Format reviewed: SNES
Developer: Natsumi and Taito
Submitted by: Yiu
The Ninja Warriors is a 2D horizontal beat em up action game from Taito. It’s similar to action game like Vigilante or Kung Fu. The original arcade cabinet was a three screens system dating back to 1987. I remember back then when I saw this, it was a very impressive looking game in term of graphics. The demo shows the player, a male ninja in blue or a female kunoichi in red going up against a tank and getting itself blown into bits, while revealing the ninjas’ cyborg skeleton underneath. I think this had been the game’s most recognizable image.
This game received several home ports, the one I play was the Turbografx 16 version with an import adapter. This game was a real bomb and I could see why it was never localize to the North America audience. The control was stiff, the fighting was boring and it was also a very difficult game with really uninspiring, very mediocre graphics and sound. It was all around sub par to similar beat em up game like Altered Beast on the Genesis.
Fast forward to 1994 and the SNES. This time Taito released a remake of this title with programming done by Natsumi. (This is the game that made me realize what an awesome company Natsumi is.) Natsumi took the basic concept and expended on it. This remake is nothing like the original arcade. It is a thousand, a billion, a gazillion times better. The graphics on the SNES is some of the best the system has to offer. The sounds are also top notch. The game features three disparate and distinctive ninja cyborgs. The blue male ninja is now a hulking giant with metal nunchucks, the female kunoichi is now a sassy blond with a pair of kunais. You also get a third character name Kamaitachi (Google for an image if you’re curious) armed with a pair of wrist blades. The three playable cyborgs had their own speed and unique techniques. Although the play mechanic is similar in execution, the speed of each cyborg makes them feel very different. The levels design are pedestrian, but does feature more unique enemies that only appear later in the game as well as unique boss fight at the end of each stage. The game is very well balance with reasonable checkpoint when continuing. This is one of the best action beat em up game that is often under rated.
There are some minor differences in the Japanese Super Famicon version and the North America SNES version.
-A female kunoichi enemy with a katana is replace by the regular midget with claws in the SNES version. This replace female kunoichi has her own unique attacks.
-(There might be a few minor things, I’ll have to go back and compare the two versions.)
(Below is a move list compile by me, this is for people without the instruction menu.)
X – Power bomb when meter is full or special super (hold up, press Y attacks and the final move is a special)
Y – Regular attacks (hold Y to block and jump to flip when blocking)
B – Jump
D + Jump = Dash (press Y during dash to do a kick)
(Grab) D + Y
(Grab) U + Y
Jump, D + Y
Jump, U + Y
D + Jump = forward Stab
(Grab) D + Y (press Y rapidly to stab multiple times)
(Grab) U + Y
(Grab) Y (hold left or right to throw at that direction)
Jump, kick (quickly hold the opposite direction of the landed kick to flip and kick backward, repeat this to continuously flip kicks)
Kamaitachi: (No grapple moves)
D + Jump = Kick
(Close to enemy) D + Y
(Close to enemy) F + Y
(Close to enemy) B + Y