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Review: Get your maraca-shaking fix with 'Samba De Amigo'

"Samba De Amigo" will put your rhythm to the test -- not to mention your hand and eye coordination  

November 23, 2000
Web posted at: 1:36 PM EST (1836 GMT)

(CNN) -- If one thing could be said about Sega, it would be that it is never lacking in the strangely original game category. From "Seaman" to "Space Channel 5" and even "Crazy Taxi," the originality of its games may be one of the best things going for the Dreamcast game console.

Sega's latest kooky game is a monkey-filled rhythm challenge called "Samba De Amigo." Imagine if you will a game where the object is to shake plastic maracas in time with popular dance music and you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

The object of the game is relatively simple, provided you have the inherent desire to shake your maracas. There are six circles on the screen: three for the left hand and three for the right. Simply follow along as colored balls appear from the center of the screen and shake the electronic maracas in time as they enter one of the six circles.

More about the maracas controller

Not only do you have to shake left and right but you also have to shake high, medium or low. An example: Shake your right hand high three times and shake your left hand low twice. Sound easy? Well, it starts off that way.

In addition shaking the maracas, you also have to strike poses at certain points in the songs. Posing requires you to place the maracas in a certain position and hold still until the game lets you know if you did it right or not. It has to be said that watching someone do this is quite possibly more fun than actually doing it yourself.

While the shaking part of the equation is fairly easy to handle, getting the maracas in the right position can be frustrating at times for a beginner.

Hey "Macarena"! Let the games begin  

Also, it becomes immediately apparent that playing "Samba De Amigo" has a hidden benefit. All that frenzied shaking can be quite a workout for your forearms and upper body -- although it may not be so good for your nerves.

The driving force behind "Samba De Amigo's" addictive game play is the music. Songs that you will shake to range from the popular "Macarena" to a nice remake of A-ha's "Take on Me." As should be expected, progressing through the game will have you shaking to progressively faster and more complex songs.

Because you will be concentrating on maraca shaking, the graphics aren't the most important part of the overall experience. They are, however, clean and colorful, with some genuinely interesting character design.

Aside from the main game mode, "Samba De Amigo" offers a Challenge Mode, a Party Mode, a Mini Game Mode and a Training Mode. The mini games include a whack-a-mole clone and a super-fast posing game that will have you jumping all over the place -- kind of like playing "Twister" by yourself. An Internet option is also available for game information, high scores and to download fun Sega tunes.

After a little practice, and a bit of embarrassment, just about anyone can enjoy what "Samba De Amigo" has to offer -- and you won't find a better party game out there. If there had to be one downfall, it would be the $80 cost associated with the maracas controller. Of course that's in addition to the $40 you will pay for the game. And don't even think of playing this game without the maracas. It just isn't the same because you won't look nearly as foolish, or have nearly as much fun, when doing so.

Review: Shenmue
November 10, 2000
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Samba de Amigo

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