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I know what you're thinking: it's a Wii conversion of an old Dreamcast classic featuring monkeys playing maracas to the strains of The Macarena. Really, what's not to like?
Well, there is something actually, but we'll come to that a little bit later. First, I'd just like to make it clear that this is, in all but one vital respect, a great example of how a classic game should get the Wii treatment. It helps, of course, that Samba De Amigo was practically designed for the Wii even though it arrived in the days before the Wii was invented. An early example of the rhythm action game, it shipped with a pair of plastic maracas for you to shake.
In front of a gang of weird dancing animals on the screen you have a set of six circles: two high, two medium and two low. As a latin-tinged track played you had to follow the beats going to each circle, shaking the relevant maraca high, medium or low as instructed. To mix things up a little, the game also threw in poses, where you had to stand with the maracas pitched at particular angles in answer to an onscreen prompt. Basically, it was the sort of game that was best played with small children and easily embarrassed relatives or with friends after sizable quantities of alcohol. You could say much the same thing about WarioWare: Smooth Moves or Wii Sports today.
Barring the swapping of the maracas for the remote and nunchuck the Wii version doesn't deviate much from the basic template, instead adopting a selection of thoughtful enhancements. For a start, the Hustle mode introduced in the Samba De Amigo ver. 2000 release (never released on Dreamcast over here) has been incorporated, adding dance moves to the shaking and posing action. Pose-style prompts now appear, but this time you're expected to wave your controllers in a set pattern in time to the music. This makes the game a little more athletic, and also ensures that you look even more of a plonker playing it than you might have done previously. Believe me – that's saying a lot.
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