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Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES) artwork

Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES) review


"The Legend of the Mystical Ninja is a neglected gem on the Super Nintendo system. While people were wasting their time playing other games like Super Mario World and Lagoon, or the ''newest'' installment of Mega Man, they could have been playing this fun side scroller from the good people at Konami."



The Legend of the Mystical Ninja is a neglected gem on the Super Nintendo system. While people were wasting their time playing other games like Super Mario World and Lagoon, or the ''newest'' installment of Mega Man, they could have been playing this fun side scroller from the good people at Konami. Unfortunately, they didn't, and it's their loss.

In Legend of the Mystical Ninja, you play the role of Goemon. Despite having a name that looks like a Jamaican bobsledder's (Heyyy, Goemon! Stay away from the brown acid, mon!) he is really a hero of Japan. He's out to save the world, or something equivalent. You'll figure it out, there's wacky cut scenes throughout the game. The story told feels extremely Japanese, and I bet there's a lot of jokes that I simply don't get.

The gameplay in Mystical Ninja is outstanding though. It's the typical left to right, up and down, jump over objects, attack enemies, platforming kind of fare. Imagine Zelda: A Link To The Past with more speed and B-movie appeal throughout. Mystical Ninja is more action driven than most games; a whole lot of strategy is not required, and quick reaction time will be more helpful.

The enemies for the most part are rather pedestrian. Psycho fishermen, rabid dogs, sumo wrestlers, the thing you'd expect from the game. Most go down simply, after one whack from your weapon. There's level bosses, and a few mini-bosses, but they also don't require a whole lot of skill to defeat. All in all, Mystical Ninja has a breezy difficulty; serious gamers will be done with the basic game in less than a day.

However, I just said ''basic game'', didn't I? Legend of the Mystical Ninja is chock full of bonuses, some related to gameplay, some not. They're everywhere. You can play the first level of the classic NES game Gradius in an arcade, or Breakout! (more commonly known as the Arkanoid ripoff). You can take a job painting a canvas. You can play Whack-A-Mole. You can explore a 3-D dungeon in an attempt to find prizes. You can go to a horsetrack. Do I need to go on further? That's only covering roughly HALF of the things you can do in the game.

All these services aren't cheap though; they require coins. You can get these by rescuing innocent bystanders (worth anywhere from fifty to two hundred bucks) or by defeating enemies. Enemies drop coins at a fairly frequent rate, each worth ten bucks. They also drop a vital special item - the cat statue.

After eight enemy kills, you receive the cat statue, which doubles the length of your standard club. Kill another eight, and it stretches it to three times the original length, into a yo-yo contraption. However, if you get hit by an enemy with either enhancement, you go back one level in terms of weaponry. Without a length enhancement, the game is exponentially harder, so try to not get hit.

The game ends when Goemon is drained of all of his life. It's right at the top of the screen, in a handy meter format. Enemy attacks drain the meter. It it possible to recharge it though; stores selling food can be found throughout the game, or you can order take out and carry the food on you to use at your choosing.

You can also wear suits of armor or helmets, to help dampen to blow from enemies. However, this isn't an essential part of the game, like in say, a role playing game. All equipment can be bought in stores, and disappears after a few hits.

The game features a multiplayer option; it's a simple two player simultaneous play. The second player is some fat professor dude who has exactly the same abilities as Goemon. Kinda weird, since he has roughly 100 more pounds on him, but hey, I digress. The two player mode is decent, although it suffers from Rescue Rangers syndrome - you can hit your own ally, and games often resort into sissy fights between your two characters.

Graphically, Legend of the Mystical Ninja is not extremely impressive, except in one regard. I can not recall at any point in the game any slowdown what-so-ever. This is a huge plus in an action game, especially in one that has a lot of action and animation going on at one time.

The graphics themselves are mostly made up of bright bright colors. The ''Wow, it must be REALLLLLY sunny!'' kind of bright. They look heavily Japanese, meaning anime, and lots of it. However, they go perfectly with the overall mood of the game.

The same can be said of the music and sound effects in the game. Most of it's that clitchy, happy sounding music that the Japanese and anime lovers go ga-ga over. If you're a real person, then you'll likely be less thrilled by the music, and reach for that mute button on the switcher.

Overall, Legend of the Mystical Ninja is a game that doesn't really get the respect it deserves. I'll make a bold assertion here - It does everything Zelda does, but better, except for items and puzzles.

I have a strong suspicion that the theme of the game scares away gamers, much like the later Nintendo 64 platform games. However, don't worry too much about the overall feeling in the game. It is campy, and like a B-movie, but that doesn't distract at all from the solid gameplay and gaming experience.

Rating: 10/10

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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