Enter the Ninja
Ninjas. Where would late '80s entertainment have been without them? In the wake of a string of hit movies showcasing the infamous assassins (usually portrayed by famous Japanese actors such as Franco Nero and Michael Dudikoff), the ninja craze exploded. Not only on the big screen, but in cartoons, comic books and, most notably, in the arcades.
With its mysterious eastern heritage, unique weaponry, and badass martial arts skills, becoming a ninja became the dream vocation of the schoolyard practically overnight, not dissimilar to how everyone wanted to be a fighter pilot after Tom Cruise put shades on and flashed a grin in Top Gun.
Video game developers were quick to cash in on this new fascination, producing great coin-ops such as Shinobi, Shadow Dancer, DragonNinja, Mystic Warriors and Ninja Gaiden, all starring the rooftop-running fellas. 1987 release The Ninja Warriors, by arcade veterans Taito, was one of the most popular titles of this genre. So popular, in fact, that it was remade in 1994 for the Super Nintendo as The Ninja Warriors Again, back when video game remakes weren't ten a penny.
But today, we're looking at The Ninja Warriors' second remaster. Developed by Natsume who recently polished up another 1994 release, Wild Guns The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors gives a new generation of wannabes the opportunity to dish out shuriken-assisted life-ectomies to seemingly insurmountable odds.
The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (PS4 [reviewed], Switch)Developer: Natsume/Tengo ProjectPublisher: TaitoReleased: October 15, 2019MSRP: $19.99 (Digital) $29.99 (Physical)
Set in the far off future of 1993, the world is dying under the smothering rule of a megalomaniacal U.S. President, who has declared martial law in order to hold the planet and its people in his iron grasp. With society perched on the brink of complete collapse, a small resistance outfit, led by the scientist Mulk, create a team of cyborg ninjas in a final do-or-die bid for freedom.
Equipped with expert martial arts knowledge, as well as blend of traditional and high-tech weaponry, the ninjas are programmed to take the fight to the President, defeat his army, smash his regime, and end his reign of tyranny. These high-kicking bots are humanity's last and only hope. They are The Ninja Saviors.
Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is a remake of both the 1987 arcade and 1994 SNES release, which captures the design and gameplay of the original titles, constructed within a new engine to allow for slicker and more responsive gameplay. One or two players can pick from a team of unique characters, each with their own weapons and attacks, and then make their way through seven stages of action, patrolling a 2D plane and carving up the myriad enemies and boss characters that stand between them, President Banglar, and the game's amusingly "philosophical" ending.
A tough title back in its heyday, Ninja Saviors still presents quite the challenge in 2019, with players only given one life and health pickups few and far between. Fortunately, each character is versed in a selection of unique skills, from melee attacks and grabs, to acrobatic air maneuvers and a range of specials powered by an ever-charging "battery" meter. While at first glance gameplay seems a little slow-paced, dedicated players will soon find that it's in the clever combining of these attacks that our psycho cyborgs can move quickly and efficiently around the screen, using throws, dash attacks, and even juggles to swiftly eliminate the opposition.
Where gameplay comes into its own, without a shadow of a doubt, is in two-player mode, allowing players to clear out enemies quicker, and use smart teamwork to perform extended combos, ripping up tougher baddies in double-quick time. Two brand new characters, Raiden and Yaksha, are particularly well-designed for this, and are two of the most enjoyable saviors to control, no doubt due to them being created with a modern approach to game design. It's a shame that these characters have to be unlocked, as I feel more would be gained from allowing people to hit up The Ninja Saviors' tough campaign with this pairing from the off.
It can't be denied that in single-player there is a limited longevity to The Ninja Saviors, but this particular release does place emphasis on its speedrun potential. Every stage can be revisited in isolation once defeated, with the entire campaign only recording your time should you complete the run in a single life. Thus, die-hard fans will get a kick out of replaying their favourite stages to shave off those precious seconds, but tackling the might of the game in one go proves a momentous task for sure. For the majority of players, a couple of playthroughs with a few unique characters is mostly all that is on offer here.
From an audio/visual standpoint, The Ninja Saviors delivers the delights of a bygone age with just a pinch of modernism. Great-looking sprites, fluid animation (particularly for our heroes) and detailed backgrounds recall a golden era of console gaming, and while the remixed soundtrack is great, it's fortunate that the original score (one of Taito's best and most memorable) is unlockable, as is the OST for the SNES release.
There is some missed opportunity here. Given the brand's history, it's disappointing to not have a gallery, which could have included concept images, box art and advertising from all three titles. There is also no online co-op option (local play only). Still, the extra characters, multiple OSTs, and option to change the blood to red (a legit controversy at the time) are all nice additions. At $20, Ninja Saviors also doesn't break the bank, offering a fistful of two-player retro fun, and perfect for a typical Switch commute. Though it should be noted that the similarly-themed Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle offers far more bang for your buck.
The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is a smart and slick reworking of a classic. Though 2019 sensibilities sometimes date its thin gameplay, modern characters, surprisingly varied combat, and a very welcome co-op mode breathe new life into Taito's iconic title. The Ninja Saviors is ideal for retro game speedrunners and perfect filler for lazy afternoons or long journeys. Go ninja! Go ninja! Go!
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
You are logged out. Login | Sign up
The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors reviewed by Chris Moyse
Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.How we score:The Destructoid reviews guide
- Doom Patrol Star Really, Really Wants THAT Titans Crossover | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - July 11th, 2020
- The return of Genji: How the cyborg ninja dominated the Summer Showdown - ESPN - July 11th, 2020
- Doom Patrol's Robotman Still Does One Very Human Thing - Screen Rant - July 11th, 2020
- Airbus Forms Team Nightjar to Deliver Australian Industry Capability - AviationPros.com - July 11th, 2020
- Elon Musk plans BRAIN IMPLANTS that will merge humans with AI creating cyborgs - Express.co.uk - July 11th, 2020
- After outing director Joss Whedon as unprofessional, Justice League actor Ray Fisher says he could... - Hindustan Times - July 11th, 2020
- Avengers Director Joss Whedon Will Have A Panel At Virtual SDCC - Gruntstuff - July 11th, 2020
- Artificial intelligence isn't all about the Terminator, tech sceptics are warned - Mirror Online - July 11th, 2020
- Will the Snyder Cut of Justice League be any better than Joss Whedon's original? - The Guardian - July 11th, 2020
- Justice League: 10 Interesting Behind-The-Scenes Details - Screen Rant - July 11th, 2020
- 1982: On the Mars Base, All Must Drive Nissan Stanzas - Autoweek - July 11th, 2020
- The Best CYBORG Comics DC Fans Need To Read | Screen Rant - Screen Rant - June 21st, 2020
- Cyborg Confirmed To Make His DCEU Return In The Flash - We Got This Covered - June 21st, 2020
- Justice League: Cyborg Is The Key To Defeating Darkseid - Screen Rant - June 21st, 2020
- THE FLASH Producer Seemingly Confirms That Ray Fisher's Cyborg Will Indeed Appear In The Movie - CBM (Comic Book Movie) - June 21st, 2020
- Supermans Worst Villain is Based On A MARVEL Hero - Screen Rant - June 21st, 2020
- 5 Modern Technologies That You First Saw In Movies, TV Shows - YourStory - June 21st, 2020
- 30 years ago, Star Trek's Borg canon was rewritten for the scarier - SYFY WIRE - June 21st, 2020
- DC: How A Video Game Revealed The History Of Earth-17 | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - June 21st, 2020
- This new social network for fitness will forever change your gym and activity tracking #110264 - New Kerala - June 21st, 2020
- My 11-Year-Old Came Up With a Better Government - The New York Times - June 21st, 2020
- Netflix's Eurovision movie with Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams tops this week's TV must-sees - Gananoque Reporter - June 21st, 2020
- Why Justice League's Snyder Cut Will Be On Another Level | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - June 21st, 2020
- Who is The Best UFC Fighter of All Time? - Essentially Sports - June 21st, 2020
- Ray Fisher says Cyborg story in Zack Snyder's Justice League will hit some hearts" - Flickering Myth - May 28th, 2020
- Cyborg & Deathstroke Have One MAJOR Thing in Common | Screen Rant - Screen Rant - May 28th, 2020
- Transhumanism: Meet the cyborgs and biohackers redefining beauty - CNN - May 28th, 2020
- Researchers Have Created a Cyborg Eye that Works Like the Real Thing - PetaPixel - May 28th, 2020
- Watch Cyborg Actor Ray Fisher Tear Up After the Snyder Cut Announcement - Epicstream - May 28th, 2020
- Half My Nightmares Start With This Giant Cyborg Teddy Bear Learning How to Hug - Gizmodo Australia - May 28th, 2020
- Scientists Create A Cyborg Eye Thats Almost Like The Real Thing - Ubergizmo - May 28th, 2020
- The Worst Parts of Justice League Theatrical Cut, From Supermans CGI Mouth to That Underwater Battle - TheWrap - May 28th, 2020
- What Is The Justice League Snyder Cut Explained | Screen Rant - Screen Rant - May 28th, 2020
- New biomimetic eye research could indicate the future of prosthetic, super-human eyes - Pocket-lint - May 28th, 2020
- Demos for System Shock, Destroy All Humans, and five other upcoming games popped up on GOG - Destructoid - May 28th, 2020
- Darkseid's Greatest Weapon is Nothing To Wonder Woman - Screen Rant - May 28th, 2020
- Henry Cavill will be back as Supermansomewhere - The A.V. Club - May 28th, 2020
- A New Free-To-Play Game Titled Roller Riot Has Just Been Released Full Of Cyberpunk Themed Action - Happy Gamer - May 3rd, 2020
- Cris Cyborg reflects on KO loss to Amanda Nunes: It kept flashing through my head - Bloody Elbow - May 3rd, 2020
- Aldo, Cyborg reflect on what happened after losses to McGregor, Nunes - MMA Fighting - May 3rd, 2020
- Code 404, review: As with the bungling DI John Major himself, this comedy only just about works - The Independent - May 3rd, 2020
- Titans Tomorrow: What Happened to the Teen Titans' Darkest Timeline? - CBR - Comic Book Resources - May 3rd, 2020
- Bops Only: 10 Songs You Need to Start Your Weekend Right - Papermag - May 3rd, 2020
- People Are Getting Microchipped in Sweden, and It's Pretty Normal - VICE - May 3rd, 2020
- 10 Biggest Ways The DCEU Has Changed From Original Plans - WhatCulture - May 3rd, 2020
- Bellator In The 2010s: Looking Back At The Female Divisions - The MIX - May 3rd, 2020
- He Should Do Something Other Than Thinking About Himself Cris Cyborg Hits out at Dana White - Essentially Sports - April 20th, 2020
- Cris Cyborg Reveals Superfight but Not Where You'd Expect - Heavy.com - April 20th, 2020
- Scientists create tiny devices that work like the human brain - The Independent - April 20th, 2020
- UFC In The 2010s: Looking Back At Female Featherweight Division - The MIX - April 20th, 2020
- Local gallopers set their sights on Wagga Guineas - Tumut and Adelong Times - April 20th, 2020
- Justice League 2 Is Not Coming Soon: How Much Time Will It Take?? Whats The Plot And ... - Union Journalism - April 20th, 2020
- As the Coronavirus Spreads, Conspiracy Theories Are Going Viral Too - Foreign Policy - April 20th, 2020
- Justice League TV series is in the works from JJ Abrams - RadioTimes - April 20th, 2020
- It Puts the UFC on the Same Level as NBA and NFL Ronda Rousey Defends UFC Sponsorship Deal - Essentially Sports - April 20th, 2020
- 10 Teen Titans Cosplay That Look Just Like The Comics | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - April 20th, 2020
- The Great Divide: What is the biggest dream fight fans missed out on? - MMA Fighting - March 26th, 2020
- Darkseid is Showing Thanos How You REALLY Change Reality - Screen Rant - March 26th, 2020
- 100 Fights to Watch at Home this Weekend - The Official Website of the Ultimate Fighting Championship - March 26th, 2020
- The Mandalorian casts Terminator and Aliens legend Michael Biehn as bounty hunter in Disney+ season 2 - The Irish Sun - March 26th, 2020
- Walking the Walk and Heeding the Talk for Now - The SandPaper - March 26th, 2020
- 15 Female UFC Fighters In Their Workout And Gym Gear | TheThings - TheThings - March 26th, 2020
- Super Promotions: 10 Teen Characters Who Graduated To The Avengers Or Justice League - CBR - Comic Book Resources - March 26th, 2020
- DCEU: 10 Ways The Slate Has Changed Since The Franchise Began - Screen Rant - March 26th, 2020
- Here is every UFC womens champion in the history of the promotion - FanSided - March 26th, 2020
- Meet The STAR WARS: BOUNTY HUNTERS of Marvel's New Comic - Screen Rant - March 16th, 2020
- Planet Earth Report Cyborgs Will Lead Us to an Intelligent Universe to a New Force of Nature - The Daily Galaxy --Great Discoveries Channel - March 16th, 2020
- 'War of the Worlds' Episode 5: Killer cyborgs' obsession with babies is show's biggest mystery - MEAWW - March 16th, 2020
- Scientists successfully created a cybernetic neural network - The Next Web - March 16th, 2020
- Patricio Freire's title, tourney hopes on the line at closed Bellator event - ESPN - March 16th, 2020
- Scientists Linked Artificial and Biological Neurons in a Networkand Amazingly, It Worked - Singularity Hub - March 16th, 2020
- Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 - Netflix Shares New Stills from Its CG Anime - CBR - Comic Book Resources - March 16th, 2020
- The Terminator sequel trilogies that never were - Film Stories - March 16th, 2020
- The Pac-12 in Polaroids - Rule Of Tree - March 16th, 2020
- Who Wants To Help Steve Cohen Build A Trading Cyborg? - Dealbreaker - March 8th, 2020
- Alita's got nothing on this mind-controlled robotic arm that links to your nerves - SYFY WIRE - March 8th, 2020
- 'Don Giovanni' breaks fourth wall, fuses cyborgs with Mozart classic - Indiana University The Penn Online - March 8th, 2020
- 5 Things About Nebula The MCU Changed (& 5 They Kept The Same) - CBR - Comic Book Resources - March 8th, 2020
- 8 books that inspired fashion collections - Dazed - March 8th, 2020
- Enforce Earbud-Only Zones For The Jerks Infecting The Public With Noise - The Federalist - March 8th, 2020