Saturday, April 10, 2010
Virtual Console Review - Ninja Commando (Neo-Geo)
Ninja Commando - ADK for Neo-Geo - 4/10
After playing through so many Neo-Geo games, it's pretty obvious to me that ADK was a second-tier developer. Their games were nearly always duller, weaker, and slower than any of SNK's own titles. They really were only good for one good video game, and that was Twinkle Star Sprites. Everything else should be dumped into the generic leftover bins where they belong.
Ninja Commando is yet another example of this sad fact. Here is an overhead run-and-gun game similar to Commando, Ikari Warriors, Heavy Barrel, and numerous other arcade games of the 1980s. Heck, Rambo shoot-em-ups was SNKs specialty back then. Ikari Warriors, Iron, Tank, Guerrilla War - those were classics, especially on the NES.
Ninja Commando wants to be Ikari Warriors, but it fails miserably for one key reason - you can't turn your fighter. Yes, kids, that's right, you cannot turn and shoot in any other direction than up. This goes against literally every other game in the genre, on every console and home computer ever built. Every other game lets you shoot to the side, or shoot at an angle, because you're pretty much being hit by all sides. Not so here. Ninja Commando only allows firing forward.
What a sick joke. Why would I dump quarters into this when I have so many better alternatives? There's a reason why this game became obscure so quickly. It sucks.
Being more charitable, I can appreciate the three different ninja characters, who have their own personality. I might also appreciate the idea of time traveling and blowing stuff up all throughout history. It would have helped if ADK offered level designs that were less cramped and a little more open. Also would have helped if the weapons were more wisely designed. The strength of your shots is determined purely by how quickly you mash the buttons. How's that for a cheap gimmick? Good luck with that gamepad.
Whatever. I really don't care. This game is substandard, looks flat and dull, is far too slow, and have I mentioned that you can't turn and shoot? Yes, there is a move where you can throw ninja stars while doing flips, but it's extremely slow and weak - it doesn't effing work. Did anybody playtest this game?
Oh, and that part about the characters having a personality? I was only trying to be nice. The truth is, they're dorks. I mean, look at 'em. Didn't the flat-top go out of style, like, 50 years ago? Did the employees at ADK all wear flat-tops? That would explain a lot.