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Article #14 (79 is last):
From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Ninja Gaiden
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Reply-To: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Date: Fri Aug  2 10:27:42 1991

  Well, Atari said "NINJA GAIDEN in July, and the Lynx II in August", and
they weren't kidding -- July 31st and August 1st, respectively. How about
a two-fisted review?

1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp. for the Atari Lynx

  Adapted from the arcade game (and not the Nintendo adventure series),
NINJA GAIDEN represents the second Tecmo arcade conversion for the Atari
Lynx. The storyline is irrelevant; you play a lone ninja, who must defeat
all of the assorted criminals and villians in a scrolling city landscape.
Your only weapons are your fists, feet, and the occassional sword, while
the villians have more weapons and much more numbers.

  As the landscape scrolls by, you can walk and jump all over the terrain.
Enemies will come from offscreen, and you must fight them to the death.
Several attacks are possible, such as swinging from overhanging poles,
backwards jumps over walls, and flipping the opposition. Some obstacles
along the way can be broken, by throwing someone into it, and will often
reveal benefits such as extra health, lives, or a sword. For extra
pressure, you must finish each level before an on-screen clock runs down.

  The biggest gripe against Tecmo's earlier Lynx title, RYGAR, was that it
was a scaled-down version of the arcade original. Sadly, NINJA GAIDEN
offers no improvement at all, and some would call its curtailing even
worse. Only about half of the different types of villians are present,
though there is some variety to their attacks. The game makes up for this
deficency by bringing out even more enemies than the arcade version did.
The challenge thus comes in simply surviving a swarming attack, rather than
reacting to a wide variety of opponents.

  NINJA GAIDEN is challenging, though not exceedingly so. You start the
game with four lives, and each life can take up to five blows before
dying. When you finally die, you may continue the game up to two times with
a score of zero. The biggest problem, though, is that the game is too
short; only four levels from the arcade original are present, which will
not be enough for many action fans.

  The highest point of NINJA GAIDEN comes in the game graphics. Though
they are only about average for a Lynx game (reminescent of RAMPAGE to a
degree), the visuals are almost a direct lift from the arcade version. The
smooth animation and distinctive appearances are translated intact. Game
sounds are limited to the thuds and crashes of combat, though that is a
fault of the original game instead. A background soundtrack adds a little
spice to the action.

  NINJA GAIDEN is not a bad game; it's just not a good game, either. More
sophisticated games have been done before on the Lynx, which makes this all
the more depressing. However, it is not a total pushover, which saves it
to a degree. For the arcade purist, NINJA GAIDEN is a dissappointment, but
for the Lynx player looking for an action game, it's worth a try.

                GAMEPLAY:        7
                GRAPHICS:        8
                SOUND:           7
                OVERALL:         7

          Rating values  10 - 8   Great! A value at the regular price.
                          7 - 5   Good. Buy if you're interested
                                     or if it's discounted.
                          4 - 2   Poor. For die-hards only.
                              1   Ick. Shoot it, please.


  Is there something with Tecmo games that make them incompatable with the
Lynx? Perhaps future Tecmo adaptations should be done by more capable Lynx
programmers with proven track records...


Send whatevers to | If it has pixels, I'm for it.
--------------------------------------+----------------------------Lynx me up!
       "If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn't move, shoot it anyway."

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