Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Crash #6


Akane is the last of the Haoken clan, has a fiance called Riuken and he's in a right old muddle, as the kingdom of Sindara has been contaminated with deadly poison by Ony Anthrax. Sindara is where Akane lives with Riuken, but since the poisoning, Riuken has gone missing. Last seen alive at the laboratory, Akane heads there in the hope of finding her and escaping Sindara and away from the evil Ony Anthrax.

Though he has ancient skills of the Ninja - including the power of dash and shuriken abilities - there is a slight drawback. He also finds himself contaminated by the poison and to keep himself alive, he must seek out bottles of antidote that he will find along the way, before it takes over his body and puts a permanent end to his quest.

Paul Davies

After a couple of screens you discover that a major part of your mission is to locate and collect four keys to open a door found to the right of the map. Opening this door will hopefully lead you to Riuken but, as I'm still to collect enough of these keys, that's just an assumption at this point. Akane's ability to dash and use a shuriken are essential to progress here.

You'll find making it past certain enemies or obstacles impossible without using either of these. The shuriken comes in particularly handy as it will take out any enemy in its path, but there is a bit of a downside to it too. Should you miss your intended target, it will continue to fly across the screen until it hits a wall or platform and there it will stay until you pick it up again or until an enemy is stupid enough to move into it.

As you are only equipped with one of these, you'll need to wait until it's completed its job before you can reuse it. Similarly, the dash ability, once used, has to be given a few seconds to build up before it can be used again, so the timing of your dash needs to be anticipated also.

At first I was a bit frustrated with trying to play Akane but once I'd got used to the controls and the shuriken and dashes, it become a lot more fun. The music is a delight and the cartoon graphics look good, with Akane bouncing on the spot whilst waiting and his headband flowing behind his head whilst he runs.

The time limit Akane finds himself facing whilst he tries to complete his mission and at the same time trying to pick up the antidotes, can be very unforgiving at times, but not impossible. It's worth noting that when you exit a room and then return to it, it has been reset with any antidotes you may have found the first time around, though unfortunately for you, so will any enemies - whether you killed them prior or not.

Though the game does suffer ever so slightly with collision detection, there's enough fun and challenge to keep you occupied. With switches to be hit with shurikens that open up various walls to reach the required keys and other such tasks, I found the game really did grow on me as I played. That said, there were still times I wanted to throw something out of the window when I ran out of time. Argh! All part of the fun.

Gordon King

I quite like a bit of nifty ninja action, and Akane, in general, delivers the goods. It's got lovely sprites, great music and some decent level design (although it can feel a tad repetitive). I like the idea of the ninja dash - it gives the player a choice of to be quick, or to be deadly, thanks to his throwing stars.

Where it falls a bit short is within the games' mechanics. I like a slick experience, and sadly, the game falls a little shy of that.


Control Keys: Q, A, O, P, SPACE - Dash, M - Shuriken.
Joystick: Sinclair Joystick + SPACE or Kempston + SPACE.
Graphics: A nice cartoon style look to the game.
Sound: Simple FX but very nice AY tune on the 128K version.
General Rating: Though it won't break new ground in the platform genre, it's well done and has that something that makes you want to carry on trying.

Paul Davies

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