The Ninja Warriors (Again) – A Beat ‘Em Up Retrospective

Ninja Warriors on the Super Nintendo is a remake of an arcade game that was ported to selected home platforms. The original version can be played on systems like the Commodore 64 and Amiga, only in Japan. I was able to play the Turbografx 16 edition, and it’s not a very impressive game. It’s basically a Kung Fu clone with throwing stars. Fortunately the remake is an impressive beat ’em up. It’s not a well known game, but it definitely deserves to be played.

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Ninja Warriors Again, as it’s known in Japan, is played on a single plane just like the original. In other words the player can’t move up or down the screen like in Double Dragon. As limiting as it might sound, it actually works to the game’s advantage. The action is so frantic that many combos would simply miss the enemies if the player wasn’t lined up properly. And that would be annoying.

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There are 3 characters available to choose from. As per beat ’em up tradition, one is big slow and strong. Another is fast but weak, and the other is a balance of the previous two. What is unique is that each character plays differently. The big character doesn’t jump but has a rocket pack instead and does thrust moves. It’s weird at first but I got used to it. I never choose the fast and weak types in beat ’em ups but in this game that character was my favorite. In fact it might be my favorite character in any beat ’em up ever, it’s that bad ass.

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Each playable Ninja Warrior has an attack that is controlled with a single button. The jump –  or jet pack is another button of course. And the other button performs a special attack. The specials are very effective as they damage every enemy on screen. However they can only be used after a meter is filled up.

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The top scrolling intro text sets the game up decently. It’s explained how the country is controlled by a tyrant who uses mind control on his people. And the resistance has no choice but to send 3 robot Ninja Warrior prototypes to essentially assassinate the glorious leader. They must travel far and long, defeating the nation’s army along the way. We’ve come along way from the gang who kidnaps a love one.

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Each type of enemy has a certain weakness and the player will have to figure out how to exploit it to make their job easier. It’s a nice touch that reduces the tedium that every beat ’em up is plagued by. And it’s always nice to see that the bad guys can harm one another. It was amusing to watch them destroy each other at times.

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Ninja Warriors is an addicting game that really appealed to me. It’s fast paced and also some strategy needs to be applied. Most brawlers put the player’s mind in auto pilot mode but not this one. Even the ending doesn’t disappoint. Unless you always need a happy one because this one left me with an even more bleak outlook on life.

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Stop what your doing and go play this game.

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