I always have a great time playing The Ninja Warriors, developed by my favorite underrated developer, Natsume, and released by Taito. This game, released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, reimagines the 1987 arcade cabinet of the same name
The story has you playing the role of what amounts to a ninja terminator. In a little more detail, a evil dictator, Banglar has taken over Vaguely-America-land and a group of resistance members have built three androids to assassinate him. You play as one of the three Androids two of who return from the original arcade game. The face of the series, Kunoichi, the pink clad female ninja and balanced character. Her male counterpart, the creatively named, Ninja, is the slow and powerful character. The new face, or lack thereof is Kamaitachi, the half-finished android who is quick, but weak, and the character I LOVE to play as.
If I could describe one word it would be, satisfying. The gameplay is in the single-plane beat'em up style, like in Kung-fu for the NES, or Sega's Altered beast. By 1994 this particular style was dated and this is one of the last games in this style I can remember being made. However, that doesn't detract, but actually adds to the game. You are an unstoppable machine of destruction and your path is to the heart of the enemy. No amount of soldiers, helicopters, other androids, mini-wolverines, or variety of boss characters are going to slow you down as they attack you from all angles. You dispatch an entire army in this game by jumping, attacking, and using a “blaster” power screen-clearing attacks that charges up as long as you don't take damage. Every punch thrown and enemy defeated give the player a sense of fulfillment.
The graphics are fantastic. All the sprites are huge and detailed, the colors are amazing. The backgrounds are not very creative, the normal urban-beat'em up kind, but are all well done in 16-bit glory. There can be a ton of enemies on the screen at once and with no slowdown. The bosses are all very uniquely designed and have personality even if they all are a bit cliched.
Sound design is also top notch with a good score, though nothing too memorable, and crisp sound effects for all the punching, kicking, and blasting that goes on during this game.
The controls are so extremely tight that you won't be sure that they're legal. The characters respond immediately to your button presses and with the frantic action at times a lot of that satisfaction comes from knowing that every time you rapidly tap the attack button you are nailing your enemy into submission.
The only major flaw, if you consider it one, is that the game is only for a single player, no co-op. Furthermore, The game is rather easy and it's nine levels can be completed on normal settings in one or two playthroughs by the normal gamer. In my opinion, however, That's what makes this game so great as a beautifully satisfying beat'em up that can be enjoyed in a single sitting no matter the day you've had. Even though the world has largely forgotten about The Ninja Warriors, you shouldn't as it should be celebrated as a truly great game.
Joshua Tiberius hosts Test Your Might!, a show dedicated to the most difficult video games of all time, you can find it at:https://www.youtube.com/user/joshuatiberius
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