Review by Mikester

"Your girlfriend has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue your girlfriend?"

My oh my, the early days of the NES were a breeding ground for bizarre games, were they not? It seems like they would put out just about anything back then. Don't believe me? Go play Karnov.

And so we have Legend of Kage. In it, you play a young man(supposedly) who arrives in the woods after the game's opening, to find his girlfriend(?) abducted by a ninja, who evidently had the ability to fly. And so the hero sets off through the woods, battling WAVE after WAVE after WAVE of identical ninjas, and the occasional fire-breathing...guy. When you get out of the woods, you go through a moat, then up a tower, then through the castle until you rescue your girlfriend. If this sounds short, it is. Is it all worthwhile? Let's find out...

Graphics: 6/10

You can say this in Kage's favor: everything looks more or less like it should. The ninjas, although basic, do in fact look like ninjas. However, the serious knock on Kage's visuals can be directed toward its distinct lack of graphic variety. There are only two kinds of enemies in this game. There are ninjas(and various palette swaps thereof) and fire-breathing guys wearing hats(also with various palette swaps). That's it.

Sound/Music: 4/10

There are no sound effects in this game, except for the sound of your hero jumping. Everything else is drowned out by the oft-overpowering musical score, which is at best tolerable and at worst downright irritating. The music is screechy and repetitive. I left it on because I was amused at how it annoyed my friends, but you probably won't be inclined to do the same. Turn your speakers off.

Gameplay: 6/10

Kage does try to be a fun, ninja-style game. You can kill enemies with your sword or with throwing stars, and they are similarly equipped. You die in one hit, which can be frustrating when you get hit in mid-jump by an enemy throwing star which can(and often does) come out of nowhere. On the plus side, you can jump really high and really far. That's kinda fun for awhile.

As previously stated, there are only four levels, and once you finish them, you start over again, although for some reason the graphics in the first level change on subsequent games. Don't ask me why. It's short, but that ends up being a blessing in disguise due to the tedious gameplay.

Bottom Line: It's unique, but that doesn't make it fun. It's worth a try, but don't expect it to become a permanent part of your collection.

Mildly recommended.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 06/13/01, Updated 06/13/01

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