New York, 1988. In the shadows, without a sound, someone is walking through the streets un-noticed. Central Park is nearby, he can feel it. Yes, he can see the top of the bandstand. He knows that below it is the entrance to the sewers, the only way to get into Kunitoki Shogun's headquarters undetected. It's the only way to get The Orb, the seat of his power, the only way to destroy him. And he must destroy him for the sake of his family whom the Evil One murdered, and honour, which demands that he do it on behalf of the Good Lords who sent him forward in time...
That's how it begins, the amazing story of a lone ninja's attempt to destroy an evil magical Shogun called Kunitoki. Back in the 17th Century, the Shogun killed an entire family, just to exert his authority. What he didn't know was that the one member he didn't murder was a powerful ninjoa, the Last Ninja in fact (Oops!). After discovering this was the case, he phased himself forward in time to 1988 in order to escape. But old Ninja had some powerful friends, and these good magicians helped him to follow Kunitoki through time to New York... Meanwhile, in New York Kunitoki's in his element. He has used his almost magical power to set himself up as a drug baron, and hides himself away in a skyscraper/fortress near Central Park. Ninja has discovered that a secret entrance into the fortress exists in Central Park, and as the game starts he is searching for a way in.
So what happened to the much advertised Last Ninja 1? I hear you squeak. Well, it's quite simple really. System 3 didn't think it was up to scratch, its quality control is that good, that it took the decision not to release it until it was perfect. Which meant that the sequel project overtook it, and it turns out that this will come out first. All that effort just to bring you a good game, eh? Makes you break out in a sweat just thinking about it, dunnit? Still at least we have the brilliant new Ninja II to contend with.
Ninja II is a superb feat of programming. It's a six level multiload, with each level taking up the whole of a 48K computer. It's taken Mev Dinc, the programmer, a full six months to get the game from first code to a finished state, and it's easy to see why. The game is fully 3D, and packed to the edges of the screen with fiendish puzzles, the like of which I've never seen. There are objects to collect and manipulate, energy to be gained and fights to be fought. I'd like to see someone try and map it, too. The trail leads us down into the sewers, through Central Park, into a factory, up, down, left, right... all over the shop! (If you can do a map, I'd be interested to see it!) It's a big game, in all senses of the word, and if anything this year has got HIT written all over it, this has. If you like quick, flashy beat 'em ups, then it'll suit you fine, but if you really want something big and fleshy to get your teeth into (fnar) then Nina II is the only game that will do. Available August 25th.
Ninja Heavy Tips
Pick up everything, as you can carry an unlimited quantity of objects.Try everything, no matter how impossible it seems. You may get the clue to a puzzle by experimentation.Use objects on other objects to assess their effect. Important!Important features of a room will flash when you enter if you have a map.Watch carefully for hidden doorways and alarm systems.
Level One - Central Park
Kunitoki has sent his men into Central Park, disguised as New York cops and muggers, to stop you at all costs. The Evil One has also conjured up a swarm of killer bees to thwart you, but these aren't too troublesome as you can run away. There are many types of objects to pick and use, but weapons are handy, as they increase the amount the Ninja whips off his opponents energy, making them easier to kill.
Level Two - The Street
Those mean streets! And they are too, don't cross the road when the lights are against you, 'cos you'll get splattered by some of the NY traffic. The phoney cops follow you out onto the street too, so you've got to move fast. Very soon they are joined by the workmen, who are also under the control of Kunitoki.
Level Three - The Sewers
Phwaw! Wotta smell... yes, you're down among the rats in the sewers of the Big Apple. Yes, there are rats! The lamps flicker and cast reflections on the water (an effect that Mev Dinc is very proud of, by the way) and around one bend in the winding passages... URK! A flippin' great alligator, alive and well and living in the whoosher! There is a way to get rid of this beast, so don't lose your bottle. Hmm.
Level Four - The Basement
From the sewers, having got past this snapper, you enter the basement of Kunitoki's skyscraper. The opium factory's in full swing, shipping the deadly produce throughout the city. There are a host of new hazards (not least being the blimmin great panther!) in the basement and unless you solve the puzzles here, you won't get any further than the lift shaft. Keep going, 'cos Kunitoki is hiding in the penthouse.
Level Five - The Office Block
On your way to the penthouse, you make your way up the side of the building past many different guards, including some girl ninjas (fwar gwar) masquerading like the ones you would have met on the previous level. Give 'em a slap and race on up to the roof. Kunitoki has gotten wind of your presence and is making off in his helicopter. And before you ask... yes, you can fall of the side of the building.
Level Six - The Mansion
So you grab the rope ladder under Kunitoki's helicopter, and it takes you to his mountain hideaway. It's here you have to find and confront the man himself, and find a way to kill him. He's magically protected from death, you see, and if you want to rid the world of his foul presence for ever you must discover his secret and steal The Orb. The Orb is his source of power, but knowing that won't help you escape with it!