THE NINJA / Sega / Sega Master System

Oh, silly Sega. The Ninja is basically a port of an arcade game called Sega Ninja, which in Japan was ported to the SMS as Ninja Princess, but apparently the female ninjer action was too hot for the Western world. The weird thing is that this version is almost like a complete re-do of the game; it retains the same basic concepts and layout but looks completely different.

The game is basically Commando or Ikari Warriors with ronin hucking shurikens in feudal Japan instead of repressed homosexuals blasting commies while shirtless in some Third World hellhole. Strangely, The Ninjas seem to all be your enemies while the main character looks more like a samurai/nobleman type, but he can huck a shuriken with the best of them. He'll need to as that's his only defense against relentless waves of ninjer hordes that intend to slice and dice him before he can get to his objective (which is outlined in a TL;DR text scroll prior to the game.)

The levels are kinda small, but this is made up for by the relentlessness of the enemies and the unforgiving difficulty. One hit, you die, and these foes don't fuck around in chasing you down and trying to make you dead. Interestingly, you can run backwards through the length of most levels, even while fighting the boss, who half the time seems to be Farmer Brown armed with Super Death Balls.

For a 1986 console game the game shows off a few neat ninjer tricks - the second level, for example, has you running diagonally up a hill dodging bouncing boulders coming down while sneaky underground ninjers pop up to blow darts at you. Even if the gameplay is only average at best, it certainly looks worlds more impressive than anything on the NES in 1986.

The game is ultimately just too much of a pain in the ass to really be bothered with, though - when you exhaust your three lives, which isn't hard to do, you get kicked all the way back to the beginning of the first level.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video
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