THE LAST NINJA
Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Adventure
Author : Peter Scott
Standalone Release(s) : 1987: THE LAST NINJA, Superior/Acornsoft, £9.95
1990: THE LAST NINJA, Superior/Blue Ribbon, £2.99
Compilation Release(s) : 1990: PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 12, Superior/Acornsoft, £9.95
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : SUPERIOR/ACORNSOFT, 3 Manor Drive, Scawby, Brigg, NORTH
LINCOLNSHIRE DN20 9AX
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00
"The secrets of the Ninjitsu way had been jealously guarded for centuries, only once every decade were the scrolls seen at the ritual of the White Ninja.
None coveted these secrets more than the evil Shogun. Seizing the opportunity of the ritual he sprang a fiendish trap that destroyed the brotherhood, except for one...You, The Last Ninja.
Your sworn oath is to recover the scrolls, you travel to the mystical lands of the Shogun. Already his guards are mastering the ways of the Ninjitsu.
To reach the Shogun's Palace you must use all your weapon craft and fighting skills as you travel through dangerous wastelands, magnificent gardens then descend into the direst dungeons before the final confrontation . . . You cannot fail. You are The Last Ninja."
After two hundred years of Fujiwara Clan rule, whose lifestyle was the most extravagant of any Shogunate, the farmers and common men decided to leave their homes and travel to the Togakure mountains where they established the Ninjutsu, The Mystic Shadow Warriors.
Four centuries later the Ninjutsu had become the most feared warriors of their day, feared by even the most powerful Samurai. Their mastery of weapon-craft and mind-control, from the years of arduous training that forged mind and body into a death-dealing machine, ensured swift and complete victory over their enemies.
Kunitoki, the evil Shogun of the Ashikaga Clan, had long envied the powers of the Ninja brotherhood and would do anything to acquire their knowledge. To this end he has sworn an oath to their total destruction.
Once every decade all Ninjutsu must travel to the Island of Lin Fen where they pay homage to the shrine of the White Ninja and recieve further teaching from the Koga Scrolls.
Seizing the opportunity Kunitoki summonned forth all the spirits from the depths of the Nether World and flung their full force against the amassed Ninjutsu. None escaped the wrath of Kunitoki.
Nothing stood in the way of the Shogun achieving his ultimate goal, the knowledge of the Ninja.
He set sail for the island of Lin Fen with an elite force of his Palace Guards and Samurai Officers to begin the arduous training of his troops and thereby creating a new era of Ninja under his control.
Unknown to Kunitoki, Armakuni, the last Ninja, had escaped his wrath. When all his brethren had left for the pilgrimage he had been ordered to stay and guard the Bunkinkan Shrine. This tradition had existed since gthe dawn of the Ninja as a safeguard should any natural disaster befall the brotherhood when it amassed at Lin Fen.
Armakuni was not pleased he had been left alone for he was to be granted the next level of honour at the reading of the Scrolls; now he would have to wait.
Word soon reached Armakuni of the unnatural disaster that had slain his brothers and gathering all his courage he swore to wreak a terrible and bloody revenge on the Shogun and all his followers.
The island of Lin Fen is a natural fortress with unassailable cliffs surrounding its coast. Having visited the island when he was a young acolyte, he knew the secret passage that would lead him to the Palace of Lin Fen.
Armakuni's confidence was short lived as he discovered the pathways were not as he remembered them; what unforeseen hazards lay in wait for him?
Locations On Fen Island
1. WILDERNESS Many weapons and objects were left scattered around this level.
2. WASTELANDS Dominated by the Lin Fen mountain range
3. PALACE GARDENS Hazardous with many ferocious guards
4. DUNGEONS A place of nightmares...difficult to get out.
5. PALACE, LOW LEVEL Getting into the palace is the first problem, a small problem compared to what comes later...
6. PALACE, THE INNER SANCTUM Great sights in the Shogun's private rooms. Close to the final goal, although it is hidden from sight.
WEAPONS - Numchukas, Shuriken Star, Smoke Bomb, Stick, Sword
OBJECTS - Apple, Blood, Bottle, Claw, Glove, Gun, Key, Rope, Rose, Scrolls, Talisman.
The Status Area
The status area of the screen is broken into sections. The ENEMY WOUNDS display shows how effectively you are combating your opponents. The USING display tells you the current weapon you are using. The HOLDING display tells you which object you are holding. When you visit a shrine or drink from a fountain of knowledge, the items you are told to collect will be shown under the heading FIND below the HOLDING display. In the bottom section of the status area is your overall POWER reserve.
Next to that, the weapons you have available are shown: larger sprites are used to show the weapons in this section, and in the HOLDING display, than are used in the game area.
You begin play with three lives. If you manage to find an apple this will give you an extra life. If you start the second level with only one life then you will recieve another immediately. You also have the added opportunity of trying to find another apple. You will not automatically recieve any further lives in the later levels but there will be apples to be found giving you one extra life each.
Below are some basic hints and tips that will help you on your quest through the realm of the Last Ninja. Remember, as with all great adventures, things may not be what they seem and we have not given away too much.
The following points apply to all the different locations. It is important to make a detailed map of each level. This is essential because of the structure of the mazes and also to keep a record of where you'll find useful objects.
Finding weapons and objects is essential to your success. You will be told to collect many of the items when you visit a shrine or drink from a fountain of knowledge. When you are told to collect an item, it is usually to be found on the following screen.
To collect an object or weapon, search by crouching down and trying to pick it up. Once collected the object can be used at the appropriate time and place.
Most locations have a major hazard to prevent you continuing your quest and these are usually near the end of the level. Sometimes there may even be more than one.
It is important that you search screens thoroughly as there may be objects lying around that you haven't been told to collect, e.g. on top of rocks, etc.
In order to overcome certain hazards you will have to use Ninja Magic. This takes various forms, some of which you cannot see as they are hidden behind trees, rocks, in containers like boiling pots or they might literally be right under foot. This magic is picked up in the same way as any other object but nothing will be displayed in the Status Area. Instead, Ninja may display certain peculiarities but these are only short lived.
Finally, all the guards you will encounter are out to kill you and they will use lots of different weapons. There is nothing to stop you using any weapon in your arsenal against any guard but your effectiveness is increased if you use the same weapon as your opponent.
Z - Up-Left, ? - Down-Left, * - Up-Right, X - Down-Right
J - Small Jump, K - Medium Jump, L - Large jump
When not holding a weapon:
<RETURN> & Z - Pick Up, Crouch & Block, <RETURN> & ? - Kick
<RETURN> & * - Punch, <RETURN> & X - Pick Up, Crouch & Block
When using a sword, numchukas or stick:
<RETURN> & Z - Hit or Stab Across, <RETURN> & ? - Hit or Stab Down
<RETURN> & * - Hit or Stab Up, <RETURN> & X - Hit or Stab Across
When using a Shuriken Star (or holding a throwable object):
<RETURN> & Z - Throw Left, <RETURN> & X - Throw Right
Note : You can keep the <RETURN> key depressed all the time in combat.
P - Pick Up, Crouch & Block, <SPACE> - Select Weapon, H - Hold Object
<COPY>/<DELETE> - Pause On/Off, S/Q - Sound On/Off, <SHIFT><ESCAPE> - Quit Game
Instructions' Source : THE LAST NINJA (Superior/Acornsoft) Back And Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Cut Above The Average"
THE LAST NINJA is a sort of jealousy, power and revenge - of good versus evil and one man's struggle against overwhelming odds. Oh yes, I almost forgot, it is easily the best martial arts-cum-adventure game on the market.
For many years the evil Shogun has envied the closely guarded skills and secrets of the Ninja. Executing a dastardly plot he slaughtered the Ninja community on its once-a-decade visit to the sacred island of Lin Fen.
Unbeknown to the Shogun, a solitary Ninja - Armakuni - had been left behind to guard the shrine, feed the cat and perform other such tasks. Now he has sworn to avenge the deaths of his comrades and re-build the Ninja empire.
You play Armakuni as he begins his assault on the island of Lin Fen. There are sixteen separate locations on the island and you must kill every guard and collect all available objects on each level before advancing to the next.
Control is achieved using the keyboard only - this may sound restrictive for a martial arts game, but it works well in practice. In addition to the direction keys there are also three separate jump buttons - each providing increasing distance. As if to demonstrate his supreme athleticism, Armakuni insists upon performing a forward somersault when prompted to jump.
Level one is set in the wilderness, a barren wasteland of rocks, bushes and thoughtfully provided paths for you to walk on, but it is patrolled by the Shogun's warriors. Inexperienced in the way of the Ninja, they do not yet possess your skills, but they are still capable of giving you a good thumping if you become careless.
Initially unarmed, you must pummel your opponents using only fists and feet. Things become a little easier as you round the first corner and find an abandoned sword - the first of five weapons available to you on level one. By pressing the spacebar, you can quickly switch between any of the weapons currently in your possession. The instructions advise you to use the same weapon as your opponent, but I found the sword to be effective against most adversaries.
Unlike many games, you are not restricted to travelling in one direction, but are free to wander where you wish within the confines of the location. Another very welcome feature is the way the guards stay dead after you have dealt with them - there is nothing worse than returning to a location and having to fight the same guard that you killed five minutes earlier.
Once you have mastered the human opponents, why not try your hand with the flaming dragon that guards the exit to level two?
THE LAST NINJA is quite a departure from Peter Scott's traditional style - the prolific author of countless cute platform games has really come up with the goods this time. Ninja is fast, furious and totally addictive.
* * * Second Opinion * * * (Electron User)
From the title and packaging I expected this to be just another ordinary martial arts beat-'em-up game. However, although it does have a fair proportion of combat, there is also an adventure element in that you have to explore your surroundings and discover weapons to take on the enemies. I like it, and can thoroughly recommend it.
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 9
ELECTRON USER 6. 6