levels and length of the game. In all there are just four worlds each with a number of levels, four levels in the first and final world and five in the third and forth. With the final level in each world being just a boss battle. It should also be noted that the levels of the first world are very short but the levels in the others do get somewhat longer however the longer the level does go the more likely it is that boredom will set in. The game is very pick up and play so even the kids that it is aimed at should have no problems getting to grips with the controls. But not that it would matter much as even the most novice of players should be able to beat this game with little difficulty.

Final Say:

Overall, you could complete this game in around five hours first time, plus maybe another hour if you want to bother collecting 100% items. And the ending you get for going through all that, although it is much like the ending for many of the actual shows episodes is very short and unfulfilling for the game player and almost seems like it just wasn't worth the five hours you've just wasted. There are three difficulty settings (Easy, Normal and Hard) but there seems to be little to no difference between. If you're a fan of the show and want to try this game, I recommend it as a rental only or a game for the younger Jack enthusiast.

N-Europe Final Verdict

If you're a Jack fan, take this advice, rent this game and buy something else.

  • Gameplay2
  • Playability3
  • Visuals2
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan2
Final Score



Voice Acting
Easy Controls


Doesn't feel like the cartoon
No difficulty
Very short

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