Your Sinclair1st September 1988
Published in Your Sinclair #33
Last Ninja 2
New York, 1988. In the shadows, without a sound, someone is walking through the streets un-noticed. Central Park is nearby, he can feel it. Yes, he can see the top of the bandstand. He knows that below it is the entrance to the sewers, the only way to get into Kunitoki Shogun's headquarters undetected. It's the only way to get The Orb, the seat of his power, the only way to destroy him. And he must destroy him for the sake of his family whom the Evil One murdered, and honour, which demands that he do it on behalf of the Good Lords who sent him forward in time...
That's how it begins, the amazing story of a lone ninja's attempt to destroy an evil magical Shogun called Kunitoki. Back in the 17th Century, the Shogun killed an entire family, just to exert his authority. What he didn't know was that the one member he didn't murder was a powerful ninjoa, the Last Ninja in fact (Oops!). After discovering this was the case, he phased himself forward in time to 1988 in order to escape. But old Ninja had some powerful friends, and these good magicians helped him to follow Kunitoki through time to New York... Meanwhile, in New York Kunitoki's in his element. He has used his almost magical power to set himself up as a drug baron, and hides himself away in a skyscraper/fortress near Central Park. Ninja has discovered that a secret entrance into the fortress exists in Central Park, and as the game starts he is searching for a way in.
So what happened to the much advertised Last Ninja 1? I hear you squeak. Well, it's quite simple really. System 3 didn't think it was up to scratch, its quality control is that good, that it took the decision not to release it until it was perfect. Which meant that the sequel project overtook it, and it turns out that this will come out first. All that effort just to bring you a good game, eh? Makes you break out in a sweat just thinking about it, dunnit? Still at least we have the brilliant new Ninja II to contend with.
Ninja II is a superb feat of programming. It's a six level multiload, with each level taking up the whole of a 48K computer. It's taken Mev Dinc, the programmer, a full six months to get the game from first code to a finished state, and it's easy to see why. The game is fully 3D, and packed to the edges of the screen with fiendish puzzles, the like of which I've never seen. There are objects to collect and manipulate, energy to be gained and fights to be fought. I'd like to see someone try and map it, too. The trail leads us down into the sewers, through Central Park, into a factory, up, down, left, right... all over the shop! (If you can do a map, I'd be interested to see it!) It's a big game, in all senses of the word, and if anything this year has got HIT written all over it, this has. If you like quick, flashy beat-'em-ups, then it'll suit you fine, but if you really want something big and fleshy to get your teeth into (fnar) then Ninja II is the only game that will do. Available August 25th.