Review by Harv

"This Ninja didn't reach his full potential."

Graphics- 8/10

The game does look nice, I have to give it that. Everything in the game is sharp, and colourful, and I don't think I've ever encountered slow down once. The problem is, almost all of the enemies look exactly the same, and have either a colour swap, extra horns, or both. Which simply screams lazy to me, since they could at least have twice the enemies in this, considering it's length.

Sound Effects/ Music- 7/10

The music in this game....made no sense. When I turned on the game, I was expecting cheesy old Japanese music, but instead it was like music you might hear in a dance club. It's not horrible music, despite the fact it's a bit repetitive, and it is clear, but it just doesn't fit the game, which takes away from the mood.

The Sound Effects are great though. Pretty much anytime I heard the Ninja speak, I'd at least chuckle, since they make it quite clear that he's a crazy psycho ninja that wants to kill everything. The sen-sei would usually talk in gibberish and would confuse old sayings, which would also get a snicker out of me as well.

The weapon strikes and explosions sound great, in fact, I think everything sounded like you would think it would. If it weren't for the great Sound Effects, the score for this section would of receive about a 2 or 3.

Control- 9/10

The controls in this game are very nice as well, very responsive, and it's easy to perform all of your moves. The only problems with the controls are, whenever you are controlling a ball, you can't steer it too well, I can understand it being hard to control if it's going fast, but it's hard to control all the time. Also, whenever you are swinging with a chain, I found sometimes that the button wouldn't respond, It was particularly bad when you had to swing a few times to get over a gap, since occasionally you could plummet to your death.

Aside from those two flaws, which you don't really encounter all that often, the controls are damn near perfect.

Gameplay- 5/10

I'm sorry, but it seemed like Namco didn't care about this game too much. It had so much potential, but it fell short. First off, it was a fetch quest. I didn't mind them when they first came out, but it's something that I grew tired of years ago, for a few reasons.

Instead of actually making a storyline to give you a reason to go from place to place, they decide to make you go to several different areas, getting the exact same item, to open an area, where you get more of the same Item, etc. It just screams laziness to me, since they can't even think of a good reason for you to go to an area.

Also, I've gotten tired of going to the same board over and over to get more of the same said item. Granted, it is limited more in this game than in other fetch quests, but I think I should only be required to go back to a level twice, and that's it. Unless it's for story purposes, which it isn't.

Another problem is the limited move set. Come on now. I'm a freaking ninja! Give me more than 2 moves, aside from the basic one button press attacks. There are a few Speciality attacks, that you earn throughout the game, but they basically just increase strength and/or heal you. Basically, with the limited move set, fighting gets boring really quickly.

Also, the game was too short. If you didn't get every last thing in the game, you could probably beat the game in one solid day of gaming. Another thing is that the game was too easy. Sure there were points were the game was hard, but for the most part, it was easy. Finally, the game has no reply value, you don't get anything for beating the game, and the bonus you get for getting all the Grades (Fetch Quest Item) is nothing special.

They did try to mix up the gameplay though, it wasn't always just to beat up a bunch of enemies on your way to the fetch quest item. You would have to beat the clock, blow up ships, and at one point there is even a battle that is similar to playing Punch Out!!! Also, every time you beat a level, you could go back, once you increase your rank, and play it again, with another objective. Also, you can level up your sword to deal more damage, and also you're Ninja self can go from a White Belt, to a Ninja Master, which basically gives you more health, and allows access to the new areas. I do have to give them props for trying to spice up a fetch quest.

It's just so sad, because this game could of been so great, but instead it's just about average, and will most likely get lost in the sands of time.

Graphics- 8
Sound Effects/ Music- 7
Controls- 9
Gameplay- 5

Overall Score- 7.25 (Rounded down to 7)

Rent or Buy?

All I can say is rent it. If you happen to really, REALLY, like the game, then buy it by all means, but to everyone else. Just rent it, since you can easily beat it in a rental.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 07/19/04

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