September 13, 2006 By Glenn Turner

A few final bits about Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked that didn't make the article:

I'm not familiar enough with the series (I've only seen a few episodes) to firmly be able to cite responsibility for the surreal 2D side-scrolling level in the game, but it sure is interesting. You can see a screenshot below (my apologies for the quality - apparently all of the press photos were sent out using the worst compression levels known to man), which is from Mugen's branch of the game. The motivation behind the scene isn't the most original device in the world (crazy poison/dream area!), but the level itself certainly is amusing, if not occasionally frustrating.


Speaking of the character branches, grasshopper does a pretty good job with them. While it's alluded to in the article, it's probably worth spelling out here that you can play the game using either Mugen or Jin (the two primary protagonists from the series). Unlike most adaptations, their levels seem to differ quite a bit, although that's mostly what I've gathered from third-party sources. See, I played through the game twice, but the first was via Jin and the second was using the 'unlockable' branch that opens up when you beat the game.

And here's where grasshopper didn't skimp on the game. The third unlockable branch isn't just a new character that you use to wander through Mugen & Jin levels, but a (mostly) new section of the game. It's a bit shorter than the primary characters, probably around three or four hours of gameplay, and there's some overlap in environments and so on, but it's not just the same game with new skins.

Lastly, a note about the article itself (if you'll indulge this navel-gazing indiscretion): I'd been working on it off and on for the last month or so, but it never really seemed to come together. Then, just as I was about to leave it behind and exert my energies elsewhere, I saw GameSetWatch extolling the game. Mr. Carless' words motivated me to try and split the theme of the original article into a brief journal entry on the game, but even that became too bloated. Luckily it had become just the right size for a full article, and ended up getting posted in that manner instead. I suppose that's a criminally inefficient way of polishing a piece, but it got the job done.

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