Review by Sashanan

Reviewed: 02/02/01 | Updated: 02/02/01

Lengthy and difficult, this one will try your patience

Inindo is a graphically weak SNES RPG with a mix of tactical and strategic combat. The game is long, but not very varied. The poor graphics may already throw off many players, and those who do not mind them will find themselves facing a very challenging, even frustrating RPG which has only a few points of interest. All in all, this game is only for the very patient gamer.

Loosely based on actual historic occurences, Inindo tells us the story of Japan in the late 16th century. The powerful warlord Oda Nobunaga is trying to conquer all of Japan. As a side activity, he is attempting to eradicate the clan of the Iga ninja. Our hero is one of these ninja, a young apprentice who has just finished his training when Nobunaga's army overruns his village. He escapes, barely, and sets off to build up his skills and prepare himself for his revenge on Nobunaga.

Graphics in Inindo are mostly poor. There is barely any detail in the bird's eye view of towns, dungeons and the land outside. Every town looks the same, you can easily get lost on the world map of Japan (which, fortunately, you can get a full view of in most of the towns), and its people appear as very small, non-animating sprites with very little detail. In combat, the graphics are significantly better, though still not up to the usual Super Nintendo standard. Do not expect eye candy in this game.

The sound in Inindo is nothing to write home about, either. Sound effects are uninspired and sometimes downright irritating. The death of an enemy, for instance, is signified by a sharp beeping tone which really got on my nerves halfway the game. Music is the saving grace, which has a nice Japanese feel to it. A little variation would have been good here, however. It's mostly the same tunes over and over again. Thankfully, as you approach the last area of the game, the map tune changes. The final boss also has his own tune. On the whole, however, you'd better love the standard town, battle and dungeon tunes. You'll be hearing them a lot.

Inindo has both tactical and strategic elements. The bulk of the game consists of navigating your party of one to three characters through towns, over the world map, and into dungeons. Your main task is to become a full-fledged ninja by overcoming ten training dungeons. Once you have, the final part of the game starts, where you can get your revenge on Nobunaga.

In the meantime, you will have the option of aiding warlords in conquering neighboring provinces. Your goal here is to prevent Nobunaga from conquering all of Japan (which will result in losing the game), and getting a foothold near his main castle, which you need to complete the game. Your aid can be indirect, by spying on enemy castles or sabotaging them, or direct, by taking command of an attacking or defending army.

There isn't much detail in the strategic section of the game - battles are very simple in design. Tactical battles, in which your party fights monsters as in every RPG, are more interesting. You have both melee weapons and ranged weapons at your disposal, and move around the battlefield trying to find a position in which your melee fighters protect weaker characters like healers and mages.

Speaking of characters, there are plenty of different ones in the game, including ninja of various clans, strong fighters like samurai and swordsmen, spellcasters like sorcerers and mages, and healers like hermits and mendicants. Your main character is an Iga ninja, and the game has over a hundred other characters of all different types. To get them into your party, you will have to track them down (they travel around as you do), talk to them and get to know them, and eventually recruit them. Not all characters are friendly, though, and you will frequently find yourself under attack by bounty hunters and thieves, especially once you become richer and more notorious.

Magic is the last point of interest in Inindo. Many characters have magical skills. Sorcerers and the like focus on offensive spells, while mendicants have a wide range of healing abilities. Ninja are unique in the sense that they have a very broad grasp of magic, but their spells have a chance to fail and do nothing. Also, some magic may only be used while exploring or in tactical combat, while other spells are specifically intended for strategic battles.

Inindo is a difficult game, with many foes to be fought and many battles which'll make you sweat. It's hard enough to fight yourself through wave after wave of relentless monsters in dungeons, but the bosses you come across occasionally are absolutely fearsome. The only answer to this is level building, and you'll be doing a lot of it.
The difficulty level may be frustrating to some, especially since it takes a lot of patience to do enough level building. Still, you'll at least get the feeling that you have to work for your victory, and it is all the more satisfying to complete a dungeon.

Inindo has a lot of potential, but falls short of what it could have been. There are many flaws in this game, which include:

- Poor, uninspired graphics throughout the game.
- Repetitive music and annoying sound effects.
- Overall slow gameplay. Battles take long and are very frequent. A lot of level building is needed to get anywhere.

Most importantly, however, Inindo is a very long game which doesn't change much over time. Once you've completed half of the ten training dungeons, you probably won't be as enthusiastic about the second half. By the time I had finally won the game (and was rewarded with a rather unsatisfying ending), I was just glad to be done with it.

Inindo has good points, but many flaws as well. It takes a very patient and determined gamer to see this one through to the end. Think before you buy, or you might be disappointed.

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

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