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Ninja: Shadow of Darkness (PlayStation) artwork

Ninja: Shadow of Darkness (PlayStation) review


"I remember several years ago, playing this game on demo and then trying it out. Goodness knows, I was in for one of the hugest challenges that I had ever faced in a video game. Well, all the games that I had played for PlayStation were pretty easy, but this game was just... a huge difficulty. This game was created by Eidos a while back, and they have never been known for making difficult games. Not saying that Ninja: Shadow of Darkness has been 100% shattered by its ridiculous difficulty, becaus..."



I remember several years ago, playing this game on demo and then trying it out. Goodness knows, I was in for one of the hugest challenges that I had ever faced in a video game. Well, all the games that I had played for PlayStation were pretty easy, but this game was just... a huge difficulty. This game was created by Eidos a while back, and they have never been known for making difficult games. Not saying that Ninja: Shadow of Darkness has been 100% shattered by its ridiculous difficulty, because it is still fun, but one of the hardest games our home console, the PlayStation, has seen to this day.

To start off with, the storyline will probably not win any real awards. It goes something like this: an evil lord calls upon a destructive demon to help him in a quest to rule the world. The lord gives the demon a mere meager soul, and then it helps him do evil things. But then, the evil war lord cannot control the demon, and soon the world is entirely filled with demons. A horrible evil, and quite a shadow of darkness, if you ask me. And this is where the ''Ninja'' from the title will soon come in...

A young ninja is travelling home from a long journey, and finds that all these demons have killed his parents and all his companions. He then embarks on a quest to avenge his parents and conquer all these evil demons. Now of course, the story is pretty good on its own. But I believe that this same story has been found in several other places, like movies. After that, it leads to a pretty linear, but still above average action game. So overall the story is fine, but it needs to tweak up in originality a little bit.

Graphics in Ninja: Shadow of Darkness aren't too impressive, but they're still okay for 1998. The ninja himself is dressed in a blue-purple suit, just like all ninjas are. He looks really cool, especially when throwing shurikens and stuff like that. The enemies are nice-looking too, and they range from huge spiders to just normal creatures. Ninja: Shadow of Darkness is a game that little kids might want to keep away from though, because it contains a lot of scary stuff like big spiders and really dark areas.

Backgrounds aren't that bad either, although sometimes they appear to be a little bit blocky. The game is also very dark and creepy, especially in the first level. Speaking of that level, it also has some good lightning flashing in it, and the rain falling from the sky is also pretty neat. Overall, Ninja: Shadow of Darkness isn't really anything special. Characters are a bit blocky, and the landscapes/backgrounds can be a bit blocky too, but it's mostly good. Not bad for an early PlayStation game, I suppose.

Sounds don't really impress me that much, but they're still pretty nice overall. First of all, there's not that much music in the game, but all that is there is not anything special, but still not bad. Most of the music in the game is just about as dark as the graphics are. The game is comprised mostly of deep, dark themes, mainly because all of the levels have this theme of darkness. A lot of the music matches the area that it is played in fairly well, so overall the music is great. I've heard better though.

A lot of the sound in the game is fairly good as well. Everything sounds like it should, such as the ninja doing his attacks, fire burning, lightning coming from the sky, etc..., and that's not to mention that the huge amount of rain in the Forest sounds great too, and also, the groans of the ninja and perhaps other characters when they are hit (''ugh!, agghhh... gah'') and other things like that sound fairly nice too. Overall, the sounds can be a little repetitive, but they're still not too bad. But now we go on to the gameplay...

First of all, to start the gameplay off I think that I'll probably have to offer a rant about the controls. They aren't that good. To start out with, try jumping from one place to another in the Forest. It's near impossible, ain't it? The controls and jumping in Ninja: Shadow of Darkness are on the scale of Tomb Raider, really! Other controls aren't really that great either, and they really devote to how difficult this game can be. Still, if you're pretty good you can handle the controls, but you'll still have a fair bit of difficulty doing so.

Ninja: Shadow of Darkness is a fairly short game, comprised of about 16 levels or so. Unfortunately, there is quite a lot of repetition in this game. There are levels that were deemed Hell, Hell 2, etc. (although only a few were named like this), and there is a fair bit of repetition offered. That's also not to mention that you are unlikely to get past the first level due to this game's insane challenge level. Sure, it offers even veterans a big challenge, but I promise you that the levels have huge amounts of pain in them.

The ninja himself has a lot of stuff at his disposal. He has a sword with him and he's got throwing shurikens (what ninja doesn't?), as well as a little magic and some smoke bombs. He can also do some kicks and punches. Also, attacks can be improved by equipping stronger weapons. Also, if you power up (with tokens) enough, you can charge up attacks to release a lot of pain upon your enemy. But against some enemies and bosses, you need to use just about all that I mentioned above, and a fair bit of luck.

Unfortunately, Ninja: Shadow of Darkness doesn't have very much replay value. In fact, you probably won't want to complete it, since the ending really isn't anything special. The game itself is pretty short, but damn is it challenging. Ninja: Shadow of Darkness is perhaps the hardest game I have ever touched. Honestly, I commend anyone who managed to complete this game without cheating. All in all, Ninja: Shadow of Darkness is a pretty fun game, but it'll lose most of what it has the second time through.

The final grade is a 6/10. Ninja: Shadow of Darkness has tons of flaws in it. It's _way_ too challenging, some music is repetitive, the controls can be a bit difficult, and a good deal of the game is the same. It is still a good action game for PlayStation, but Eidos really had to tune down the difficulty level. I really don't recommend a purchase, because Ninja: Shadow of Darkness can become repetitive and slightly tedious soon. It is worth a rental or a borrow if you can do that, but you may be slightly disappointed.

Rating: 6/10

gbness's avatar
Community review by gbness (April 24, 2004)

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