You are the last living member of your ninja clan after they were brutally slaughtered. Now, you seek to exact revenge on the evil shogun responsible.The Last Ninja is an action/adventure game set in medieval Japan. The game is shown in isometric view, and the eponymous ninja can walk in four directions, jump, fight the enemies and collect necessary items on his way. While fighting, the ninja can use several different blows and block. There are a couple of weapons to find, including smoke bombs and shuriken.
This is surely one of the best series ever made for the Commodore 64. It was quite revolutionary in 1987, and immediately took on the status of a legend. The first game in the series, The Last Ninja, was followed by two sequels and a remix. If you've never heard of it, now you know a little more. For everybody else, well, come on - it's The Last Ninja; is there really anything more I could say?
I guess I could, since there will be youngsters that have never heard of this game: Besides lovely graphics and great music, this game was very advanced for its time. There were some isometric games even before 1987, but The Last Ninja used the perspective in such a proficient way, that it was able to achieve near perfect gameplay. You have eight directions in which to move, as well as jump and perform various moves and attacks with your arms and legs, or with several ninja weapons. You could even block. The existence of your character's inventory wasn't new, but I never saw a game before this one in which you could really "pick up" items. In every platform game, you just moved across an item in order to pick it up. But this was different.
The Last Ninja is a game that contains a mixture of action, puzzle solving, and elements that will test your accuracy and exploration skills. You will find various weapons and meet diverse and well-equipped foes. Some jumps and movements will require a stressful amount of precision on your part. You need to solve some puzzles in order to complete each level, which makes the game interesting to play. There aren't many, but they are rather simple and shouldn't be too hard to figure out. You will need some practice and it'll require some patience and wit, but this sets it apart from other straightforward action-fighting games, and adds depth to the gameplay.
The story is as follows: You are Armakuni, a practitioner of Ninjutsu (the ninja way), left to guard the shrine while the other members go to the island of Lin Fen. Every ten years, all ninjas (except for this one guardian) must travel to the island to visit the Shrine of the White Ninja and receive further teachings from the Koga Scrolls. However, the evil Shogun Kunitoki has called up creatures from the Nether World and destroyed your comrades, so that he can bring his own minions and learn the power of Ninjutsu. When he was a child, Armakuni went to the island by using a secret passage. Now he must do it again, but the way is not as it used to be. So he (with your help) must travel alone through the unknown, avenge his brothers, and retrieve the Scrolls. (This is a VERY short synopsis of the story.)
The PC version came out a year after the C64 version. Everything looked like it did on the C64 - well, almost everything. The game was a little rough. This is very bad, since you'll have a lot of trouble picking up some objects (your ninja must reach out his hands exactly on the object) and jumping over water, lava, or mud. Jumping is the worst; you'll have to step perfectly on a stone to jump to another one. Your ninja moved smoothly on the C64 (with a joystick), but here you use the numpad, and the ninja keeps on moving until you press another direction key or 5 to stop. Jumping over rocks is simply too hard. You'll even find it difficult to turn your character in order to change direction.
The graphics are great for the time that the DOS version was released. The PC speaker's limitations left the game without the great musical themes by Ben Daglish and brought a new one instead, which is a very nice tune in its own right. Still, it's too bad we can't hear any tunes from the original.
If you can manage to handle the controls and aren't turned off easily by difficult games, you'll like this one: Even now I run a C64 emulator to play it again. I can never forget the first level, when you go south and actually pick up a katana from some rocks. Although the game looks good, you'll have some problems playing the PC version, and that's a real shame. The game gets better and better later on, but those frustrating things may get in the way. The DOS version receives an average mark because of these flaws.
Part of The Last Ninja games Series
One of the most well-executed action games of all time, The Last Ninja is a great start of a great series that was a huge hit on the Commodore 64. This PC port is excellent, but unfortunately was not commercially successful.
The Last Ninja deserves notice not only as a thoroughly addictive action game, but also for the many innovations it brought to the genre. For starter, the game is one of the first isometric games on the market. Despite relatively primitive (EGA) graphics, characters move convincingly, and backgrounds are well-drawn to create good illusions of 3D landscape. Also, while other action games at the time offer only one type of combat, The Last Ninja features a mixture of hand-to-hand and ranged combat, with a variety of authentic ninja weapons. Another nifty innovation is the fact that the game's terrain is merely not the non-interactive pretty scenery as in most other games: they are obstacles that must be overcome. This is where the game can discourage action newbies from completing it. Not only will you have to deal with hordes of enemies constantly, but you must navigating around fatal features of the terrain. One of the most fatal is the *water* -- while your ninja can execute a staggering number of movements and attacks, he cannot swim. Thus, the game became incredibly frustrating as you move your Ninja pixel by pixel across the swamp and river terrain, trying to get that EXACT placement for the EXACT right jump from boulder to boulder.
Despite this contrivance, though, The Last Ninja is outstanding in every respect. Too bad the great music in the Commodore 64 version is not present in this PC port (due to PC speakers limitations), but otherwise it's an excellent version. Definitely a must-have for all action fans, although anyone who found Prince of Persia difficult should think twice about attempting to win-- this is a much harder game by far. Recommended!
Ninjas were always feared by eveyone, even the noble Samurais. But not even they are unbeatable. Evil Shogun Kunitoki wants to get Ninja powers and combine them with his own dark powers in order to rule the world. During one annual meeting, he summons evil forces on the Ninjas and kills them all. But one of them survived and is getting ready for the vengeance!
Every true fan of Commodore 64 games remembers this game. It is a true legend and together with it's two sequels makes a great collection for eveybody. The graphics are great and so is the action in the complete game.
There are also some puzzles to solve but not as many as in Last Ninja 2 or 3.
Ninjas rock! You know it's true!
The Last Ninja however sucks large amounts of buttock. Surely his elite martial arts training extended to "how not to die when coming within 3 feet of water" or "how not to miss a jump just because you were one micron off".
Anyway, your clan (ninja clan? who knows) has been brutaly murdered and it's up to you to avenge them.. yadda yadda yadda. The game is an action/adventure hybrid that takes place from an isometric viewpoint across a faux-japanese landscape (the effect works well actualy). You must jump (waaaaay too much emphasis on this) fight and solve puzzles in order to reap bloody vengence on your enemies. Speaking of which, one area that Last Ninja does excel in is weaponry. Along with regular punching and kicking you can get access to a sword, nunchakas, a staff, smoke bombs, throwing stars.. and all those other thingies that make life groovy ;) HOWEVER, it's a bit of a let down that the control system is so dire, meaning that actualy using your weapon is a lot harder than it has to be.
To be honest I remember the game being a lot more enjoyable on 8-bit systems (the C64 and ZX Spectrum).. maybe i'm just getting old ;) Nevertheless, once you get used to the controls and the pixel-perfect precision that the game requires you may enjoy it.
A nice little fighting game I remember from my C64. Somewhat weak controls, but when you get used to it it's not bad. The story's simple - you are seeking revenge for your clan that's been brutally slaughtered. As the last survivor you set out to beat up the bad guys. On your way you pick up some useful things such as weapons. Might be fun for Martial-Arts-fans and maybe worth a try for people who just like Action-games.
People who downloaded Last Ninja have also downloaded:
Last Ninja 2: Back with a Vengeance, Alone in the Dark, Largo Winch: Empire under Threat, Last Ninja 3, BioForge, Alone in the Dark 3, Last Ninja Remix, It Came from the Desert
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