Back to the good old NES! After a crazy session on the more obscure video game systems of the good old era, we go back to the basics with a review for an NES game. The game itself though is a bit obscure, or at least a lot lesser known NES game compared to established franchises like Mega Man or Castlevania. This game is “Little Samson” which was released in 1992 by Taito. A big reason for its obscurity might be the fact that it was released very late in the NES lifespan and at a time where the Sega Mega and SNES had already started out their all-out war.
The reason we are going back to the NES is that I got this 150 in 1 Chinese multicart on Ali Express with all sorts of hidden gems along with a bunch of the all-time great titles(Look it up!). So look forward to reading about some lesser known NES goodies starting with Little Samson! Otherwise, this game has become to me annoyingly known as THE hidden gem and it’s going for like 500$ on eBay which is ridiculous. Everyone mentions this game when it comes to hidden gems or as an example how NES collecting has become ridiculous so I just had to try it 🙂
The game starts with a king summoning the four heroes with spirits to get them to retrieve some super important artifact that some evil asshole stole and plans to do…. something evil… probably… It might say in the manual but I just got the multicart so… whatever, the game does not appear too eager to explain itself…
You play each character alone through introductory stages, gather before the king, accept your mission and they all head out together.
Little Samson is an action platformer game with the pretty unique gimmick of you being able to switch between four characters: Little Samson himself, Kiriki the Dragon, Golem and the mouse at any time.
Little Samson is a quick nimble little character who throws rocks at a very fast pace, can jump high and climb on walls/ceilings. This climbing element is fun and adds platform variety unlike what we are used to. Little Samson is probably the character you will be using the most since he is probably the best all-around fighter.
Kiriki the Dragon can glide in the air by holding down the jump button while mid-air and breath fire that does only a little less damage than Samson’s rocks. This gliding or flying ability will make some of the longer horizontal platforming a lot easier for you and is, therefore, an extremely useful character. You can also hold the attack button and unleash for powerful fireballs.
The Golem is the heaviest, slowest of the bunch. His rock fists have a short reach but they hit hard and he can tank quite a bit. Good for tanking through annoying parts of the game and blasting some of the more stationary bosses.
The mouse is physically weak but a nimble climber that can drop bombs like he was Bomberman’s pet mouse. The mouse can also climb walls and get into tight spaces like no one else can. Probably the character you will use the least since later in the game it dies form one hit a lot.
The fun thing about having all these characters is that you can always switch between them if the one you are playing gets low on health much like in Turtles 1. You are going to have to do that before the character dies because if one hero dies you have to start the stage all over again.
The controls are just your basic jump and hit but it is very responsive and satisfying. The jumping physics feel great, similar to the jumping in Mega Man which is always a good thing and like I mentioned two of the characters can climb and one can fly. All character controls, their surroundings have great game feel and the level design is top notch.
Little Samson has probably around 15 stages. While that seems like a lot(which it is), the stages are pretty short and sweet. I find this to be a good thing since at the end of each stage you meet a nefarious looking bosses who are all fun to fight and then, fortunately, you get a password at the end of each stage which is always a great feature to have in a long game like this one so you don’t have to beat it in one sitting. You could beat it in one sitting maybe, at least in easy. The easy setting is not very tough but the normal one should give you a good challenge.
The game looks great, I like the sprites of all the characters, especially the bosses and background.
For some reason, the music kinda pissed me off. The music is not bad, but instead of having a tune for each stage the characters have their own theme song which always plays when you at playing as that character. The Little Samson song is super happy energetic and he himself is supposed to be some anime hero kid and his jump animation is him jumping and spinning in a 720° which is just overdoing it. Anyway, i just got tired of his theme and felt the song for him and all the others to be a bit stereotypical for what they were. The Golem has slow and dark music, the dragon has heroic music….
But again, it’s not bad music, it is actually good. But the way it is presented is weird and since you play as Samson most of the time that is the song you will be hearing 60% of the time.
Overall I think Little Samson is a good platformer with well-designed stages, great bosses, and fun character variety. It looks great and sounds good even though the music gets a bit tired. A good copy of the game is going for hundreds if not thousands of dollars on eBay because apparently the game did not sell well and it has never been re-released. Of course, no game is worth that much but it is safe to say that Little Samson truly is a hidden/lesser known gem for the NES for everyone who has had enough of Mario, Mega Man and Castlevania.
Try to get it on a multicart, a repro or whatever else you can think of if you want to play this one!
Lasting Appeal 7,5
Is it fun 8
Overall 7,5 a good game!
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