REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Ninja
by Icon Design Ltd
Entertainment USA
1987
Crash Issue 37, February 1987   (1987-01-22)   page(s) 120,121

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.

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


'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

Presentation60%
Graphics50%
Playability47%
Addictiveness45%
Value for Money51%
Overall50%
Summary: General Rating: A very average budget beat 'em up.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 15, March 1987   page(s) 75

Good grief, another Ninja game? Oh well, here we go. Strap meself up in black clothes. Get the old shurikens and razor sharp dragon tongue sword... Coo, its a lark, all this mastery of the Light and Dark, walking through walls and jumping without moving, innit? Right, off to work.

You are a Ninja, whose solemn task (they never get funny tasks do they?) is to rescue a Princess from the clutches of some evil martial arts and magic genius. You can pick up weapons and throw them. You even get them back sometimes, too! You must chop, kick, punch and leap your way through rank after rank of fierce and deadly ninjas. Not forgetting, of course, the Karatekas and Thugs (Refugees from Yie Ar Kung Fu?)

Not a bad game, really. Shame the version I got wasn't terribly finished. It kept crashing and bits of graphics got stuck on the screen - a shuriken I dropped on the first screen hovered in the middle of all successive screens! If you can get it to work, though, it's a pleasing little duff 'em up, and worth a look.


Graphics7/10
Playability5/10
Value For Money7/10
Addictiveness6/10
Overall5/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash - Run It Again Issue 45, October 1987   (1987-09-24)   page(s) 40

50% Issue 37

RICKY: Get ready for the usual scenario which bears only some distant relationship to the backdrops and very little to the game itself...

A remote relative of Ninja, our hero, has just had his temple robbed by a bunch of evil ninjas. So off trots Ninja (the good one) to kill off all the other ninjas (the bad ones), who are still lurking in the temple. These bad ninjas have beautifully Oriental names such as Thug.

Ninja had potential, but it's amateurish and ridiculously easy. The enemies can all be killed with a couple of low kicks or by lobbing shuriken start at the, So Ninja has very little to offer the dedicated combateer, despite its budget price tag.
30%

ROBIN: This budget beat-'em-up is one of the worst of the bunch. The graphics are very simplistic, with poor animation, and there's only the odd sound effect. It doesn't take long to get tired of Ninja - even though it's so cheap, steer clear of it,
39%


Overall (Robin Candy)39%
Overall (Richard Eddy)30%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 65, March 1987   page(s) 17

MACHINE: Spectrum/Amstrad/C64
SUPPLIER: Mastertronic
PRICE: £1.99
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum

If you're a budget Ninja do you only get half the lessons from your guru? Do you find yourself short of spinning death stars at crucial moments? Is your animation a bit dodgy? Not if you're a Mastertronic Ninja you don't.

This is yet another in the long, long line of martial arts games threatening to bore you all silly. But at least Ninja isn't boring. You may have seen and played it all before, but it isn't dull.

It's a sort of Kung Fu Master clone. Our hero has to rescue Princess Di who apparently is being held prisoner in the Palace of Pearls. Does Charles know about this? Anyway, our Ninja has to battle heavily armed opponents to win idols dropped by Di.

Each screen contains a different challenge - opponents gather in numbers as you progress and they are armed with swords and death stars as well.

Use the seven different movements available to kick, punch and slash your way through the many and varied levels of the palace. Use your weapons carefully and watch your strength meter at the bottom left hand side of the screen. Early screens are easy with only one opponent to defeat later screens get more difficult.

Graphics on the Spectrum version are pretty basic - the Amstrad version looks more detailed, as you'd expect. Animation isn't bad. Sound likewise.

The game is also mapable with nice captions under each screen to give you an idea where you are in the palace.

Ninja is a basic martial arts bash - nothing new, but if you enjoy this type of game then it's great value at under two quid.


Graphics6/10
Sound5/10
Value8/10
Playability7/10
Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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