Total time played: 1 hour
Short review: One of the rarest and most expensive games on the NES. It is hailed as one of the best games that no one has played. Although the game is fun it is definitely not one of the best games no one has played.
Interesting links related to Little Samson
- My play through with commentary (1 hour)
- Speedrun (12 minutes 15 seconds)
- Video Review (The Gaming Historian)
- Overpriced trophy piece or masterpiece? (CU Podcast)
- Fake copies of Little Samson on eBay (CU Podcast)
Little Samson is one of those games that I have heard about for years and years as being one of the most expensive games on the NES because it was released after the SNES (meaning it didn’t sell very well) and is supposed to be really fun. I have been collecting games for over 20 years and had never run across this game or met anyone who owned it/played it as a kid. I recently was vacationing in Alaska and stopped by a game store in Anchorage and they had it on display, along with almost every other rare NES game I have ever heard of. But, the asking price was $950, so I passed.
A couple of months later I was in Cincinnati and did a google search for the closest game store and ended up visiting a store not far from the restaurant I was eating lunch at. They had a sign in the store “ask us about Little Samson”, so I did. The guy I asked told me he wanted $1,500 for it. I told him that is why they hadn’t sold it. He then put me in contact with the owner of the store who gave a very fair price (including the manual) and I ended up buying the game. This is by far the most I have ever paid for an NES game.
I couldn’t wait to get home and see if it was worth the price. But, it was getting close to the holiday season and I didn’t have much spare time to try it out so it just sat on the shelf. I ended up having friends over for a “Rare Game Night” where we played my rarest NES games. For the first time I saw Little Samson in action and it looked fun.
Tonight I finally decided to pop it in myself and play. It was very fun, at first. It had hints of Super Mario Bros., Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man and Bucky O’Hare. But, even though it borrowed from the best games on the system it just wasn’t as good as I was hoping.
You can select between 4 playable characters and switch between then at any time:
Little Samson – Well rounded, he moves quickly can hang on and walk up walls and shoots a projectile
Dragon – A little slower than Samson but can float like Princess Toadstool in Super Mario Bros. 2 and has 3 levels of fireball depending on how long you hold the B button.
Gollum – Slow as molasses but is the only character who can attack upwards instead of just straight forward and he has the strongest attack in the game.
Mouse – Mouse is the smallest and the quickest, can walk on walls/ceilings and is small enough to fit in small openings. He also has a powerful attack. But, the attack is delayed so is harder to make contact with the enemies and he starts off with minimal health.
The gameplay is very straight forward. A jumps, B attacks and that is about it. Each stage is fairly short and most stages feature a boss battle. Most of the bosses feature two different forms. The first is the same in each level with only the color of the boss being different. He then transforms into a larger/harder boss.
None of the stages or bosses are that difficult. Yes, I died quite a bit but once I learned patterns the game was very easy. In fact, I had never played it and was able to beat it using only 1 continue.
I had an issue with the music. Each character has a theme song, so if you switch characters the music changes. All of the music was catchy enough but I didn’t like that if you played through the whole game with one character you would hear the same tune over and over again.
The game started with a cut scene and sometimes there was a short cut scene between stages and when you beat the game there was a very short cut scene but nowhere in the game were you given the story. It looked like a king hired you and your friends to rescue the princess but I’m not sure. When I beat the game I snapped several photos but never really got a screen that said “congratulations” or “the end”. It was just a scene that looked much like the intro scene and then the screenshots you see below in my photo.
Little Samson is a good platformer, but isn’t a great one. It is very simple and there are no hidden areas or challenging stages/enemies. It is a fun game to sit and play through but not one that I could see myself playing over and over.