Ninja is not a very good game. To put it in real estate terms, if Karateka and Karate Champ are the five bedroom/three bathroom houses of the fighting game world (circa 1984), then Ninja is the equivalent of a cardboard box. If, that is, the cardboard hovel leaks in the rain, smells and is infested by rats.
Why is Ninja such a bad game? Simply put, it's not even a reasonable facsimile of a bad fighting game. It can't even claim to be a bad action game since there really isn't any. Good fighting games have balanced and in-depth fighting systems with a good array of balanced characters. Bad fighting games have crummy fighting engines you can simply button-mash your way through or terrible flaws that make the game completely unfair.
You don't even have to button-mash in Ninja. All you have to do is walk close enough to the enemy to trigger his aggressive response and then hold down the spacebar and a direction button so your character attacks repeatedly. The fighting portion of Ninja's gameplay essentially boils down to pressing and holding two keys and waiting until the bad guy's dead -- what fun. Coupled with the non-fighting portion of the game which consists of basically walking around aimlessly, it's safe to say that Ninja's gameplay stinks.
Ninja does have sound effects but you won't remember any after playing the game. That's because the few sound effects in the game, played through the internal PC speaker, are so short and low toned you won't hear them unless you're actively listening. And, since you'll be too busy marveling at how bad the gameplay is, you won't notice them at all. It's probably for the best anyway, since they add nothing to the game experience.
The graphics are almost as appallingly bad as the gameplay. To its credit, Ninja does manage to break away from the CGA graphics cliché black-white-cyan-magenta PC color scheme but it's debatable whether the red-orange-green-black color scheme it uses instead is any better. Why the developers decided to use a nonstandard color scheme isn't readily apparent since the game barely makes use of any graphics at all.
If you walk around the game a bit and look at the backgrounds, you get the distinct impression that the graphics designers simply didn't care since most of the backgrounds have very little decoration. You may see a fence or a Japanese-style inverted arch type of gate but most of the backgrounds are just vast tracts of emptiness which, unfortunately, force you to focus on the bad character graphics.
When the characters stand still, they manage to look halfway decent but as soon as they start moving you can't help but gawk at the poor animation. Your character seems to have two frames of animation for his walking sequence but somehow still manages to cover with one step a distance that seems more appropriate for three. When the characters fight each other, they move unnaturally and with basically one frame of animation for each move. The end result is like watching a poorly done fight with string controlled puppets, except the puppets have better animation.
Ninja is definitely a game to be avoided. Only non-discerning gamers and those who don't care about poor quality design should consider playing the game. You'd have to ignore the graphics not to see how ugly the game really is and, in this case, ignoring the graphics is the only way you won't be revolted by the lack of gameplay quality. Stay far away from this dud.
Graphics: The game has a lot of plain backgrounds and very poor character animation.
Sound: The sound effects are so short and weak it's as if the developers made a conscious effort to hide them. That could very well be considering their singular lack of quality.
Enjoyment: The gameplay basically consists of walking around until you find a bad guy, holding two buttons down until he's dead and then walking around some more.
Replay Value: There's some randomization to keep things interesting but the basic gameplay is so repetitive you'll be bored before your first game ends.
This is an side-scrolling beat-'em-up game consisting of a succession of fights, in which you (surprisingly) play a ninja whose job is to go through the playfield and kill everyone in his path. You are also equipped with a dagger and a shuriken which you can hurl at your enemies. You must also collect "idols" which are left lying around), which will reinvigorate you, as well as grant you further points. Once you collect all of the idols, you will have won the game.
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