The Ninja on Sega Master System

The Ninja puts you in control of the Japanese warrior of the title. In this role you are to gain entry to a castle using your Ninja skills to dodge, fight and kill the enemy ninjas. The vertical scrolling gameplay gives you a couple of fire modes, either the direction you are facing or straight up so you have the option of walking left and right and kind of strafing. Pushing both fire buttons at once cause you to disappear momentarily which can help avoid death in some cases.

The first level has you facing just your human foes (look out for the rocks too as some of those are Ninjas in disguise) which are fairly easy to kill by walking upwards a little then strafing to avoid their throwing stars and kill them. Until you meet the big boss with his whirly stick flying around him then it’s a case of move back and left to right to keep hitting him after you take out his henchmen. The next level has you again fighting the human Ninja warriors but with rocks coming down and ninjas appearing out of the ground making it difficult to keep your eye on everything, add in the big boss and things get tough pretty quick.

Later levels see you fighting from logs on rivers Frogger style so be careful not to fall in while killing and avoiding being killed, and so on as you make your way to the castle. The key really is remembering to advance slowly, as the enemies only appear as you walk upwards and hit certain points then take care of those before moving on.

Graphics are average for the Master System, and sound is a bit sub par with only one tune throughout the game, but it was quite an early game for the system so can be forgiven. Gameplay is quite frantic at times, but it’s not a long game and decent players will complete it quite quickly although any hit kills instantly, and you only get 3 lives and 3 continues. I have a soft spot for this game though and it will be evident in its scoring.


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