Retro Saga part 27: Ninja Spirit for the Turbo Grafx 16

It seems like I need to do more reviews on ninja games. The only ones I have reviewed are Mini Ninjas, which was great, and I-Ninjas, which I thought was garbage. I do have Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 on my list of games to review in the future, but for now, let’s take a look at a pretty good ninja game called Ninja Spirit. The original console that the game was on was the Turbo Grafx 16, but I am playing it on the Wii Virtual Console. You can bash me for not playing the original version of the game, but hey, I don’t have the time and money to go buy a Turbo Grafx and to find a good condition version of this game, so keep those comments to yourself.

The main story takes place in Feudal Japan, where a young ninja’s father was murdered by a half-man half-beast creature. Now it is up to that young ninja to go out and take revenge on the creature that killed his father. It’s your basic revenge plot, but like I said in past reviews, it’s only there to help get you from point A to point B.

The main game play featured in Ninja Spirit is an action plat-former, where you control the main ninja character and go through level after level of ninjas, monks, samurai zombies, and even killer frogs. Your ninja is not ill-equipped though. Your ninja can use a sword, shurikens, bombs, and a kunai-like weapon. This makes it so you can choose your playing style, like if you’re a close-range fighter you would use the sword, or if you were a long-range fighter you would use the three other weapons. There are a decent amount of power-ups in the game. You get a power-up to upgrade your weapon to make a fire shield float around you, a power-up to clear the screen of enemies, and my favorite one, the blue orb that gives you a shadow ninja that follows you around. This is where Ninja Spirit is creative. You can have up to two shadow ninjas with you that will use the same weapon you are using, and attack when you attack.

The graphics in the game are pretty impressive for the time that Ninja Spirit came out. All the details in the background and characters were all very detailed, and I still think they look interesting, even by today’s standards. I think that this game has aged well, even though a new bar has been set for 2D games of today, with games like Castle Crashers, Odin Sphere, and Muramasa The Demon Blade. You could argue as to why I didn’t put down Splosion Man and New Super Mario brothers Wii, but I didn’t put them down only because they are more on the line of 2.5D graphics. The music is also very ninja-like, and it is fun to listen to when you need a break from the game itself. I also like the weapons you can use, since it gives the game replay value in the form of playing the game differently each time. The difficulty is just right. Enemies are easy to kill, but the screen can get frantic when there are a lot of them on screen, and you will need to keep moving or else you will die in that spot. You do have 5 hits, but be careful of bigger enemies, since they can kill you with one hit.

Now, it is time to talk about the bad parts of Ninja Spirits. While I enjoy the frantic pace of the game since it keeps me moving and such, it can get a little too hectic for me in my opinion, and it feels like you have no downtime. I do enjoy that there is the harder arcade mode, but since the pc engine mode is a lot easier, I don’t see why they add the harder mode, but I guess I think the pc engine mode is hard enough on its own. I also wish they had added a bigger health bar, since bigger enemies can take your health with one hit.

Overall, I did enjoy this game, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good game. You could find it for the original console, but it’s easier to pay a few points off the Wii Virtual Console. I just wish they would make a sequel to this game, since it seems like it would be a fun franchise.

This game gets an 8.8 out 10