Ninja Hamster

Publisher: CRL
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Computer & Video Games #71

Ninja Hamster

So you thought you'd seen every possible angle on martial arts? Well, you couldn't have been more wrong. Meet the Ninja Hamster - a fiendishly furry blur of flailing fists and feet.

This game started out life as a joke - an irritated company PR person making up a title just to get a journalist off his back. But then the idea of a Ninja Hamster seemed to stick and so a legend was born!

Well, not quite a legend - more a bit of fighting fun. And by your response to our Ninja Hamster Competition you think it's a laugh too. More on that next issue - but meanwhile back to the review.

Ninja Hamster

The story goes like this. Old Hammy has been in training in a mountainside rodent monastery for absolutely ages - a fortnight at least.

Spinning round in a little wheel, eating sunflower seed sandwiches, that sort of thing.

Now he's heard that his village is under attack by a gang of joyseeking villains led by the Lizard of Death, the Sinister Rat and the Loony Lobster to name but a few.

It's Hammy's job to battle this motley crew in hand to hand Ninja combat.

Load the game up and you'll be confronted by the regular karate combat screen layout - except that the fighters are big, cartoony style comic characters. And it's this that makes the game different from the run-of-the-mill combat challenge.

Each character is dressed up in a neat way, The Sinister Rat looks a bit like a Wallaby with boxing gloves, The Lizard is a mean monster with a spiky club, Mad Dog is dressed as an American Football star, and so on.

There are eight villainous vermin to defeat in order to save the village - two on each load. Yup, I'm afraid you'll have to keep going back to the tape player in order to complete the whole game. A bit of a bind, this.

There's a two-player option as well - which as with all combat games - makes the thing a whole lot more interesting to play. I found that after the novelty of the funny graphics, little comic style speech balloons had worn off the whole thing got a bit too easy.

I defeated The Rat using the tried and trusted low sweeping kick time after time - the computer-controlled opponents seem to be too easy to overcome.

You have to defeat each of the opposing animals about four times before you get to move on to the next one. The number of falls your enemy or you have taken is indicated by apples at the top of the screen which have bites taken out of them with every fall.

Graphics aren't bad, sound is minimal and gameplay gets a bit repetitive.

Ninja Hamster doesn't add much to the martial arts theme - except to generate a bit of humour. But sadly the joke isn't enough to last lost enough for me to want to shell out for a full price game - at budget price things might be different.