Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Super Shinobi (NES)

Hello! I'm sorry it's been such a long time since my last post, I've been spending too much time playing games everyone's heard of (and that, as such aren't suitable material for this blog), like Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 and Alice: Madness Returns. But here's a new review! I think this might be a record for the most posts in a row that aren't about Playstation games, too, which is nice.
Anyway, The Super Shinobi for NES/Famicom is, despite the title, a port of the awesome and excellent Mega Drive game The Super Shinobi II (which is known in the west as Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master). Although "port" might be too generous a term for this game. Those plucky pirates at SUPER GAME tried their hardest, but it's really more of a loose adaptation of the original.
At first glance, it does seem pretty faithful, the graphics are excellent considering the limitations of the hardware, and the music is alright too (I assume it will probably be of interest to game music nerds too, so they can hear some NES covers of Mega Drive songs...).
The first big difference you'll notice is the scarcity of shurikens compared to the original. This means you'll be going in close and attacking enemies with your sword a lot more. As you go throughout the game, you'll notice that Joe isn't as agile as you're used to, too. For example, his somersault jump doesn't goe as high as it does in the original, he can only hang underneath certain places, rather than from the bottoms of any platforms and, as far as I can tell, he can no longer walljump.
The game also makes a brave attempt at Shinobi III's horse riding stage, but it doesn't really work very well. It's nice that they tried though, right?
I've only managed to get a few stages into the game (to be exact, as far as the "floating cyborg brain thing" boss), and Joe's new found physical disabilities haven't hampered progress so far, though there are some item on platforms that are just slightly out of reach, which is annoying, considering the raised difficulty in this game compared to its source.
The blame for the increased difficulty can be placed on a combination of the weaker hardware, and some slightly inept programming. There are two main problem when fighting enemies: the AI for the stronger enemies seems completely random compared to the original game, so rather than waiting for an opening that you know is coming, the most effecient way of fighting is to get in close and slash at them until they die, hoping that they go before you. The other problem is slightly shoddy collision detection. Not bad enough to be a disaster, just a mild nuisance.
From what I've played of this game, it seems like the most reliable way to proceed is to abuse the hell out of your ninja magics: using the suicide spell when you're low on health, so you can start a new life's health bar without restarting the stage, and using the shield spell whenever you have more than one magic stock, to make that health bar last a little bit longer. It seems the makers of the game were aware of this too, as while the extra magic item is incredibly rare in the original version, there's a few in each stage in the pirate.
All in all, like a lot of these pirate ports, it's a nice curio, but not really a very good game, and definitely not worth bothering with in this modern age when you can just emulate the original.

No comments:

Post a Comment