This is one of those games that is easy to explain to someone, but it’s very hard to get the point across of how much actual fun it is. "You wave your arms around and shake the maracas at different heights as indicated by the blue balls on the screen. No, it’s not that kind of game. It’s really fun because you mess-up a lot. No we aren’t going to make fun of you, but we will be laughing at you. Don’t worry, you’ll be laughing at yourself as well. It doesn’t matter if you think you’ll look stupid, you will look stupid, but it doesn’t matter."
Released as not quite a Dance Dance Revolution clone, Sambe De amigo started where all of Sega’ quirky games started; Japan. In Japan people make asses of themselves in arcades all the time in front of their friends and strangers. In the states we tend to be more serious towards games. When games like Dance Dance Revolution started taking off over here, other games that were even more of a spectacle started showing up, and that’s where Samba De Amigo fits in.
Now you can buy the game and use the standard Dreamcast controller, but it’s the same as playing Virtual-On without the twin sticks, or using an original Xbox controller; why do that when there is something so much better. The Samba De Amigo maracas are without a doubt the loudest, visually, and strangest controller for the Dreamcast. To use them you simply stand on the little mat where the printed feet are and hold one maraca in each hand. That’s really all there is to it. Using IR signals, the same as what comes out of your T.V. remote and controls your television, the controller and game not only know how high or far away from the floor the maraca is, but also which side of the mat it is on.
To play the game, simply shake the correct maraca either high, middle, or low on the correct side of the mat, or use the correct button on the controller, with the flying blue balls on the screen once they get to the center of the outside rings. The more correct hits you get in a row, the higher your score will be. If you miss too many hits you will get a BOO and people will laugh at you. Because it’s funny. You are graded with both an accuracy rating and a letter grade. You could have a 96% accuracy and end up with a C if you did real good for the whole song and then missed a bunch at the end, conversely you could have a crappy percentage, but end up with an A by getting all the hits near the end of the song. You and your friends should make your own rules as to who drinks, er, "loses" depending on accuracy percentage or grade.
The game itself is set-up with an arcade mode and mini-games. Arcade is one or two players playing through the game to get the highest accuracy. To advance in the arcade mode you have to get a grade of A at the end of the song. The mini-games become a pain later on in the game, but they are the only way to open the locked songs.
The songs are really what makes this game so fun. With dance, latin, ska, and pop songs it’s really a blast to crank your bass and yell "Get your ass into Livin’ La Vida Loca!" Take On Me is really a good song to shake maracas to wether you like ska or not, and Tub Thumpin’ seems like a totally different song once it’s slightly sped up. The different difficulty setting don’t change the songs available to you, but they do change the patterns of the flying balls. So if you think you’re a badass at keeping beats try the hard levels. Think that’s a breeze? Try shaking your left controller in the up direction on the difficulty selection screen to try your hand at the hardest level. Try not to throw your shoulder out by going from the top spots to the bottom so fast. -Zoso2127