Despite having a pivotal role in the history of games, Taito is one of those companies that for some reason, no one ever seems to talk about anymore. Because of this, many titles developed and published by them have went under the radar, one of which is the subject of today’s article.
Released for the NES in 1992, Little Samson revolves around a young boy (who is also the titular character), a dragon, a rock golem, and a mouse, each with their own unique ability, and their efforts to save a mythical kingdom from the threat of an evil prince. Is this game truly bigger than what its’ title implies, or is it better off staying in obscurity? Let’s find out, shall we?
THE LOOKS: It goes without saying that some of the NES’ more forgotten titles are…”lacking” in the visual department, to say the least. With this game however, I can easily say that it’s one of the best looking games to ever come out in the entire 8-bit era. For a game that was released fairly late into its’ console’s lifespan, many of the backgrounds, character sprites, and the general aesthetic are just pure eye candy, helping to invoke the intended “mythical kingdom” feeling with great success. If there is one problem that I have with the graphics, it’s that the sprites of the four protagonists don’t really contrast that will with some of the more “detailed” ones.
THE SOUND: I might have a lot of great things to say about the visuals, but I can’t really say the same for the soundtrack. It’s kind of difficult to describe how I feel about it; it’s not abhorrently godawful, but it’s not mind-blowingly spectacular either; it’s just, for the most part, kind of forgettable, thus not really giving me anything to work with.
THE GAMEPLAY: In concept, the gameplay offers a somewhat unique take on the action-platform genre, given that you have four characters at your disposal that you can switch between at any given time. Despite this, unfortunately, it still can’t save the gameplay from feeling rather derivative from other platformers at the time, most notably the classic Mega Man games. Not only do various bits and pieces of the level design feel ripped straight out of them, but placement of the enemies and even the controls feel like that too. Granted, it’s not all bad. Even if it is uninspired at times, the levels can actually be pretty enjoyable. Sadly, those moments aren’t very frequent.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Little Samson is an average platformer that has some cool ideas, but ultimately ends up making you feel rather blank. If you’re a fan of the Mega Man games or platformers in general, that I guess you might enjoy it. As for everyone else, I’d suggest that you look somewhere else.
THE RETR0PIA RANKING: C+