He's called in the National Guard!

Ninja Warriors logo Amiga Computing Excellence Award

HOW many ninjas have you ever seen? No, really. I mean, I always considered Tooting to be a fairly multi-racial but I don't think I've ever seen a ninja washing his smalls in the launderette or having a quick pastie and chips in The Dolphin.
The point being that seeing as they seem to represent the ultimate in covert operations as witnessed by the plethora of ninja games, you never see them about.
Maybe that's because they're so good at sneaking around or something, but eve they must have to nip down the Spar for a pack of fags every now and then, surely?

Anyway, this is all irrelevant. The sheet-garbed assassin of drug barons' nightmares is back, and this time he hasn't brought anything with him at all apart from a couple of sharp kaives and a few shuriken.

The evil Bangler, notorious dictator, gangland chief, pop group (no, not really) and fat old Sun reader has succeeded in becoming president. He now has the army and police at his control. The rebel heroes have constructed two robotic ninja assassins to track him down to his mansion and deliver rough justice.

At first you may be wondering why you have been transferred to the land of cinemascope because there are large tracts of black space above and below the play area. Ah, but this is in fact a cunning ploy. If you ever ventured into one of those devil's armpits called arcades you will have noticed that Ninja runs on three screens to give a panoramic view.

In order to simulate all three screens properly, the programmers, Random Access, had to fiddle about and reshoot in wide-screen format. So there you are. They're not that cunning though or they would've flogged off some of the space for advertising.

The strategy is not too difficult to follow - just kill everything.
Guys wanders on, have a go at you and either die or wander off again. You may also encounter rabid dogs, tanks and flying squirrels not to mention other patrons of the arts martial. It may seem a bit tame, but it is fun, very difficult and very, very absorbing.

Cunningness part two: You will be playing for some while and then notice something. Or, more like it, not notice something, because Ninja hasn't stopped to load anything in yet. Well, actually it has and it hasn't. It has loaded something in - it just didn't bother stopping. Ten million cunning points awarded.

Sampled sounds, pleasant graphics and nice animated sequences recreate the atmosphere of the arcade. Easy to get into, but there's lots of it and it gets challenging later on.
If I was stripped, bound and gagged until I could sum it up in one word, I would say "Mmmmph". Failing that I think "Compulsive" is the mot juste.


Ninja Warriors logo

VIRGIN £19.99 Joystick and Keyboard

Darius from Taito created something of a stir a couple of years ago when it first appeared in the arcades, not because it was a particularly good game, but because it was the first to use a system of three monitors, giving a massive 45" play area.

Then came The Ninja Warriors - a completely different type of game, but still using the large play area - and now there is the Amiga version. Will you need three monitors to get the full effect?
No. To retain the 'wide screen' feel of the game the graphics have shrunk into a 1/3 height strip of game area. This is a one or two player hack and slash game fought over six stages.

Your motivation for going through with it? Well, the year is 1993 and the head of not only the military police forces but also the underworld criminal elements is a nasty chap called Bangler. To restore some sense of order to things, this chap needs 'rubbing out', and so Mulk, the leader of the revolutionaries, has invested some considerable time and effort in building two robot assassins. The Ninja Assassins.

This horizontally scrolling game starts in the slums where the assassins have to work their way left-to-right through the stage chopping and slashing away with their two knives at the enemies that come running on from either side. Obviously, these chaps do not want to be sent to the great coin-op in the sky so they will attack you with knives themselves - some are even armed with machine guns and grenade launchers - and every hit taken reduces your energy until you die. Then it is a case of either restarting or using up one of your three credits to continue.

The game would not be complete without some mid and end of level guardians to take out, and these include hunchback-like Ground Spiders and large animated tanks manned by a sub machine gun touting maniac. Fortunately, as well as just knives, you are armed with a limited amount of shuriken (throwing stars) which can be lobbed to take out some baddies from a distance. Make it through the stages and the baddies become more numerous and more aggressive, until the final confrontation with the archfiend Bangler himself.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

A first class conversion. The animation is great, as are the backgrounds. The sound effects are also superb, although the title music grates after a while. One of the best looking coin-op conversions to date.

JUDGEMENT

Fans of the genre are in for a real treat: this one is immensely playable and well put together. The shrunken screen works brilliantly and though it is no fault of the conversion, all the original needed was a bit more variety and it would coveted the Format Gold award. As it is, it comes just about as close as it could. A great game.


Ninja Warriors logo

"Virgin", die ja schon mit "Double Dragon II" zeigten, dass sie auch anspruchsvolle Prügelspiele umsetzen können, haben sich den nächsten Automaten vorgeknöpft: verantwortlich zeichnet diesmal Random Access, vielen sicher durch die Konvertierung von "Silkworm" bekannt.

Wenn es nach der Vorgeschichte von Ninja Warriors geht, werden wir demnächst, genauer gesagt im Jahre 1993, von einem Diktator namens Bangler regiert, dessen korrupte Truppen die ganze Welt kontrollieren. Gottseidank gibt es da doch eine Untergrundbewegung, die diesen Wahnsinn mit Hilfe von zwei Roboter-Ninjas stoppen will. Die beiden Killermaschinen haben nur einen Haken: sie müssen von Menschen gesteuert werden - und das ist genau der Punkt, an dem der/die Spieler eingreifen müssen, um Banglers Herrschaft per Joystick oder Tastatur zu beenden.

Zu meiner Verwunderung stellte ich fest, daß das Geschehen nur im mittleren Drittel des Bildschirms stattfindet, aber der Grund dafür wurde schnell deutlich: Jeder der sechs Level ist riesig, und es erscheinen ständig neue Grafiken, die während des Spiels nachgeladen werden!

Die gut animierten kleinen Figuren sind sehr detailreich gezeichnet, so wird z.B. der metallische Unterbau sichtbar, wenn einer der Blech-Ninjas einen Teil seiner Kleidung verliert.

Die Level sind alle sehr verschieden und abwechslungsreich, es wimmelt nur so von Soldaten, mutierten Quasimodos, feindlichen Ninjas, Feuerspeiern, Kettenschwingers und Flugmenschen, die es gar nicht abwarten können, von den rasiermesserscharfen Ninjaschwertern zerteilt zu werden. Aber das ist längst nicht alles: Meuten von Panzern, Killerdroiden und dressierten Schäferhunden wollen unseren Kämpfern an's Leder, äh, Gehäuse.

Die Gegner haben die Angewohnheit, sich mit einem großen Blutzspritzer von dieser Welt zu verabschieden, es tropft förmlich aus dem Monitor! Netterweise wird das zur Wirkungssteigerung auch noch von sehr realistisch gemachten Geräuschen untermalt, ansonsten gibt's (außer der dudelnden Titelmusik) keine Soundtrack.

Die Steuerung der Spielfigur ist ausgezeichnet, der Spieler hat schon bald alles im Griff - trotz zweier verschiedener Waffen muß man nicht auf die Tastatur zurückgreifen, es sei denn, man hat nur einen Joystick (dann siehe Menü: "F10").

Mal abgesehen davon, daß Ninja Warriors sicher nicht den Friedensnobelpreis bekommen wird, ist es ein sehr gutes, actionreiches Game, das hervorragend umgesetzt wurde. Für den etwas klein geratenen Screen wird man durch Massen von Grafik und ein feines, wenn auch brutales Gameplay entschädigt. Die Anleitung ist nur teilweise in Deutsch, unverständlicherweise hat man die Geschichte nicht mit-übersetzt. Das Spiel wird auf zwei Disketten geliefert, die man lobenswerterweise nicht allzuoft wechseln muß. (mm)


Ninja Warriors logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Sales Curve/Virgin
Price: £19.99

When you see a game that looks and plays like The Ninja Warriors it is infuriating. If you consider the number of wasted arcade licences you see in any one year it is difficult to see how anyone can have an excuse for not turning in something of this quality.
Not only is The Ninja Warriors a faithful coin-op conversion, it is near perfect. The last time we said that was when we saw Silkworm. it should come as no surprise then that not only is the same company responsible, but the same programmers are involved.

Back in May we picked out Silkworm as an early front-runner for conversion of the year. With that feather tucked firmly in their caps Dutch coders Ronald Pieket Weeserik and John Croudy have been slaving over The Ninja Warriors attempting to go one better. It seems they have.

Like Silkworm, The Ninja Warriors is hardly a big game arcade licence. It is probably better known for its three screen monitor set up rather than the originality of its gameplay. This is a sensible move on the part of The Sales Curve and one that pays dividends.

The Ninja Warriors is a pretty straightforward two player horizontal beat 'em up. It was a well-balanced challenge with some neat touches, but none as neat as those displayed in the conversion. Naturally the game has been compressed to fit on one monitor, but the graphics have been downloaded making it very pleasing to the eye. Despite the playing area being restricted to a narrow band the ninjas are still some six sprites in size, and they are beautifully animated, to the point where the female's hair bounces up and down when she jumps as if she was in a Silkience advert. One of the end of level guardians, the tank, has as many as seventeen different animation stops which makes the turret swing beautifully smoothly.

The technical achievements do not stop there. Whilst there are two disks everything loads in as you play untilyou have to swap (just the once) between levels. Nothing too radical about that until you realise it is loading in the sound for approaching sequences - and it is all sampled.

There is six levels, the largest being seventeen screens wide, which take you through streets, airfields and interiors in pursuit of the perennial Boss character (who turns out to be a fat little wimp). The ninjas jump, flip, block blows and hack wickedly with knives. One minor problem is that it is too easy to waste the shuriken stars. They are limited in supply so it is all too easy to run out when you need them most - and need them you will because the armed soldiers and the hunch backed ground spiders sap your energy rapidly.

It is a pleasure to play another oriental beat 'em up when t is as polished as this. The Ninja Warriors should be a surprise contender for the top spot this Christmas or there is no Santa Claus.


Ninja Warriors logo

Virgin Mastertronic/ST & Amiga £19.99

Amiga reviewPaul: Ninja Warriors is a beat 'em up coin-op conversion and a very successful one at that. Action is fast, smooth and furious. Sound is a cut (or rather a drop kick) above the usual 'Splat ooph' school of effects. And if you can resist the temptation to blow your top at the first sign of danger, then there are six levels to fight your way through.

As with the arcade game, each level has a good backdrop but little villain variety. Most of your time is spent wandering down streets or corridors, fighting commandos who are about as much use in a fight as a nun in a brewery. Other opponents are a taller order, giving the Ninja plenty of opportunity to display all his fighting skills. Combat is fast and fairly accurate.

Ninja Warriors is considerably better than the average punch 'em up. Slick movement and rapid loading mean the action is never more than a gunshot away. The action might be samey but it's undeniably tough.


Ninja Warriors logo

Sales Curve/Virgin, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

In 1993 evil rules the day. The tyrant Bangler has taken power with the police, military, and criminal elements all under his presidential thumb. A pretty neat trick, and Bangler intends to stay in power longer than Mrs T.

While political rivals are intimidated, or caught by the media in the company of models younger than their daughters, then Bangler seems to achieve his awful ambitions. But there is a solution, one from the RoboCop school of political subtlety - assassinate the crook!

While the normal procedure is for some unknown geek to kill a president, times have moved on and a more sophisticated approach is called for. Enter the Ninja Warriors, androids with metal instead of skin, circuits instead of veins. They're mean mothers specially created by the revolutionaries to assassinate Bangler. So begins the slaughter...

The Warriors kick things off in the slums of the capital city with 30 shurikens to throw and two razor sharp knives to slice and dice. Bangler isn't one to make life easy and the army is sent in to put paid to the intruders. A well placed knife or shuriken normally deals with these, but watch out for dogs, riflemen and grenade launcher-equipped infantry. Android energy is swiftly drained by hits, and on the Amiga bits of clothing fall off to reveal the metal beneath.

Taking on the military is easy enough but they're only the start of things. Bangler has his bizarre combatants to call up, including the hunchbacked Ground Spider (aim for that hump!), a Ninja lady with deadly swordplay, Iron Arm the ball swinger, Shape Shifting Ninjas with breath problems, not-so-friendly robots with a nasty line in laser fire, and a massive tank which blasts shells at the Ninja Warriors before coming on to greet them with a hail of machine gun fire.

Making it through the onslaught sees a big scrap with one of Bangler's Orient cronies at level's end. And the scenery for the carnage includes a well defended military base, a storage depot, night-time city streets, murky sewers, and finally the plush mansion where Bangler finally cowers in fair.


Robin Hogg I really enjoyed playing the Taito arcade original when it came out in early '88, three monitors joined together, and robotic Ninjas livening up the gameplay. The home computer versions have replicated the three screens approach which hasn't affected gameplay. The 64 Ninja sprite is excellently shaded with some well detailed enemies to hack, but it's a shame the backdrops weren't a little more varied, and there's no two-player mode. The Amiga game retains near all of the arcade game's graphics and the soundtrack is lifted straight from the coin-op with no changes. A very close conversion indeed with a great ending.
Stuart Wynne Unlike Robin I haven't played the arcade game, and was disappointed by the lack of innovation - why does every beat-'em-up game have to start in a city inhabited only by crazy ninjas? Having said that it's certainly very playable, and the robotic touch works well on the Amiga. In short, fans of both the arcade and beat-'em-ups are generally well served but there's little for anyone else to get excited about.