Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
In this oriental version of Commando you get to play Kazamaru (a loony Ninja) on a kami-kaze princess-rescuing mission. The poor girl has been thrown in the basement of Ohkami castle by the evil overlord Gyokuro.
Kazamaru has set himself the task of pegging it all the way across the land of Ohkami, through hundreds of Gyokuro's Ninjutsu infidels, infiltrating the castle, bumping off Gyokuro 'imself and making off with the girlie. Good plan Kaz - you nutter...
This Ninja isn't exactly defenceless, since he has the normal line in Ninjutsu gimmickry, such unlimited throwing stars and a smart invisibility spell. Hit both buttons and Kazzy disappears for a second or two, during which time he's invincible. Dead useful - and it doesn't run out! Along the way, Ninja airhead has to collect secret scrolls. Red scrolls give him smart-bomb Ninja capabilities; Blue Scrolls let Kazamaru run faster; and five Greens Scrolls must be collected before entering the dungeons and attempting to free the princess.
The land of Ohkami is split into 13 locations (OK, levels) each of which offers a variety of oriental enemies to be defeated plus some unusual challenges, like a mid-river battle on floating logs! Kill the final big baddie - Ninniku, aka 'Garlic' (weird or what?) - in each area and mad Kaz can tromp off and get attacked in the next stage.
Teenage mutant ninja wolf attack - run away!
Kaz blows some dudes away and then legs it!
This vertically (and diagonally) scrolling trudge along 'n' shoot 'em up is pretty hip - the graphics are neat and the gameplay gets well tricky toward the end. Control of your Ninja is a bit tight, and you would do well to get a good joystick for the diagonals. It's not mission impossible exactly, but you'll still have to battle long and hard to rescue the princess.
During play a series of bouncy soundtracks jolly things along, although some of the sound effects are a bit feeble. The visuals are also pretty standard fare, with one or two exceptional locations. The enemy characters could have been better animated (or even animated full stop) but, let's face it, you're not going to hang around long enough to worry about it.
There's loads of variety between stages, in piccies, enemies and just what you have to do to survive; only the garlic-breath Boss-men spoilt it by staying the same throughout. If you fancy a bit of oriental violence and like a challenge, try lashing out on The Ninja!
Tricky, Commando-style action game with plenty of heat. Good stuff!