Sharpen your shurikens for a second sequel

Last Ninja 3 logo Amiga Computing Gamer Gold

SYSTEM 3 * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick/Keyboard * Out now

The third instalment in this long-standing epic is about to be unleashed on the games buying public. Our hero is set to return to Tibet to face his arch enemy, the high priest who turned evil and made life a tad difficult for the friendly neighbourhood ninja.

Well, actually this is sort of the fourth installment but only the third that System 3 are happy to endorse. When they were with Activision they did Last Ninja I, and very successful it was too, but halfway through Last Ninja 2 they split from Activision, and signed the unfinished title over to them for Activision's in-house team to finish.

The game was then released and was acclaimed by all and sundry - the world, his wife and some of his more astute relatives - as being a bit of a dog. Now, System 3 were understandably a bit miffed about this, especially as their logo was plastered all over the packaging in a rather obtrusive manner.

So to redress the imbalance they got on with doing Last Ninja Remix, or This Is How Last Ninja 2 Should Have Been And We've Got Our Names As Developers To Think About. This version received the now standard rave reviews and everyone was happy.

Then having recovered in a typically bullish in a typically bullish manner. System 3 set about work on the third and final installment in the series, imaginatively entitled Last Ninja 3. Back to the story...

Like very good ninja, our hero has finally come to that ultimate battle. He has reached the pinnacle of his physical and spiritual condition, he is at one with himself and everything around him, piece flows like nectar through his body, nothing can disrupt his state of mind.

After meditating for what could have been an eternity, but was more likely to have been during the ads in Coronation Street, he has become aware of the task that lies before him. The evil aura that emanates from the Tibetan monastery where his nemesis awaits has reached him, and he knows that he is the only man on the planet who can even begin to think about taking this guy on.

Does this make him the stupidest man on the planet? Entirely possible - it also makes him one big chuffing hero for the world, but no one will ever know of his epic struggle. Well, apart from you.

The monastery is divided into five levels of consciousness where, following the impressive opening animation that shows matey boy sneaking over the wall, our hero must fight through hordes of soldiers and solve numerous puzzles before coming face to face with his arch foe, a demi-god slightly smaller than the Sphinx.

The five levels represent the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water, the fifth being void, a non-element that gives us the chance to see Ninja in space, sort of.

Each level, while graduated according to difficulty of the foes, presents the player with different puzzles that must be solved if the level is to be completed. These puzzles generally involve finding a scroll that gives the key to the next level and it may well be clearly visible but it's never easily accessible.

For example, the first level puts the scroll over a hole in a ledge. It's impossible to get to, but above the hole on another ledge is a rock. The idea is to collect the items you need to make the rock fall - not too difficult, but a bit of deduction is required to suss out exactly what is required. The fighting logic has been improved as well. Last Ninja Remix suffered slightly because the fight controls were very complex, especially if you wanted to make your character turn around.

These new controls are extremely straightforward: you just push your joystick the way you want to face in the time-honoured tradition. This, together with the bigger sprites, makes the fighting altogether more playable.

Fighting a bigger opponent gives you the chance to build up your Bushido Power. This is represented by a dragon at the bottom of the screen, when it is completely green you are at your maximum, making it easier to fight. The problem is that if you avoid fights or just blast away with the old shurikens, your Bushido is going to grow about as fast as a cactus. You have to fight a lot but you also need to become familiar with weapons so that if you come across a nunchuka-wielding nasty you can fight him with your nunchukas and increase your Bushido from the experience.

But why worry? Well, the thing is, if your Bushido is not nigh enough it will be nearly impossible to defeat the end-of-level guardian, and all this puzzle solving and scroll finding would be in vain.

The game keeps the same 3D isometric viewpoint as in previous incarnations and the sprite location has been improved so that the number of pillars or trees that the characters can walk, fight and pee behind has been increased, with no drop in quality.

Another big improvement is the sprite detection. Previously, when you felt the need to pick something up you had to be in a pixel-perfect position, but now as long as it can be seen as available to pick up, merely binding down will be enough to grab it.

Graphically it looks pretty slick but it couldn't be called ground-breaking apart from the apparent depth in the scenery. The gameplay is of a high standard, the puzzles are not as easy as you might imagine, but are of the kind that seem blindingly obvious once they've been solved.

Among this is the fighting of droves and droves of martial arts experts who are more than willing to bend your knee backwards and call you Susan.
Sound is nothing special and you may find that the tune will soon annoy anyone in the area who isn't playing, but some bone-crunching contact effects go some way to make up for it.

But this game is more about gameplay than mind-blowing graphics, and these are more than adequate. It has action and brain-teasing by the bucket-load. Well worth a look.



Last Ninja 3 logo

Armakuni, the last ninja, has had a hard life. He's over 1,000 years old, all his friends have been murdered, he has twice tried to kill the evil Shogun Kunitoki - Last Ninjas I and II - and now he's reached the end of the line! Kunitoki has gone back in time and seized an ancient Ninja Temple. IF he's not stopped, this sacrilegious assault will destroy ninjas forever and Armakuni will have to change his name from Last to Ex-!

The temple contains six symbolic characters - earth, wind, water, fire, limbo and void - which represent the essential spirit of just about everything. Our man must find a way through each in turn if he wants to finally slap Kunitoki's wrist, ninja style!

Armakuni is a changed man, he's no longer a pure bash-and-dash merchant. This time around he must collect and create tools as well as killing Kunitoki's henchmen. These tools can either be better weapons or 'keys' than unlock puzzles. Unfortunately few are found readily assembled and most mus be built on the run.

Ninja's ever-faithful sword can seem curious: two tree branches and a hanging basket's chain! The solution is provided when all three components are collected and they transform into a nunchuka. Empty bottles become bombs when gunpowder is gathered and gloves become climbing mitts when nails are discovered. Once assembled these 'keys' open new areas, but you then have to find where and how to use them!

Armakuni is not allowed to collect kit unmolested. Virtually every location houses a foe who attacks the moment the ninja appears on screen. No one-hit wonders, these boys absorb serious damage before falling. Once down they immediately begin to regain strength and eventually spring back into the fray. If they can be beaten a second time then they're dead for keeps.

Red Dragon
Ninja, armed with porky weapons, always has the edge in combat, but it's an advantage that must be used cautiously. Killing a fist fighter with a sword is easy, but lacks honour - a critical factor. Below the game screen lives a dragon which shows Armakuni's Bushido level, which turns from red to green as honour is accrued.

Fighting a sword-wielding foe with a sword earns honour, while using nunchukas on an unarmed foe saps Bushido power. And as each end-of-level guardian can only be beaten when the Bushido level's 100 per cent, honour underpins the entire game.

The graphic display keep the isometric faith but both backgrounds and sprites are significantly better than any previous Ninja outing. The scenery is glitch free, allowing you to explore the entire background. The sprites are big, bright and animate with a sure style - speed blurs embellish sword strokes for example. Graphic quality is flagged from the first load with a slick scene-setting intro. The sound adds further gloss to the finish, aiding both atmosphere and gameplay.

Death Jam
Ninja III exhibits certain problems on the loading speed and map design fronts. The low loading speed can be excused by ambition, but spending over a minute circumnavigating the high-score table via a death screen is irritating, because you want to get back to the fight!

The isometric design is littered with fatal edges, which punish sloppy joystick work. Yet when you switch between screens the ninja sprite is occasionally obscured from view by the background, leaving you guessing as to which moves are safe. If you are hidden, and next to a cliff, the results can be fatal.

The last word in System 3's long-running oriental saga is the best. The graphics, sound and varied gameplay ensures Armakuni goes out on a high note. Long disk access and the occasionally obscured hero mar the game, introducing frustrations to an already tough game, but these are not fatal flaws. A major challenge which the determined will enjoy, but the easily irritated should steer well clear.



Last Ninja 3 logo

Amigianer und die letzten Ninjas - das war schon immer eine problematische Beziehung! Erst kam "Last Ninja 2", und wir waren enttäuscht. Dann kam der ursprünglich erste Teil als "Ninja Remix" und versöhnte uns wieder. Aber jetzt haben wir ein für allemal die Nase voll von dem asiatischen Stehaufmännchen!

Wenn eine Company praktisch dreimal dasselbe Spiel veröffentlicht, dann sind Ermüdungserscheinungen vorprogrammiert - egal, ob sich darunter C 64-Klassiker befinden oder nicht. Und wenn dann noch bei der Konvertierung geschludert wird, braucht sich niemand zu wundern, wenn sich bald auch der ausdauerndste Schattenkrieger gelangweilt abwendet...

Das Unglück beginnt damit, daß die isometrische 3D-Perspektive dieser Actionadventures am "Brotkasten" ja sensationell gewesen sein mag - am Amiga hat man schon weit besseres gesehen (z.B. "Cadaver").

Aber bitte, damit könnten wir leben. Mit dem bescheidenen Sound schon weniger, und spätestens bei der schlampig umgezetzten Steuerung ist der Ofen aus. Besonders, wenn sich die Gegner so unfair verhalten, wie sie es hier oft und gerne tun.

Der Vollständigkeit halber noch ein paar Details: Natürlich zieht Armakuni wieder gegen den bösen Shogun Kunitoki zu Felde, diesmal in Tibet. Natürlich muß wieder viel gekämpft werden, zwischen-rein darf man ein paar Gegenstände aufklauben.

Und natürlich gibt's für das gleiche Geld wesentlich bessere Games, als diesen (nun hoffentlich wirklich letzten) Ninja-Aufguß von System 3. Schon allein deshalb, weil hier unnatürlich lange nachgeladen wird, und man unnatürlich oft Disk wechseln darf! (mm)



Last Ninja 3 logo

When is a Last Ninja not a Last Ninja? When it spawns countless sequels that's when. Here comes another one!

Okay, let's get something clear from the start, so nobody whinges about it later on. None of us here have ever cared much for System 3's immensely successful Last Ninja series. While undeniably gorgeous-looking, we all found them largely unplayable due to the appallingly unwieldy control system and the nit-pickingly finicky positioning required for many important moves.

System 3 say they've taken such criticism on board for this final(?) game, making it far more user-friendly, while at the same time fiddling around with many of the basic parameters. The simple probleme-solving and beat-'em-upping action of old has been superseded by a design which the company claims will appeal to console gamers and RPG fans as well as devotees of the earlier titles.

How do they intend to do this? Well, they've played fairly fast and loose with relative graphic sizes, and made the object manipulation much more complicated, which accounts for much of it. Where in the old games you'd have found a key and opened a door with it, in Last Ninja 3 you have to find a fire, collect some bellows to pump it up with, get a key mould, pick up some metal to actually make the key from, and finally use a flux substance to help the melting process! (Then you have to find the door...)


The levels are all largely featureless, characterless affairs

While this may be stretching the definition of RPG a little bit, it's certainly a bit more involved than the bonehead antics Ninja fans are used to.

So anyway, after all this guff what do we have? Ninja 3 is played over six levels with an elemental link - each stage is themed on either earth, wind water, fire, or 'void', with an extra 'limbo' stage before the last of those. Great care has been taken with the plot and background in order to keep the atmosphere intact all the way through, and the game drips with attention to detail.

The movie-like intro sequence is a particularly impressive example of this, showing the ninja creeping up on a castle stealthily scaling the wall and breaking the neck of the guard on the battlements, all accompanied by striking mjsic and broken up by credits in a truly cinematic style.

All this, in addition to the chunky manual and the general presentation, is a laudable attempt by System 3 to give the paying customer a complete package for their £26, something which many other software houses could learn from (we've seen some truly tragic packaging lately, with Ocean's Darkman and Domark's Thunderjaws being just a couple of the worst offenders), but it'll all count for nothing if the game isn't any good. So without further ado, let's find out it isn't.


The game drips with attention to detail

First impression - 'So what's new?' Ninja 3's much-vaunted new user-friendly control system is, in operation, not significantly different from how it used to be. There's no escaping it, and no amount of protesting from System 3 will change the fact.

Moving still seems to be a haphazard and inconsistent affair, with the same joystick move often appearing to have radically different effects. The number of times I sent my ninja plummeting off the edge of a narrow walkway to his death instead of charging heroically towards an enemy was... 565. You're more or less okay as long as you keep moving, but the control is so un-instinctive that as soon as you stand still, you completely forget which stick movement corresponds to which direction. The ninja frequently refuses to face the direction you want him to, ending up back-pedalling furiously into a sword-wielding samurai and getting himself slashed to pieces while you scream obscenities at the hopeless cretin.

Second impression - 'what happened to the lovely graphics, then?'While Ninja III is undeniably extremely pretty, the superb atmosphere of the original games has been lost. The levels are all largely featureless characterless affairs, lacking the unique feel of, say, the New York streets of the first Last Ninja (if you see what I mean).

There's another problem with the graphics, too - the screens are often so packed with detail that parts of the playing area are totally obscured, which is a severe pain when you're wandering around in one of them and you get attacked by a baddie. Trying to fight someone using Ninja 3's control system when you can't even see which way you're facing (or indeed exactly where you are) is a dead loss and no mistake.


Last Ninja 3 is undoubtedly the best game in the series

Third impression - 'Call yourself a ninja, you big girl's blouse?' It's all very well saying the graphic scaling has been fiddled with to give the whole thing a big butch console feel, but seeing your ninja fall a distance which looks like your feet and dying from the impact is unavoidably silly. Also silly is not being able to walk across grass - what is he, allergic or something? If the ninja's path is going to be restricted, there should at least be some kind of nominal fence or wall or something to mark the impasse - it just looks daft for your ruff 'n' tuff superhero to have to walk round miles of pathway in order to avoid stepping on a daisy.

Fourth impression - 'Take the what and the what and do what with them?' Now we come to the 'RPG' element. This is really pushing things a bit. Picking stuff up and making other stuff out of it, fine, but since most of the answers to problems are handed to you pretty much on a plate (they're mostly too obscure for you to expect players to work them out for themselves to any significant extent), calling Ninja 3 a role playing game is like calling R-Type II a wargame because there's shooting in it.

Fifth impression - 'Not two stools, but three'. As previously mentioned, System 3 are hoping to appeal to three distinct types of game player with this release. I think, though, they're in serious danger of landing uncomfortably somewhere in the rocky middle ground. Console-type players will be put off by the awkward controls over the tedious mucking around with puzzles, RPG punters will laugh their heads off at the merest suggestion that this is one of 'their' games, and Last Ninja-lovers may feel that the concentrated focus of the previous titles has been lost.

Sounds like a bit of a disaster, doesn't it? Well, no, that isn't really the case. Last Ninja 3 is undoubtedly the best game in the series, ad I'm quite certain that it will sell huge numbers of copies. What I'm not so sure about is that it'll sell as many as System 3 would like to it to - it could just be that The Last Ninja's time has finally passed. The game-buying public knows what it wants from its software these days, and a title which tries to be all things to all people may find itself ending up being nothing very much to anyone.


THE FOUR ELEMENTS (PLUS A COUPLE MORE)
The six levels of Ninja 3 represent the four traditional elements (earth, air, fire, water) with a couple of extra ones System 3 have thrown in quite gratuitously to pad it out. What nice boys.
Last Ninja 3
Level one is the Earth level - in this pic you can see the end boss, who wields an enormous club as his subtle means of dissuading you from leaving.
Last Ninja 3
Level two is Wind - much of the action takes place on precarious platforms on the edge of cliffs. In the corner, you can see the Wind boss too, but don't try and tackle him from this position.
Last Ninja 3
Level three is Water and it's, er, wet. This stage features all the stuff you'd expect - waterfalls, whirlpools, erm, streams (and the like).
Last Ninja 3
Level four is Fire, characterised by lots of bubbling lava, methane gas and so on (so add burning to the long list of ways in which to meet your maker).
Last Ninja 3
Level five, the Limbo level, is set on lots of platforms suspened in space on nothing very much at all - so watch your step near the edges!
Last Ninja 3
Level six, or Void, is the ultimate level of the game, and takes place in a void (so no surprises there). Mind you, the Sunday Sport might be interested in some of the things you'll come across...

Last Ninja 3 logo CU Amiga Screenstar

The film world has the Halloween and Friday The Thirteenth sagas and in the world of software there's The Last Ninja. Just like the aforementioned films the plots between the three Ninja games bear almost no resemblance to each other, and this, the last installment, is the best yet.

My earliest recollection of martial arts was sitting down to watch Enter The Dragon. As a mere sprog at the time, it inspired me to go out and Karate chop all of my mates. I've matured since then and have realised that it's nice being able to give things a good slapping without taking any painful retaliation. Enter the computer beat 'em up. Ten years after its debut, digital kung fu death and silicon Samurais are still going strong. System 3's Last Ninja series has been doing the rounds on every conceivable computer format for the last six years, and now the third, and supposedly the final, game has arrived.

The controls are now directional rather than rotational as in the previous games, which means the Ninja moves in the corresponding direction of the joystick. Fight moves are easily accessed, so there's no confusion during fight scenes. All the moves are typically offensive: overhead chops, low sweeps, gut wrenching cuts and kicks make up a large portion of the Ninja's arsenal.

Weapons include bo sticks, swords, nunchakas, and the usual unarmed chops and punches. And, when used during a fight, killing a similarly armed warrior increases the Ninja's inner-force, depicted as a red dragon, which is needed to defeat the end-of-level guardians.

A Ninja's life isn't all hack and slash, though, as many problems have to be solved along the way. Unlike the previous Ninja games where puzzles were merely a matter of using an object at a certain time, in Ninja 3 weapons have to be built and keys manufactured. A few branches linked together with a chain swiped from a hanging basket makes a perfect weapon. Other puzzles are more intricate, and require a number of different objects and visits to several key locations.

Ninja 3's sound effects are fantastic. Sampled groans, thumps, clanks and screams make the game sound like a low-budget Japanese duff 'em up movie. If samples aren't your jug of saki, there are different tunes on each level, made up from the obligatory whines and plinky noises in films such as Yojimbo and the karate series, Monkey.

The game is equally hot on the graphics front. As in the other Ninja games, the character's movement is limited to paths which run through the screen. Without any Ninjas to trample over them, the backdrops have been extremely well designed. The dungeon level has boiling lava pits and waterfalls, as well as some ultra-tough enemies. This creates a real challenge.

The idea behind Ninja 3 is old, but the execution, graphics, and sound are all impressive enough to make the game extremely attractive and playable. Just like the movies that inspired it, this game lacks the blood but has the thunder to make it excellent.


KUNG-DANCING

The only reason the Japanese created the 'Play Only' video players was for Kung Fu films. A typical Oriental martial arts film uses fast motion to make the main character's karate chop look extra quick, with slow motion to milk the rare moment when the bad guy mucks up and slaps the hero in the face, and reverse play when the bad guy gets sucked through a time warp back into the pits of hell. Who needs extra functions when you have films like these?

You wonder about the people who make these movies - some of the plots are that weird! If you're after over-the-top action check out some of these crazed karate movies: Death Kick Ninja III - The Dominiation, Kung fu - The Headcrusher, Ten Fingers Of Steel, Zombie Ninja Master and Kung Fu Buster.

FOILED AGAIN Until Toledo in Spain cornered the sword market, the Japanese were the masters of bladed weapons. Japanese swords came in three sizes: Katana, which were primarily used in battles, a shorter one called a Wakizachi for close combat, and a Kodzuka, which was a small dagger.

Swords were usually made from a sheet of steel which was folded between ten and fifteen times then wrapped around an iron core. The blade was then shaped and covered in a layer of sand, clay and charcoal. This mixture was scraped from the edge of the blade which was then fired and dunked in water once it had turned a certain colour. The result was a very hard cutting edge with a softer back which made the sword slightly springy and less susceptible to shocks.

The finished sword would then be tested out on a corpse. Disembowelling and limb removal cuts were tried out, as well as Tai-Tai, a cut across the shoulders and neck to completely destroy an opponent. Needless to say only the sharpest blades could accomplish this.


Last Ninja 3 logo Zero Hero

"Dear Sir, I must write to complain about your introductions, which generally consist of meaningless drivel. One trusts that Ben Caudell's review of System 3's Last Nina 3 will have a more useful opening. Yours, Sir 'Buffy' Binkman." Oh dear.

Ninjas, eh? Ninja, ninja, ninja, ninja - love them or loathe them, they're here to stay. Or at least they were until the arrival of Last Ninja 3, the last of System 3's Last Ninjas. The Previous Last Ninjas (how many last ninjas can you get?) were rather big in the old 8-bit hit parade. He must be getting a bit past it by now, 'cos the old ninja's making one last outing - to go out with a bang, with a bigger, better and all together more ninja game.

It's based on a similar format to the previous games, with your ninja bloke wandering around several big levels presented on isometric view screens, doing his ninja business against various hulky, ninja-hating nasties. But the bods at System 3 have built an exotic trifle on this solid trustworthy foundation (or 'sponge').

First they've poured on a colourful jelly of brilliant-looking scenery and animation. While waiting for that to set they've knocked up a thick, thick custard of puzzles so difficult, that even the most hardened of adventurers would probably spill it down his (or her) beard.

After that, they've whipped up a fat 'Dream Topping' of fast console-style beat 'em up with a variety of weapons, and sprinkled on 'hundreds and thousands' of baddies, locations and objects. Mmmmm... what a tasty treat!

Your task as ninja is to collect a scroll on ecah of the six levels by solving various puzzles and then 'have a go' at the rather gruesome end of level bad guy. You can do swift pick-ups when objects nearby are revealed in a little window on-screen, and collecting certain objects combine (while in your possession) to form new ones.

Collecting two branches and some chain will give you nunchukkas for example. You're given various fighting moves via the joystick and fire button, with you and your opponents' power shown on a little spirally meter. Next to this is a dragon which measures your 'bushido' power (i.e. how well you're doing in the 'beating up the baddies' stakes). Do them over using their choice of weapon and you gain bushido, but simply whittle them away by throwing things and you won't do so well.

You'll need the old bushido to have a chance to finish off the final end-of-level nasty. So get practising those old ninja moves, pull on the trusty black mask... and pass the trifle, mother.

Amiga reviewBen: As the saying goes "If you like cheese, you'll love these!" (with the 'cheese' in quesiton being arcade/adventure games and the 'these' the six levels of Last Ninja 3).

It's got everything that lovers of this particular big cheese enjoy: big areas that need careful mapping, objects to pick up and brain-teasers to get your head round. And what makes it all the more enjoyable is that this particular slice of cheese is eaten with a well-buttered 'cream cracker' of some superb graphics. (That's enough food metaphors. Ed.)

The main problem with it is that those who don't like the arcade/adventure savoury snack might find Last Ninja 3's blend of beat 'em up and puzzle solving a little unsatisfying. Real beat 'em up fans won't find much enjoyment in doing over the various thugs that come your way - once you've found the sword, fighting merely becomes a question of joystick waggling.
Conversely, those who enjoy solving puzzles may get a little bit fed up with all these blokes getting in the way.

The other prob with the game is the rather wibbly control system, which demonstrates itself in the number of times your ninja starts to moonwalk Michael Jackson-style when you really meant to leg it away from a fight. No doubt you'll get the hang of this after a bit, though.

Having said this, Last Ninja 3 is a game that you can really get stuck into, with loads of places to go and things to do. It should take a good while to complete - a real five-course meal of a game, with the starter being the atmospheric opening sequence... (Right, that's enough. You're fired. Ed.) Stop



Last Ninja 3 logo CD32

Last Ninja 3 (System 3, 081-864 8212 £14.99) isn't a beat-em-up, though the genre features strongly in the game, nor is it an RPG although you do take on a role and have to wander through temples solving the odd puzzle.

Your task is to rid an isometric-viewed sacred temple of evil Shogun and his henchmen but it's unlikely the fight sequences will inspire beat-em-up fans because the characters occasionally become obscured by trees and buildings - and they're rather small.

It's quite a pretty game and there is plenty to have a go at but it's dreadfully uninspriring.


Last Ninja 3 logo CD32

Am 64er galt der letzte Schattenkrieger einst als Klassiker, am Amiga ging sein dritter Auftritt schon vor Jahren in die Disk-Hose - doch System 3 wollte sich unbedingt auch noch auf CD blamieren!

Daß man ein verstaubtes Action-adventure, das bereits anno '91 gerade mal 33 Prozentchen für sich verbuchen konnte, heute auf Silberscheibe preßt, ist verwunderlich - daß es statt Verbesserungen nur Verschlechterungen gibt, eine glatte Frechheit.

Soll hier schlicht und ergreifend abgezockt werden? Es sieht fast so aus, vor allem, wenn man an das nebenan getestete Actiondebakel aus gleichem Hause denkt...

Freilich gibt es von diesem Ninja nicht umsonst drei Teile, im Prinzip könnte das Game also durchaus Spaß machen. Es gilt, durch fernöstliche Iso-Gegenden zu pilgern und sich mit Hand und Fuß der Schergen eines bösen Shoguns zu erwehren, während Sammelitems, Extrawaffen (Schwerter, Shuriken etc.), kleine Rätseleinlagen und ein variables Level-Layout für Abwechslung sorgen sollen.

Die Praxis sieht leider ganz anders aus: Mit einer komplett verpatzten Steuerung müht man sich ab, den rheumatisch animierten Asiaten durch Kampfarenen zu dirigieren, die gerade mal die Hälfte des Screens einnehmen.

Dabei hat der Held nicht nur mit unfairen Attacken seitens der Gegner, sondern auch noch mit massenhaft Programmfehlern zu kämpfen! Systemabstürze, Grafikfehler und unerklärbare Wartepausen beim Umschalten zwischen Musik und FX sind also an der Tagesordnung; einmal schwebte unser Ninja sogar plötzlich quer über eine Schlucht und konnte das Bild nicht mehr verlassen

Der so erzwungene Reset war aufgrund der altbackenen Präsentation in Verbindung mit schlampigster Programmierung schon fast eine Erlösung... (rl)