Dragon 32 Universe
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NINJA WARRIOR

Ninja Warrior might sound like an adventure game, but it's a graphics challenge that involves moving your man across a scrolling landscape while he kicks rocks and jumps over other assorted items.

Objectives

Points are what you're after as you travel as far as possible through several screens demanding increasingly difficult manoeuvres. Success at the first screen makes you a white belt, the second one a yellow belt, and so on.

In Play

Your first choice is between keyboard or joystick control, the keyboard using 'K' for Jump and 'O' for Kick. The joystick fire button causes your warrior to jump in Donkey Kong fashion, and moving the stick forward makes him kick out at whatever's in his way. You state the number of players, from one to six.

Judging by the graphics, if I didn't know the program was in machine code I would have put money on it being a Basic program - the movements were rather jerky in places and the animation of a fairly simple matchstick standard.

The first stage offers you a series of rocks to kick. You can jump as well but it's possible to leap only a single rock and here they're mostly in groups of three or four.

Become a white belt and you move to yellow-belt level, which involves more rocks, but now with occasional gaps in the ground and fireballs too to leap over. This is where the game gets tricky, with rocks and fireballs placed so close together at times that it seemed impossible to deal with them, though maybe I lack agility.

I did get through eventually, and moved on to second-level yellow belt. Subsequent stages obviously add more hazards for you to deal with... falling fireballs and arrows, to either kick or catch.

One nuisance is having to go right back to the beginning every time you fail, though thankfully not each time you lose one of your three lives, with bonus lives coming at 10,000 points.

The sound effects are the best part of the program, beginning with a door creaking open as the title page shimmers onto the screen, and a rather effective rock-smashing explosion.

Verdict

A disappointing game, and hardly recommended. "A totally awesome experience in arcade action"? Perhaps a few years ago, yes - but have you visited the arcades lately, Programmers Guild?