MYSTIC WARRIORS / Konami / Arcade

Mystic Warriors is a pretty cool multi-player arcade game released by Konami back in 1993. I'm divided as to whether to call it a "beat em up" or a "shoot em up", as there's elements of both. If you've played Sunset Riders, this game is basically built using that same engine. Except it stars ninjas instead of cowboys, and there are no areas that  have 3D depth.

Up to four people can play simultaneously, choosing from a cast of five. I guess Spyros the Aryan Ninja is the main character, since he has the biggest picture, but they all play pretty much exactly the same. You can also be Samurai Ninja, Kabuki Ninja, Black Buddhist Ninja or Big Breasted Thong Wearing Ninja. What happens is, at the beginning of each game one of the other guys that you aren't using is kidnapped at random by this Shredder-esque dude who just kind of drops into your dojo. Meeting no resistance whatsoever from your lacksadaisical counterparts, he moseys on out to a waiting helicopter, and the remaining ninjas eventually muster up the energy to get up off their asses and give chase.

Fortunately, Shredder is polite about flying his helicopter low to the ground and very slow so that you can easily follow it. A stampede through the city streets and a drive-in ends with a confrontation with the game's first level boss, the Fire Pisser.

Next up, somehow we wind up at a ski resort. Like most of Konami's multiplayer arcade brawlers, logical progression of the plot is not one of it's strong points. Like most of Konami's multiplayer arcade brawlers, however, it has nice colorful graphics, great animation, and varied
enemies and levels as well as kickass sound quality.

At the end of Level 2 .... Warning! A huge enemy battleship Rocket Phallus is approaching! As with all the bosses in this game, he spouts off some goofy voice clip taunt at you before commencing the attack.

Whoops, too bad Rocket Phallus ... your predictable movement patterns were no match for my big titties and unlimited stash of continues! This game is actually surprisingly easy all the way through, up until the last level or so.

Level 3 sees you traversing underwater caverns ... how this is going to get you to the lair of the enornous Skull Enterprises I have no idea, but there's no way to go but forward! This skull ninjer sub-boss is as predictable as nearly all the others, and shares a common weakness with many to come in that when you get inside his sprite and attack he has almost no ability to retaliate.

Later in the caves ... enjoy how the enemy scuba troops float to the surface like dead goldfish when you shuriken 'em. Also ... isn't that the creature from Super Metroid?

Suck it, Aquaman! Your 1950s lookin' submersible is no match for my ninja stars, and ability to hold my breath for ten minutes!

Bigfoot? How could you soil my childhood memories? I will show no mercy!

Um ... are you really the best guy to have guarding the raft level? Nevermind, tell me where the hairy ninja is being kept!

Looks like Shredder picked up that old gorilla robot from Strider off ebay or something

Following defeat of the gorilla tank, we get our wounded companion back and attempt to escape via mine cart.

Zounds, what a plot twist! After we get frozen by weird paralyze beam, wounded companion sacrifices his life to blow it up with dramatic digitized speech ... "Go on to Skull Castle without me! Sayonara!". The digitized speech fun continues when this random pirate pops out for the next boss fight - "Your friend died miserabably!"

Fortunately Skull Train crashes directly into the airport where Skull is launching it's air force ... the planes don't seem to be made of very stern stuff though, just standing on them for a minute or two seems to make them burst into flames.

No climactic showdown just yet ... first we get this crew of jokers. Like many of the bosses, standing inside of fat boy's sprite seems to render his attacks impotent.

Finally it's mano-a-mano with Shredder as head-banging monk provides the soundtrack in the background. Like a good sport Shredder allows you to both cut off his head and let you enter the secret Skull HQ when you defeat him.

Badass looking Undead Warrior isn't the final boss, though I figured he was on the first playthrough ... actually it's fat CEO boy here desperately calling for backup.

Looks like fat boy has a crazy mech concealed beneath his desk ... now for the real final challenge!

Bastard just keeps coming back with multiple forms ... eventually he takes the big swan dive in Ninja Turtles style though

Wait, we're back in the same city we started in? I thought we were down in the fucking jungles of Panama after all that! As you can see, back in the early 90s people were less particular about games making a shred of sense.

And what are all the rest of these jerks doing here? Where were you guys while I was traipsing all over the globe?

"My breasts are swollen with grief!"

"Uhh ... dude ... how long do we have to stand here? I wanna go surf."

"Ebony and Ivory ... ninjers in perfect har-mo-ny ..."

Anyway, Mystic Warriors is short and pretty easy. But the graphics and sound quality are among Konami's best arcade games, probably topped only by the Simpsons in those regards. It's a shame that it came out at the same time as Mortal Kombat and thus got obliterated from most arcades, because it's actually a pretty good thrill ride and has plenty of unintentional transration comedy.

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