Ninja Master's: Haō Ninpō Chō
|Ninja Master's: Haō Ninpō Chō|
|Release date(s)||June 28, 1996|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Display||Raster, 320 x 224 pixels (horizontal), 4096 colors|
Ninja Master's: Haō Ninpō Chō (ニンジャマスターズ ～覇王忍法帖～ roughly translated as "Ninja Master's Scrolls of the Supreme Ninja Arts") is a ninja-themed competitive fighting game produced by ADK and originally released in 1996 for the Neo Geo arcade and home platform. Ninja Master's was the sixth and final fighting game produced by ADK, following the four games in the World Heroes series and Aggressors of Dark Kombat. It was later featured in the 2008 compilation ADK Tamashii for the PlayStation 2. Ninja Master's was also re-released on the Neo-Geo X handheld system in 2012, and for the Virtual Console in 2013.
Ninja Master's follows the conventions of many previous 2D fighting games released for the Neo-Geo. The player must defeat their opponent in combat in a series of best-two-out-of-three matches. Characters can change between using the character's weapon or fight hand-to-hand during the middle of combat. Like the Art of Fighting series, Ninja Master's features a super meter.
- Sasuke Sarutobi - the main hero of the game. A ninja expert and betrayer of his own ninja clan who seeks to avenge his father's death.
- Houoh - a skilled exorcist who is unsure of his own powers.
- Goemon Ishikawa - a ninja thief whose goal is to collect the largest treasures in Japan.
- Kamui - the rival to Sasuke. An old acquaintance of Sasuke's, Kamui hopes to destroy him after Sasuke has forsaken the clan.
- Karasu - a serial killer and bodyguard who is obsessed with ravens (Karasu means "Raven" in Japanese).
- Kasumi Kotenkenbu - a ninja apprentice whose grandmother prevents her from going after Nobunaga.
- Natsume - an orphan who, after having a nightmare, strives to kill Nobunaga.
- Nobunaga Oda - the final boss of the game. A tyrant brainwashed by the demon known as Haoh, Nobunaga sets out to conquer the world.
- Raiga - a renowned bounty hunter whose mission is to defeat Goemon.
- Ranmaru Mumiyo Kagura - the sub-boss of the game. An immortal and loyal servant to Nobunaga, Ranmaru attempts to vanquish Haoh, who possesses Nobunaga.
- Tenho - an old Japanese man who was abandoned in Korea at birth.
- Kongouarahan Unzen - a former monk in search of the best aspect of life.
Like various ADK games, SNK Playmore also revived characters from Ninja Master's in later releases. The main character of Ninja Master's, Sasuke, appears as an SNK character card in SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS.
Covering the Neo Geo AES version, the four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly offered some praise for the game's special moves and the ability to fight with or without a weapon, but generally panned Ninja Master's for its failure to distinguish itself from the many previous Neo Geo fighting games and for its outdated graphics, particularly the small character sprites and lack of scaling. Shawn Smith and Sushi X remarked that the game's mediocrity is shocking given SNK's history and the $150 price tag. In a retrospective review of the Neo Geo AES version, Allgame's Kyle Knight called it "a fairly good fighter that could've been a lot more."
- Dave Tach. "Neo Geo X Gold Limited Edition includes Ninja Master's game card". Polygon. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
- "NINJA MASTER'S HAOH-NINPO-CHO". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
- "Review Crew: Ninja Masters". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (85): 24. August 1996.
- Knight, Kyle. "Ninja Master's - Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014.
- Nintendo Life. "Ninja Master's: Haō Ninpō Chō Review - Neo Geo - Nintendo Life". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 20 March 2016.