The Last Ninja (Superior/Acornsoft) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

The Last Ninja
By Superior/Acornsoft
Acorn Electron

Published in A&B Computing 6.03

These Superior loading screens are getting ridiculous! Here, for a conversion of a small C64 hit, we have not only Superior and Acornsoft, but System 3 (the original developers) as well. Pretty soon, we won't have room for the title.

Still, let's not complain, as long as we get games as enjoyable and as playable as this - converted by old Arcade chum Peter Scott, who seems to have left the much-loved chunky graphics and globular heroes behind him at last.

As we mentioned recently about Joe Blade, this is nothing outstanding - merely what owners of other computers have become used to as fun, enjoyable games that are taken for granted. A point that has struck me with extra poignancy since I was given a secondhand Amstrad CPC464 - shock horror! And we won't even speak about the fact that C64 users have just been presented with the delights of Last Ninja 2.

The Last Ninja

The game itself is easy to describe - you play a ninja (Programmer's tip no 1 - dress your hero in black, it saves so much memory!) who has to explore a large playing area, collect objects and so on. On the way, there are large numbers of unpleasant adversaries to kill, apples to eat for extra lives and objects to discover for extra powers. In fact, mapping is going to be pretty essential and practice with the weapons vital.

Some of these objects are easy to find - the screen alerts you to their presence; others are hidden, but with your ninja powers you have to seek them out.

So, what do we have here? An adventure? A martial arts simulation? An excuse for pretty graphics? All three, I think. The fighting scenes are perhaps the least realistic (joysticks option please, Peter) as your blows depend on hitting direction keys and return at the same time - almost inevitably, extra direction commands get through allowing your opponent to kick you in the bum, or worse.

The Last Ninja

But what of the gameplay? That's fun enough, though I think the difficulty levels may be set too high. Reaching the end of the sixth level without an extra life poke is going to be hard.

Still, another winner from Superior and congratulations to Peter Scott for showing the world that the Beeb is capable of running exciting, graphically interesting and different games. If only there were more of them...

However, a bit of practice and using your fists, sword, shuriken stars or whatever becomes quite simple. So too does the ninja's ability to forward somersault with various strengths. The graphics are convincing - reminiscent perhaps of the effective movements in Impossible Mission.

Dave Reeder

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