Ninja is a short-term fun game which was very interesting when it first showed up. It is a nice and short arcade game that managed to drag a lot of attention due to simple and amusing gameplay and a normal level of hardness. Naturally, PC version is worse than other version, like the most of games form 80's after all. Still, seeing Ninja again reminds me of the real meaning of video-games: fun.
Back in the 80's (a golden age of video-games when arcade machines ruled) there were not many games that had a save option. So games were not so long as today and you played in order to become better. That was the only way to finish the game. Although the games were short, you still need a lot of time to finish some of them. Well, Ninja was too short, but it had several things that made it interesting.
The story is (surprise-surprise) very simple. You are a "cute little" ninja who has the mission to collect seven idols from the enemy castle. The castle is, naturally, full of enemies. Like I said, the game is short and has only 21 locations. The idols are randomly scattered around the castle, only the last one is in the highest chamber (Akuma’s chamber). When you get all 7 idols, return to the starting screen to complete your mission.
I first saw it on Amiga, although it was originally made for C64. What amazed me back then was the way that ninja picked up the shurikens and knifes (or some sort of spikes, probably sai). Every time you play there are a few weapons you can pick by a simple crouch. Then shuriknes and/or knifes "fly" into ninja's hands or to be more precise: into the ninja's arm-sleeve, the place where a real ninja is suppose to keep them when going into the battle. This is not a big deal today, but in those times I couldn't even think of something like that. Graphics were barely average even back then but somehow everything looked very nice. Well, although they used MCGA for PC version, the graphics are surprisingly bad. Not too bad, but somehow it looks much worse than the C64 version.
Your ninja can jump, duck and perform 6 types of attack (it’s enough). More types of hitting would probably be too complicated. Besides the three punches and two kicks, the ninja can also use his katana (backwards+up+fire, hold for a while, hard to perform on a PC), which is slow but kills any enemy with a single hit. Three shurikens are enough to kill any enemy or two hits with knifes, but knifes must hit an enemy with the blade (the handle won’t do the trick), or it will falls besides the enemy.
There are three different enemies:
THUNG - kung-fu fighter (weakest opponent)
KARATEKA - karate fighter (more dangerous, has a lot of energy)
EVIL NINJA - as his name says: he is the evil ninja, the most dangerous enemy and can perform every action that you can, he can even pick up your shurikens and throw them back at you.
There is also one interesting thing about the enemies. When entering a new location, don't move. Enemies won't notice you while standing still. If you look at an enemy more closely, you'll see that the eyes are closing and opening. So, while they keep their eyes closed, you can move without drawing their attention. That way you can approach the enemy and hit first, even with your katana and make a kill without a real fight.
Most youngsters will probably avoid this one after seeing the screenshots, but whoever try it will probably have fun for a while. So, have fun!!!
To get the same quality of screenshots, you have to change a setting in the DOSBox.conf file! Machine type should be changed from VGA (default) into TANDY.
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