The Ninja Warriors (1994 video game)
|The Ninja Warriors|
Japanese cover art
Titus Software (Europe)
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
The Ninja Warriors, originally released as The Ninja Warriors Again (ザ・ニンジャウォーリアーズアゲイン) and also known as Ninja Warriors: The New Generation, is a 1994 beat 'em up video game developed by Natsume and published by Taito Corporation for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a remake of Taito's 1987 game The Ninja Warriors.
The Ninja Warriors is a single-player, side-scrolling beat 'em up that plays on a single plane  , similar to Shinobi or Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja but widescreen format. The player can pick from the strong Ninja, the balanced Kunoichi, or the fast Kamaitachi. Each character is played in a different way and has its own set of moves: a combination of ground attacks, jumping attacks, and throws. They can also assume a defensive posture and charge a power bar that allows them to unleash a blast that attacks all enemies. Various objects can be picked up by the player's character and used as improvised weapons.
The player will advance through eight levels fighting large numbers of enemies, often being stopped from advancing until all enemies on the screen are defeated. Enemies can approach the player from the left and right sides of the screen and have the ability to move off screen, while the player cannot. At the end of each level, as common in beat 'em up games, the player must defeat a boss. The North American and European versions of the game were censored (changes made to the original Japanese version include removal of the female ninja enemies and replacing them with clawed enemies wearing pink wardrobe, and the removal of the bright green blood entirely when Kunoichi and Kamaitachi attack). The European version, published by Titus Software, is also noticeably slower and easier than the other two. The game was notorious for its high difficulty.
The game is set in a dystopian future United States in the year 2035, where the nation is oppressed by the military of the tyrant president Banglar. The only hope for this broken society is a small underground resistance with plans of assassinating Banglar using three ninja androids. Development of the androids was a lengthy process and the resistance is quickly falling to Banglar's forces, so it has no choice but to dispatch the androids untested.
The Ninja Warriors was mostly very well received; according to an EGM preview, "the only bad part" about this game was the lack of the two-player cooperative mode. It was given the scores of 84% by Super Play, 90% by GamePro ("Ninja Warriors is great, but it falls one difficulty level short of GREAT!") and 8.2 out of 10 by EGM ("This is the best side-scrolling fighting game yet!"). Nintendo Power praised its easy play-control system and "cool" characters, but the game was regarded to be neither very challenging nor inventive. According to a retrospective review by GameFan, "Ninja Warriors doesn’t inspire to be anything more than what it is: a no-holds-barred festival of butt-kicking wrapped in a beautifully-animated package." In addition, the character Kunoichi was ranked as sixth on the list of top ten fighting women in video games by EGM in 1993 and as number one best ninja assassin in the history of video gaming by GamesRadar in 2008.
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- Super Play 20 (June 1994), p. 55.
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- EGM 53 (December 1993), p. 66.
- Mikel Reparaz, The Top 7... Assassins, GamesRadar, 2008-02-05.