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About the product
- Up to two players simultaneously
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Set in the year 2029, the evil dictator Emperor Garuda has taken over the United States of America, building a stronghold in the middle of the nation's "largest city". To stop Garuda and avenge the innocent lives that were lost in his reign, two ninja masters from the Iga clan, Lord Hayate and Lady Kaede, are sent to infiltrate Garuda's impregnable stronghold and assassinate him
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So my only question is, WHAT HAPPENED?
The game Shadow of the Ninja is an enjoyable game, don't get me wrong. But it's so rough around the edges, so unpolished, I almost couldn't believe it was a Natsume game. The controls can be summed up in one word: SLOPPY! When you play a ninja game, the one thing it should always get right is make the player feel like a badass ninja: smooth, responsive controls; magic ninja spells; and of course, buttkicking ninja moves. SotN has almost none of that. You get two playable characters, with virtually little difference between them; maybe a handful of weapons that you can switch between through collecting powerups (But unfortunately, most of them end up totally useless; and that's about it.
Your ninja's attack range is pathetic. By the time you're close enough to land a hit, you have very likely already taken damage. You'd think that throwing stars would help alleviate this, but no: you easily run out of them, and it's rare to find more. The ball-n'-chain weapon is simply useless: instead of acting like a whiplike weapon, it only strikes opponents who are a few spaces away from you. What this means is, you could be close to an enemy, but your weapon will miss, striking the area behind him. It's the most useless weapon in the game, and ironically, the most common one to find in powerup boxes.
Perhaps the biggest complaint I have with this game is that you only get five continues. ONLY FIVE. Couple this mechanic with the fact that you'll die quickly (And likely often for the first few attempts to beat this game), and you'll be lucky to make it past level 3.
Besides the sloppy control, strict limitation on continues, and laughable weapons, the rest of the game is quite good: the music is catchy, the 8bit graphics are gorgeous for the era, and the level design offers some awesome variety and challenge. But really, this is a ninja game made when there were already better ninja games available: Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden, Sega's Shinobi series, and Capcom's Strider were already on store shelves by the time Shadow of the Ninja was released. I'd recommend those games instead. If you're a diehard Natsume fanboy, then pick it up; you'll like it, but I garauntee you won't love it.