Video Game Review: Ninja Spirit (TurboGrafx-16)

I had completely forgotten about this game. Granted, I never played it but I remember seeing clips of the boss battles in the television commercials and it was one of those clips that really made me want to get a TurboGrafx-16 circa 1989.

I never got the system but I have it now in the form of an emulator, so I’m trying to work through all the games I missed out on. Granted, I think the vast majority of people, except rich kids, missed out on the TurboGrafx-16 system.

Ninja Spirit is fun as f’n hell! In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the arcade version of The Legend of Kage. You play as a ninja in full garb, as opposed to the kung fu looking dude from The Legend of Kage, but that just makes this more badass. It’s like if you mashed up Kage with one of the Ninja Gaiden games.

Anyway, this game is so fluid and energetic that it is lightyears ahead of what was the norm for console gaming in 1989. This kicks Nintendo and the Sega Master System in the dick!

In fact, this is better than what was average in the arcade, at the time.

My only complaint about the game is that it is really hard and when you die, you’re whisked back to a checkpoint. Unfortunately, if you die in a boss battle, you have to work your way back to the boss and then give it a go, once again.

I wish this played more like an arcade game with the ability to respawn in the same place whether through extra lives or continues. I feel like it should work this way, simply for the fact that it plays like an arcade game. And hell, maybe there is an arcade version I can try out.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: other 16-bit side scrollers of the era but primarily those released on TurboGrafx-16 a.k.a. PC Engine.

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