Review by Teenschlock

"Ninja platforming at its 2nd best!"

Ninja Crusaders, published by Sammy in 1990, is often compared to Ninja Gaiden by Tecmo and for good reason. The two games are very similiar in general appearance and play, but differ in many key areas. First, Ninja Gaiden has cool cinemas which compliment the story. Ninja Crusaders has a black screen with text explaining a rather simple story dealing with aliens and the Japanese ninja taking them on. The Ninja Gaiden game has better graphics and music then Ninja Crusaders too. Ninja Crusaders has challenge but usually because the ''one hit kill'' you suffer and weird enemy behaviors. In Ninja Gaiden, your character climbs ladders and wall climbs. In Ninja Crusaders, your character can jump. Maybe these are ninja in training or something. One cool part of the game is the ability to turn into different animals for various situations. And two players can play simultaneously. Overall, Ninja Crusaders is a poor man's Ninja Gaiden, but has enough to make it playable and, in fact, pretty fun.

Graphics: 6/10
The ninja look good and so do the different animals. The backgrounds are pretty generic, but at least colorful. Enemy aliens look ok but nothing special. The bosses are mostly pretty big and scary looking. Ninja Crusader's graphics can be summed up in two words: simple.

Sound: 5/10
Sound effects in this game are just average. The music varies from bad to very bad, though some of the tunes become kinda catchy (due to the constant repeating of the song). Some little Japanese guy with a keyboard was really rockin' out on certain levels. The ''Ironfist Castle'' level music,with its hot synth-riff, is still picking at my skull like a jackal.

Game Play: 8/10
Ninja Crusaders is very playable and, at times, very fun. The ability to morph into different animals with different attacks adds to the fun. Playing with two players is really fun too; different strategies can be thought up with one player as an animal and so on. Yes, if you know someone else willing to ''think up strategies'' for Ninja Crusaders you both may have problems. Well, I know I do. Anyway, the game also features infinite continues, allowing for a lot of practice. And you will need that practice to memorize levels and enemy locations.

Options: 1/10
There is no option screen. No sound test or difficulty setting. Nothing. But it gets a 1 for allowing two ninjas to play together. Two ninjas playing together sounds kinda weird.

Overall: 7/10
Ninja Crusaders is a pretty average game but at least it doesn't completly suck. The game is very playable and fun. While the game resembles Ninja Gaiden on the surface, they are both very different. Most of the differences reflect badly on Ninja Crusaders, but good points exist.
*Good Points: 2 player option and animal morphing
*Bad Points: average everything and inferior to Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Crusaders is worth finding and adding to your Nes collection, especially for fans of ninja games. Doesn't it sound fun to become a ninja and crusade against the evil alien invaders?

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/17/02, Updated 12/17/02

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