The original arcade release of The Ninja Warriors by Taito was impressive because it made proper use of multiple monitors in a cabinet, similar to its Darius games. However, the game itself was a little on the slow side, as there wasn’t much you could do offensively. That said, not many games let you play as a robot ninja, so it was good for its time.
Then there was the 90’s “reboot” for the SNES, which pumped things up a bit. With a new combat style and the addition of a new character (along with a beefed up male robot and the sleek female robot), it was way better I believe. Plus, the boss battles were something else.
Well, after the former arrived on the Nintendo Switch over the summer (thanks to Arcade Archives), the latter has finally arrived in the form of The Ninja Saviors — Return of the Warriors. I’m not exactly sure why a name change was needed, but the game is just as kick-butt as ever, with the benefit of additional soundtracks and two bonus characters, each with their own special techniques.
The game has your robot warrior attempting to overthrow a corrupt official that’s got the law in the palm of his hands. So you’ll need to fight both human and droid enemies alike, along with a few bosses, to finish him off and save what’s left of your world. Easier said than done, but, again, that’s what a robot ninja is for, right?
What makes Ninja Saviors stand out the most is its gameplay. While it’s definitely on the challenging side (and with a first boss battle that’s likely to make you gnash your teeth), it’s highly responsive, with a number of great moves per character. Plus there’s some super-charged stuff you can unleash, from a full-blown blast across the screen to a special technique or two. It depends how full your power meter is.
The game also benefits from two-player co-op. Sadly, it’s local only (no online), but it’s a great time with friends, and it makes the game a little bit easier. There are also other options to play around with, such as being able to change the blood color to red (it starts with green, because robots…bleed green?) and listening to an older soundtrack.
That said, the new options are pretty nifty. The graphics resemble the classic SNES game, but with a few enhancements, like scrolling backgrounds and a little animation refinement. It’s never looked better, and on both the TV and handheld modes, it looks spectacular. The soundtracks are awesome as well, with both the old remix and a new set-up, both of which deserve a listen. You can switch however you please.
Aside from the two extra characters (who aren’t bad, but I prefer the default heroes), there’s not too much to unlock within Ninja Saviors. But when it comes to old-school excitement and feeling like a complete bad-ass, it simply can’t be beat. And, hey, it’s always great to pay tribute to Taito’s retro games. The more love we give them, the more likely we’ll get new games from them. We are getting a Bubble Bobble sequel soon; and there’s also the possibility of Elevator Action Returns to consider. (One can dream.)
So if classic gaming is your thing, or you just feel like carving through a ninja robot challenge, step on up and choose your Savior. Or Warrior. (I’ll call them what I wish.)
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