Ninja Master

by Tron Software
Firebird Software Ltd
Sinclair User Issue 53, Aug 1986   page(s) 46,47


Rock bottom - £1.99. It seems there is a simple rule governing software pricing policy - if it doesn't cost £9.99 then it must cost £1.99. Now this is jolly simple for software distributors and retailers who find the fact that most software is one of two possible prices easy on their accountant's brains but it means this: software which costs £9.99 is either really fab or involves a licencing deal so expensive that the software firm needs the margins.

Software which costs £1.99 is... well... rapidly becoming almost everything else. From the titles reviewed here it's clear that £1.99 will buy you some of the most awful and some of the most awesome programs ever devised...

Label: Firebird
Author: Tron
Price: £1.99
Joystick: Various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

Sounds like a martial arts game doesn't it? it is, but not in the way you probably think. Ninja Master is not a two-player, bash the brains out, oriental kick and punch, like Sai Combat as the screen shots on the insert make clear. In this game you are the lone ninja. The game is no more than four reaction tests.

Graphics are very simple indeed, flat single-colour backgrounds depicting such anachronistic settings as a sports arena (complete with ads for Coca-Cola and Sinclair) and the Egyptian desert, complete with small pyramid and bizarre looking sphinx.

The ninja himself is not badly designed but hopelessly animated. In the first section, where he has to kick or punch away a series of arrows coming from different directions at different speeds, his arms and legs shoot off at right-angles from the rest of his torso as though independently motivated. Slick it isn't.

The real problem with the game, however, is that it is very easy. On my first attempt I scored sufficiently highly to pass through three of the four levels. Level One is arrow bashing; Two is a sort of mini Track and Field, except that you stab at alternative keys to build up enough power to smash through a log; Level Three is 'probably the hardest level' and has you smashing ninja stars with your sword. Level 4 is just like a duck shoot, your ninja tries to shoot down tossed cannisters with a blow pipe. Whatever minimal challenge there is to the game wears very thin, very quickly.

Ninja Master really cannot be recommended on any level, the presentation of the package may make a lot of people think they are getting some sort of Exploding Fist variant. They may feel cheated.

Overall: 1/5

Summary: Poor quality game of reactions rather than of Exploding Fist type game it first seems. Avoid.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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