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1987
Arcade: Platform
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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109
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Parting is such sweet sorrow! More like a nightmare in the case of poor Kage - the bravest, most dashing Ninja of them all. There he was anticipating a leisurely, amorous stroll in the woods with his loved one, the beautiful Princess Kih, when suddenly she's gone. The evil, fire-spouting Dragon King, racked with jealousy, has whisked her away to have his evil way. Now it's up to the broken-hearted Kage to save his beloved from the nasty monster.

Legend of Kage is set in four locations, the first of which is the forest where the kidnapping took place. Here among the lofty branches, Kage encounters the Dragon King's henchmen - the black Ninjas. These are disposed of either by flailing stick or shuriken star. Kage has an infinite supply of the stars which can be thrown in three directions: diagonally up, straight ahead, or diagonally down.

The Black Ninjas fight back with their own stars and being hit by one results in the loss of one of Kage's five lives, and a return to o the start of the screen. In the forest, Kage can climb the trunks of trees and also leap from tree to tree in his bid to defeat the nasty Ninjas.

When ten of the black Ninjas are dead, the Dragon King himself puts in an appearance, spouting streams of fire wherever he goes. Deft fighting at this stage results in the evil one's hasty retreat to his castle. Kage's subsequent pursuit brings him to the second location - the Dragon King's Palace.

Kage finds himself at the wall of this seemingly impregnable fortress, surrounded by another group of hostile Ninjas. Once again ten Ninjas must be killed before Kage can attempt to scale the walls and continue the rescue mission. Beware the Ninjas hidden in the moat!

The third section involves scaling that wall. This is painted with directional arrows, but is guarded all the way by more of the lord's minions. Successfully negotiating this stage leads Kage to the final section.

As Legend of Kage reaches its climax, our hero fights his way through the enemy's lair to locate the kidnapped princess, whom the crafty fire-breather has stashed away in the uppermost turret of the castle. Once he is past the guards, the Evil One himself puts in an appearance and Kage has to step back very smartly to avoid cremation. To finish - the fearless Ninja must dispose of the Dragon Lord, then release the pouting princess and live happily ever after.

CRITICISM

'I really enjoyed the arcade version of this (mainly because I could play it for hours on one credit). Hearing that IMAGINE were going to convert it for the Spectrum made me uneasy, as I thought that it wouldn't convert well. The result is even worse than I thought it would be. Other than the great title tune there is nothing at all appealing in Legend of Kage. The gameplay just isn't compulsive enough to keep me playing through the bad flickery graphics. I'd stay well away from this if I was you - it's no fun to play.' BEN

'It's bad enough for OCEAN to put out trashy games like Knight Rider and Mailstrom, but now they are starting to tarnish the image of the IMAGINE label which they have done so much to build up. I found Legend of Kage very easy to get into - a bit too easy in fact - I finished the game after only a few goes! The character graphics are good, but they're let down by the boring background which keeps repeating itself. Legend Of Kage would be a great budget game, but at the full price it's appalling value for money.' PAUL

'This is so boring! My first few attempts were reasonably entertaining, but I expected improvement in the higher levels - this was not to be. After ten minutes, things started to get a bit monotonous, and after another ten it was nothing short of tedious. If you expect only half an hour's playing for eight pounds, then I reckon Legend of Kage might keep you amused. If on the other hand, you're looking for more than a few days enjoyment for your hard earned cash, then keep well clear. IMAGINE - this has happened before!' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: W up, S down, N left, M right, Q fire, SPACE pause
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: good, although there's a lot of colour clash
Graphics: jerky animation, small sprites
Sound: good title tune, but bland effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: four
General Rating: A big disappointment for fans of the arcade machine.

81%
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Screenshot Text

If you go out in the woods today... Kage gets more than he bargained for in his afternoon stroll.

Backs to the wall as Kage confronts another Ninja.