Dragon Ninja logo

Price: £24.99

When CU reviewed the 64 version of this game back in January it got a mixed reaction. It scored quite well, particularly in the graphics stakes; but a beat 'em up to play and play again it wasn't.

The same basic criticism holds true for Dragon Ninja on the Amiga. The game certainly sets a furious pace, but the gameplay is samey and you soon grow tired.

To recap briefly, the plot involves you in a plot to free good 'ol' President Ronnie from the dastardly clutches of the ninja hordes. The premise is pure star spangled banner, and from here on its simplya case of beating the hell out of everything in sight.

The action progresses from the streets of New York and takes you through a variety of Rambo-esque scenarios. The devilishly agile Ninja foes come thick and fast, and when they hit they hurt and you make a horrible puking noise. It sounds more like you're spending a night on the tiles than time on a mission for Uncle Sam. And that's about it as far as sound is concerned, apart from a mediocre jingle between screens.

Rightly so, the backdrops in the 64 version were praised for their realism and clarity. Much of this reflected the programmer's ability to work wonders with the 8-bit format. The same argument does not apply to Amiga Dragon Ninja. The visuals pack a pretty punch, with nice, big characters, but the animation, in particular, is ropy: you can kick into thin air and still floor a nearby Ninja: during face-to-face combat you appear to dematerialise. Body contact ought to mean body contact, shouldn't it?

That said, it's a competent beat 'em up with more than its fair share of action, detail and interesting settings. A fair enough game which could do with just a little more pep.