It looks like (and I'm just taking my best guess here) Amazon has been trying to fold together products (and their reviews) that have been listed multiple times. If so they screwed up here, and if not I have no idea what's going on. So to be clear this is a review of Kasumi Ninja for the Jaguar. It looks like we've got some reviews for the Jaguar system itself mixed in here and possibly a review for Trevor McFur. How odd. And if this mistake is somehow fixed at a future date and only reviews for the featured product "Kasumi Ninja" appear, just disregard these first couple paragraphs.
Since Mortal Kombat 3, which was announced, never saw the light of day on the Atari Jaguar, Jag collectors are stuck with two MK klones: Kasumi Ninja from 94 and Ultra Vortek from 95. I've heard good things about Ultra Vortek, so I'd like to try it, but it's more expensive than Kasumi Ninja and I had to go with what I could afford. Kasumi Ninja pretty much sucks, I probably gave it one star too many only because I've played the completely broken and incompetent Mortal Kombat Advance recently (as a collector I don't shy away from bad games, but I'm reviewing this for normal people, not pseudo-masochistic sickos such as myself). The graphics for Kasumi Ninja are actually pretty good. In classic "me too" Mortal Kombat fashion the game uses digitized sprites of real people. Actually the resolution is good enough that you can often see where the sprites have been doctored due to a presumably low costume budget (look at the comanche chief's pants and tell me that's really what he's wearing). The backgrounds also look nice and the parrallax scrolling pushes Kasumi's graphics above the arcade versions of MK 1 and 2 in my opinion. The controls are sluggish, stiff, and unresponsive. The instruction book gives you only the basic moves and tells you to "experiment" to figure out the special moves. This is ridiculous because the moves are more complicated to execute than they should be and there is no practice mode where you can fight against a stationary opponent. Having the Official Jaguar Strategy Guide is the only thing that kept me from having to go to gamefaqs to find out what the friggin moves were. It turns out most of them require a half-rotation of the D-pad, rather than a more traditional quarter rotation, or three to four single direction taps. The game does designate one of its three buttons solely to special moves, a lazy idea but one that at least keeps you from having to guess which button to push after "experimenting" with the d-pad inputs. But if you have Kasumi Ninja look the moves up anyways because the game is pretty much unbeatable without them. The best way to beat the AI in Kasumi ninja is to keep a safe distance and cheese them with projectiles. I believe every character has a projectile move and two other special moves. To my delight, unlike in the first four Mortal Kombats (most noticeable in 1 and 4) the character's basic attacks vary in speed and range. It doesn't nearly have the move variety of a Street Fighter game, but it does mean that each character has a slightly different feel to the way they punch and kick. Also it's worth mentioning that Kasumi Ninja has the most memorable special move in fighting game history. Angus the scottish brawler actually launches a projectile by lifting up his kilt and shooting a fireball from his genitals. Unfortunately, that's possibly the only thing in Kasumi Ninja that has the least bit of personality. The game is ultra generic with a cast full of bland, unappealing characters that try to redeem themselves with the ultra-violent "death moves". The gore is certainly on par with Mortal Kombat, at least playing with the highest level of violence (believe it or not there's five). The game doesn't use "mind reading", AI, even on the harder difficulty levels, making it beatable even with the implementation of limited continues. This is certainly refreshing, but as I said earlier, the most effective way to win is through cheap tactics. And that leads me to my final complaint: the story. Now it might seem anal to even consider the story when rating an already bad fighting game. But stories are important to me, and the logic here is frustrating. Basically you're a ninja that's been training your whole life on Kasumi Island to be the best. And when the evil elder ninja Gyaku kills all the other elders and opens the gates to Hell, the gods call on you to defeat Gyaku and close the gates of Hell. To "aid" you, they open portals and allow you to defeat the best warriors in history, such as Angus with his fiery genitelia and an assistant DA who wears spandex at night to fight criminals with her fists. In order to use a character other than your chosen ninja (there's two to choose from initially but they're exactly the same) you have to defeat them first. Ok, so if you've trained to be the best warrior in history, why would you need to assume the identity of other warriors after you already prove you're better than them? And why do the gods make you defeat all of them before they grant you the key to fight Gyaku? Furthermore, the game won't let you face Gyaku if you beat it on easy, and when you defeat Gyaku's first phase on normal the game tells you "you've defeated Gyaku, but the gods demand you beat the game on a harder difficulty level to close the portal to the Netherrealm." Who are these guys? If these gods are so desperate for you to close the gates of Hell, why are they making you jump through so many hoops just for an opportunity to do it? Do they want the world to end? So that's enough ranting. My final word is that Kasumi Ninja could be worse. That's really all the credit I can give it.