Entertainment USA
Icon Design Ltd
1987
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

120,121
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Ninjas aren't the sort of guys you want to bump into down a dark alleyway. Not only do they possess a rather nasty sword, they always keep a plentiful supply of Ninja stars about them, and if all that lot doesn't get you, well, a swift kick or punch should see you coughing up the of expensive bridgework. Fortunately, the hero of this game, the Ninja, is the worst of the lot. Going in and sorting out a multilevel temple positively bursting at the seams with various aggressive types is the ideal way for him to spend a rather dull Sunday afternoon.

The justification for this breach of the peace, just in case Ninja needs one, is that a low-down no good bunch of baddies has made off with a collection of idols from the temple which Ninja supports. He sets out to rescue the idols from the clutches of the blasphemers.

Several flip-screen rooms make up a single storey of the temple and the hero has to kill off at least one idol-thief in each chamber. Only one baddie confronts him on the screens that make up the first level, but on the higher levels, up to three may come at him at once. Moving up a level causes the bad guys on the level vacated to regenerate.

Ninja has but one life but can ' replenish his energy reserves by collecting idols. Five hits kill him, but he's some mean Ninja and has a full range of kicks and punches, a supply of throwing stars and that trusty blade.

The opposition includes Ninjas, Thugs and Karatekas. The yobs take a different number of blows to dispose of, and fight in different ways: Thugs wade straight in as soon as Ninja moves towards them; Karatekas are fairly aggressive, but the Bad Ninjas like to hang back throwing Ninja stars.

After a Ninja star has been thrown, it lies at the bottom of the screen so a Bad Ninja or our hero can collect it - the hero can catty three stars at once.

Points are scored for salvaging Idols and for eliminating baddies. To win the game, the seven idols have to be collected before Ninja fights his way back down to Level One.

CRITICISM

'Ninja is the sort of game that would have been exceedingly playable if only the programmers had spent a little more time on it. The idea is there and is very good, but unfortunately the game gives an overall impression of being unfinished. The gameplay isn't that impressive: I couldn't play more than a few goes without becoming completely bored. Beating up thugs is only fun when they fight back intelligently. The graphics are poor. The characters flicker around erratically and the backgrounds are boring. The sound is also below average - there are no tunes and the effects leave a lot to be desired. All in all, even with the low price, I wouldn't recommend this. It just isn't fun to play.' BEN

'What a boring game this is. There is very little in Ninja that would keep anybody excited for tong. It needs very little thought to play the game- Ninja is just a case of trudging around bashing up pixels. The graphics are particularly basic and monochromatic. The backgrounds contain lots of colour but give a poor illusion of depth. Sound consists of basic 'white noise ' effects and no tune. I didn't find Ninja in the slightest bit addictive. The package contains a nice loading screen and many options, but unfortunately little game.' PAUL

'Ninja is a bad game. The graphics are very poor, similar characters may have been passable on Fist, years ago, but not now: the programmer couldn't be bothered to animate them properly? No brain is required, beyond the ability to move and fire, but I wouldn't complain about that if there was more content in it. There isn't though, so I'll just say don't buy it, even for £1.99.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable - up, down, left, right, punch
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: colourful, but simplistic
Graphics: simple, basic stuff
Sound: minimal effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 15
General Rating: A very average budget beat 'em up.

60%
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Screenshot Text

With a few more points in the bag, our hero puts the boot into a thug.

Early in the game, Ninja confronts an idol-napping Karateka.