Review Information
Reviewer Name: Master Mark S. Kanaar
Game Difficulty: Medium
Difficulty Options: False
Game Information
Full Title: Ninja, The
Year Released: 1986
Game Type: Shooting
Max Players: 1

Before there was Ninja Gaiden or Shinobi for the Sega Master System, there was a game called The Ninja. Yes, want a basic name, but there really was not any ninja video games out there. I played this game when it first came out and loved it. As I got older, the game is still fun, but there are some parts that still fustrates me to this day. It could of been a classic game, but it wasn't an arcade hit and I think the game was just put together to help market the Sega Master System and make some money at the same time. It is a spin off of alot of shooting games that were out at that time, but enemies could attack you from behind. After all, you are a Ninja, right. Not really, your face, like in Shinobi, is revealed for the whole world to see. I think a more fitting name to this game would be The Samurai because you are on a mission to rescue a princess in hopes of marring her. Ninjas are sneeky and do not go in to combat in a straight forward manner, like in the game. Samurai have a code and battle opponents head on. Well, what ever the name, it is a good game with some flaws.
The gameplay is fun. The game starts out by giving you a story to go along with the gameplay. This gives you a reason to fight. You are a ninja killing other enemies that are on the screen in a shooter style fashion. All those space ship shooting games from this time era has some similarities, but some differences as well. One hit kills your guy, that sucks. One hit kills an enemy, unless it is a boss. These two concepts are classic in shooter games. Some addition are your ability to disappear, enemies attacking you from behind and for ability to run away. The game has some different levels where you a forced forward like in level two and seven. In level two, boulders bounce at you and in level seven, horse run at you. Don't get hit or you are dead. In stage five, you have to stand on logs in a river in a frogger style stage. You can't fall in the water, but you can't dodge attacks to well. Also, there are a varity of enemies, but not a varity of bosses. Some ninjas turn in to rocks, other dart away quikly, other jump at you behind buildings and some have different weapons.In each stage there are red and blue scrolls to be found. There are dropped by enemies. The red scrolls up grade your weapon and changes the music. The blue scrolls makes you fast. You can only have one up grade, which I feel hurts the gameplay. In some levels there is a green scroll. These scrolls, five in all, are used to fight the last boss. If you don't have all five scrolls, you have to go back and start at the level that you missed the first scroll. This makes the game much harder because when I first started to play this game I just wanted to get to the end. I didn't know what the green scrolls were used for. One cool thing about the game is the use of homicide chalk when you kill a person. That is cutting edge when it comes to the violence factor of the game. Remember, the game was produced in 1986. Overall the game is difficult and is challeging. One part that is very hard, almost to hard is when you your enter the castle. Samurai attack you from all sides, if you aren't upgraded to a more powerful weapon, it is near impossible.
The graphics are pretty solid for a game of this era. I think the ninja enemies could have a better appearance. They run at you and jiggle at the same time. The game has different back ground and concepts to many of the stages. Some are just a grassland, others are on a river, you climb up a wall and sometimes you are in a town or in a castle. The colors are bright in most stages giving it a good feel for the gameplay.
Sound & Music
The music is good for an eight bit game. I sometimes hum to music after I played it. The music before you up grade your weapon is basic. The music after you get your up grade is the same has the title screen, up beat. So, kick some ninja butt.
Well, there are two buttons. One always shots ahead and the other shoots in the direction you are facing. If you press both of them together you disappear. This makes you invincible for a few seconds, but you can't attack. So, if is a double edged sword. One wish that one hit didn't kill your guy. The control of your guy is sometime not that good to make it one hit, one kill.
Replay Value
Music & Sound
Replay Value
This is a game that has a fair to good replay value. It is a fun game, but once you beat it you know where all the scrolls are. You can try to get a high score, but if you cheat and shot the tree for ten minutes until your hit ratio is zero, you will have a super high score. There no sense in trying to beat that score.
A fun game for its time and a classic if you love ninja games.
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