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.

Video Game Review: Splatterhouse (TurboGrafx-16)

Splatterhouse was one of those games I used to see in all the gaming magazines of the late ’80s. However, no one I knew had a TurboGrafx-16, so I never got to play it.

Anyway, the game was always highly touted but I think that was because of the gore factor, as video games didn’t have a lot of blood and splatter back then.

Having played it now, it was fun enough but nothing fantastic.

The TurboGrafx-16 runs and plays really smooth but I thought the controls were a bit wonky.

Also, the main character feels a bit large and chunky compared to what was the norm at the time. This feels like it’s scaled for a handheld console even though it wasn’t. Although, it probably looked good on the handheld Turbo Express.

I thought that the level design was pretty mediocre and while some of it looks cool, it’s just repetitive side scrolling fare. Plus, many obstacles were hard to avoid, especially while being overwhelmed by other enemies. Also, since this doesn’t play arcade style, where one can just continue off from where they die, it makes advancing difficult without a lot of experience.

Frankly, I don’t want to play this long enough to get that experienced.

Additionally, the boss battles I did play were confusing and disorienting. It wasn’t clear what you were supposed to do in some cases.

If I can get my hands on the sequels, I’ll check them out and give them a playthrough too. Maybe they improved on some of this game’s faults.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: the sequels in this series, as well as other TurboGrafx-16 games and arcade beat’em ups.