The Ninja Kids (Arcade) review
"According to a few religions, we are on the brink of the end of the world. Supposedly, humanity is nearing Judgment Day, the Apocalypse, the End of Days, or however else the day is named. The human race will die out, letting the blessed ascend into the great arcade in the sky while the sinners are cast into a dark and fiery oblivion. The world as we know it would cease to exist, an unfathomable and bleak future for everything else that survived. Sounds like fun, right? Caught in the midst of suc..."
According to a few religions, we are on the brink of the end of the world. Supposedly, humanity is nearing Judgment Day, the Apocalypse, the End of Days, or however else the day is named. The human race will die out, letting the blessed ascend into the great arcade in the sky while the sinners are cast into a dark and fiery oblivion. The world as we know it would cease to exist, an unfathomable and bleak future for everything else that survived. Sounds like fun, right? Caught in the midst of such terror and chaos, where would you turn to save yourself? Would you make a dash for the nearest church? Go raid a store downtown? Sit back in a recliner with a soda, calmly accepting your demise? With such overwhelming despair and death, it’d be hard to imagine someone actually making a difference, let alone saving humanity.
But in this game, the end of the world can be prevented. In the year 1999, a sinister cult has gone to great lengths to ensure humanity’s destruction. Due to their diligence and outright obsession, they are mere minutes away from summoning Satan into the modern world. If the devil actually makes into our dimension, we can pretty much kiss our sorry asses goodbye. However, there’s still hope for mankind. In the midst of such dire times, four heroes have stepped forth to wipe out the satanic cult and send the devil packing. These heroes aren’t religious folk; they don’t carry around bibles, crosses, or anything else that you might expect for a task with such holy implications. They are clad in the veils of the ninja, trained in the combat of stealth, speed, and downright awesomeness. Not only that, but they’ve got the kind of spunky attitude that only arrogant teenagers can muster. That’s right, boys and girls. Humanity’s salvation is in the hands of the Ninja Kids!
Okay. Four teenage ninjas are supposed to stop Satan from wiping out mankind. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. To the game’s credit, there have been worse plots. Utterly ridiculous premise aside, the Ninja Kids will have their work cut out for them. You’ll have the choice of controlling one of these pimply-faced assassins, be it Hanzo with the katana, Akane with the shirukens, the Sasuke with the sickles, or some green guy that is supposed to be carrying nunchakus but fights with what looks like a big metal pipe. Not only are these kids packing some nice weapons, but they’re also able to summon elemental forces to help them combat evil. These heroes can easily create giant stalactites, tidal waves, fireballs, and even wind gusts of doom! With so much firepower hiding beneath their humble ninja garbs, the kids should have no trouble smiting anything that gets in their way.
However, they won’t beat Lucifer without having to face some nasty foes along the way. Satan’s impending arrival has created a few side effects, allowing for mutant zombies, knife-wielding green-haired rejects from the disco era, mystical cult members, drunken bar owners, fat guys in suits, and all sorts of other freaks that will come out of the woodwork. The epic fight for humanity’s salvation will take place in the heart of the urban jungle, starting on a busy downtown street, eventually spilling onto a skyscraper, a hot air balloon, and even the local McDonalds. While you’ll only control one ninja, there will be crowds of baddies clogging up every section of the level. Luckily, the majority of these villains require only one or two hits to take down. Your weapons and specials are horribly overpowered, making this game a cakewalk for even inexperienced beat’em up gamers. Not even the bosses require very much skill, allowing you to stand back and leisurely button mash your way through the fight. Who would have thought saving mankind could be so easy?
Despite having Satan as the main villain, this game has no inkling of anything serious. The enemies are laughable at best, what with their bulging eyes, bright clothes, and terribly choppy animation. Even the maraca-wielding KKK wannabes seem more comical than scary. Hell, even Satan looked better in the intro movie than he did in the actual battle. The Ninja Kids don’t look like the typical characters found in most Ninja Gaiden or Shinobi games. Instead, they look like poorly drawn clay figurines melded in the hands of some inept child. Their faces are comprised of two disgustingly large eyes and a flat line for a mouth, not unlike the little monkeys found in the Ape Escape series. Their clothes look like big blobs of bright colors, and their weapons lack any sort of realism. Since when can someone get chopped in half by a tiny throwing star? However, it’s the terrible translation job that makes the presentation so awful and funny at the same time. You’ll be treated to some hilariously bad cutscenes, where the dastardly villains will spout threats like, “Here is a graveyard of you!” or “Do you feel our power.” Oooh, scary.
It’s sad. I can’t believe someone could take the idea of Satan’s coming into such a horribly done game. Four teenage ninjas are supposed to stop the end of the world, and yet they look and act like Saturday morning cartoons. Sure, the weapons may be of the traditional ninja style, but their over-powered attacks ensures any lack of difficulty. At least the elemental specials look decent. Too bad the same can’t be said for the ninjas, bad guys, or anything else in the game. Terrible designs aside, it’s the horrible translation that kills any chance of this game being taken seriously. Indeed, The Ninja Kids should be reserved for those times when you need a break from the Streets of Rage, Final Fights, and all other beat’em up games that have at least something worthwhile about them. If anything, this game should be saved for when you’re in the mood for something hilarious and almost painful to watch.
Community review by disco (February 08, 2006)
Disco is a San Francisco Bay Area native, whose gaming repertoire spans nearly three decades and hundreds of titles. He loves fighting games, traveling the world, learning new things, writing, photography, and tea. Not necessarily in that order.
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