I have been waiting a long time for this game. The first one was and still is one of my favourite Neo Geo games of all time. In fact I would go as far as to say that it was one of the greatest 2D fighters ever made. Last Blade 2 has a lot to live up to...
The game play is every bit as good as the graphics and sound. The Last Blade 1 played great and this is basically the same but with a few alterations and improvements. First off, you now have to press C + D to throw, instead of just one button like LB1. This can be a little awkward at first but I got used to it quickly. You still have both Speed and Power Modes to select for your fighter, but there is also a new mode called Extreme mode that is kind of a combination of both. You need to enter a code to use this mode though, check the FAQ below. There are 16 characters to choose from in this game, including the old characters and some new ones, not to mention the boss Kagami from the first game who is also playable. New characters include Mukuro, Kojiroh, Setsuna and Hibuki who is a really cool female Samurai who is one of my favourite new fighters.
Of course, all the old characters have been improved or tweaked slightly. For instance, Kaede is now permanently in the super mode where his hair is blonde instead of black. You can actually input a cheat (again, see the below FAQ) which turns him into the old Kaede though. Best of all, my favourite character Lee is back (great Jet Li style character) and is just as cool as ever. You can also do fatalities in a similar way to Samurai Shodown, where your opponent just splits in half. Don't worry; these aren't done in the mega gory fashion that Mortal Kombat uses, as that would spoil things in this game.
This game is even better than the first. Pretty much everything has been improved upon from the first game. The characters have been tweaked, with new moves and some old ones changed because they were cheap. The obligatory new characters have been added and the graphics have been improved. Yes siree, the graphics in this game really are great. Just take look at some of the new backgrounds! Check out the stage that is set in the burning house, it looks really cool. Or even better, check the shrine stage, with the rainfall hitting the puddles on the floor, the lightning in the background and the puddles splashing as you move. The attention to detail in this game is really excellent. The fighters look as great as before too and have absolutely top quality animation. To be truthful, the characters haven't really been improved much since the first game, but it doesn't matter because they looked great in the first place. The presentation of the game is just fantastic too, with great intro screens at the start of the game and for each stage. Overall, I don't think that you will find a better-looking game elsewhere on the Neo Geo, bar Garou: Mark of the Wolves.
Sound effects & Music:
The sound also maintains the same high standards. There is more music here than in the first game, although some stages still have atmospheric background noises instead of music. The music itself is really wonderful though. There isn't a single stage that stands out because all the music is so excellently done. The sound effects are also great, with plenty of voices and great clanging effects for the weapons. There are even different sounds for each weapon making contact. A small detail I know, but it is a nice little touch!
You may have guessed that I love this game. In my opinion, there is no better fighting game on the Neo Geo. I still love The King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, as well as the more recent Garou: Mark of the Wolves, but this game is probably my favourite. You really have to check this game out. You won't be disappointed, it is as simple as that!
Graphics: 9.5/10 Sound: 9/10 Game play: 9.5/10 Replay Value: 9.5/10
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