Legend Of Kage
By Imagine
Commodore 64/128

Published in Computer & Video Games #64

Legend Of Kage

Martial arts mania lives on - and Imagine have come up with yet another ninja game in the shape of this conversion of a Taito coin-op. I must confess I've never come across this in the arcades.

Legend is a mixture of Yie Ar Kung Fu and Kung Fu Master. It's a scrolling "quest" through forests and castles.

Kage is the name of the hero who has to rescue the kidnapped princess (yawn).

Legend Of Kage

He has to fight his way through regiments of ninja's wizards, sword masters and female boxers.

To progress from stage to stage, you must kill off a set number of opponents. To escape the first forest section. Kage has to kill the Red Wizard in order to get through to the next stage. To make the Red Wizard appear he must wipe out four Blue Wizards, to make the Blue Wizards appear he must kill four Red Ninjas - and so on.

Kage can perform amazing ninja leaps - just like in the martial arts movies. He can hide in trees and jump over his attackers firing deadly stars. As well as the stars Kage has his trusty sword to beat off the Dragon Lord's minions.

Legend Of Kage

It's a sort of kung-fu shoot-'em-up really. There's no Fist type kicking and punching involved here.

The scrolling is smooth - but the animation of the characters is simply naff. Kage and the rest of the people he comes across look as if they are hopping about on one leg! Too much saki the night before, perhaps.

The joystick response is a bit slow too - I often found myself furiously trying to duck a flying star or swing my sword and nothing happened. Tried the game with two different sticks as well.

Music and sound effects aren't really up to scratch for the C64 either. A tinny little tune at the beginning and a few dodgy spot effects. Could this game have been rushed out for Christmas and not finished properly?

Having said all that, the game is pretty playable. There's lots of action to be had.

A couple of hints - watch out for the "prayer wheel" a flashing object hidden away in the branches of trees. Collect it without being killed and it acts like a smart bomb - wiping out attackers in your immediate vicinity for a short time.

And beware the Red Ninjas who don't fall down after one hit. They are tough cookies. Score bonus points by picking up the little chain things which appear when you hit them though...

Wizards breathe fire - kill them from a distance with your stars after they've sent a withering flame at you.

Does it have that all-important lastability factor? Not really, my guess is that once you've rescued the princess you won't be coming back for a second try.