Gameplay: Beat 'em up / brawler
Narrative: Martial arts
Published by: Eidos
Developed by: Core Design Ltd.
Platform: PlayStation (PSX, PS1)
The game combines the most piquant elements of three classic arcade games: Double Dragon (attack up to 6 opponents at once), Rygar (magic), and Ghost & Goblins (knife throwing and environment collapse). The result was some kind of bloody flicker. You will begin your odyssey in the guise of Kurosawa - you will try to save your homeland from a motley gathering of demons and obsessed natives in the forest, where half a dozen peasants survived, who for some reason are not too happy about your appearance. The plot of the game is simple: clear the area of the enemy force with the help of fists and everything you find in ancient chests scattered everywhere, and move to the next level. Take care of weapons - they are in short supply, if you lose, you will not find a new one soon. The more cunning player will soon find out that most targets can be hit from a distance with a knife, but don't rejoice - in more difficult levels, the knife will not even leave a scratch on the polished armor of the villain. The game successfully balances the ability to hit the enemy from a distance and in hand-to-hand combat, we should not forget the magical "hellish machine" that can clear a large area at once, and smoke bombs to mislead the enemy. If it suddenly seems to you that Kurosawa is about to collapse from wounds and exhaustion, look into the magic scrolls - they will allow you not only to return your heroic strength, but also to improve your magical powers.
It must be admitted that the graphics in Ninja: Shadow Of Darkness are not bad and slow down only at the maximum screen loads. Solid and speed - 30 frames per second. The perspective “from above and behind” most successfully reveals the situation. Sometimes your fighter disappears behind some kind of obstacle, but a dynamic camera helps out, allowing you to find him in a matter of seconds. 13 levels are created according to the principle “from simple to complex”. You have to visit forests and castles, martial arts schools and dungeons, and traps will meet everywhere along the way. The main enemies (in the middle and at the end of each level) are well drawn, but not too dangerous, especially since your magic will allow you to drain energy from them. In short, Ninja has everything that makes an arcade an arcade: special effects, superb controls, and hordes of potential victims.
- In combat, use the jump button. You will be harder to hit, and you will also be able to attack when you are in the air; most of your enemies can't.
- Use steep slopes. When an enemy is behind a slope or river, try to push him off the edge to kill him quickly.
- When your ninja is close to death, check if you have any magic left, because if you die, you will lose it.
- Always use shurikens to keep the enemy at bay. Repeated hits are a guarantee that enemies will not have a chance to harm you. This works best in fights with unarmed enemies.
- During the game, you will notice small groups of flashes appearing in random places. If you throw a shuriken in the direction of the flares, you will be rewarded with money or whatever you need...
- Chests don't always contain the same items they used to contain, so you never know if it's a trap or not.
- Always jump back when opening chests.
- A ninja can stealthily sneak up on an enemy and finish them off completely unexpectedly, like a professional terrorist, and even worse! This technique is called Stealth and is especially good against level bosses. You will laugh when their powerful attacks shake the air! After all, the ninja becomes invisible, and the bosses have no choice but to fight the shadows!
- The mythical Ninja Kurosawa is not at all simple, by no means - he has magical abilities. And he can develop them to an amazing level, especially if he finds the Sacred Scrolls (Sacred Scrolls), and they are scattered in various parts of the Magic map. They are very good against clusters of enemies, but will also work well against mighty level bosses.
- It is clear that it is best to finish off the enemy from a distance (and safer). Kurosawa masters the art of throwing various blades (Shuriken) to perfection, and there are all kinds of blades, knives and swords, well, just unmeasured! Such attacks are especially good against unprotected opponents (without armor), and they can be made even more powerful with the help of Holy Scrolls!
- When various weapon attacks fail, Kurosawa reverts to the techniques of the ancient ninja hand-to-hand art. An attack like Bujutsu is very powerful and can be further enhanced with Sacred Scrolls,
- A very important element of the Ninja martial art is jumping, so use the "Jump" button more often. So you can elude the superior forces of the enemy. But after all, the Ninja can kick and punch in the air, and most of his enemies cannot. It's a sin not to use it. During fights with enemies, use throwing weapons - Shuriken (Shuriken), it's safer, and Kurosawa will keep his fists intact.
- In hand-to-hand combat, try to push the enemy to the shore or a steep slope. Then with a powerful attack you can drop it, and there the grave is already ready.
- Kurosawa owns fire magic, and when numerous enemies surround the Ninja, then it's time to remember this ability. Since swords and knives are ineffective in such a situation, you will have to fry them whole, uncut.
- When the Ninja is on his last legs, and this can also happen, use all available resources to keep him in this world. After all, if he dies, then all the equipment and magical abilities obtained will be lost forever, so there is no need to save them at such moments.
Kurasawa has the ability to use magical energy. This energy is replenished when you collect sacred scrolls, which are hidden in many levels. It's best to cast magic on large groups of enemies rather than single enemies. Useful to store magic for strong end level bosses.
In the European version of the game, shurikens were replaced with small daggers. When you throw them at enemies, they don't come very close to you; it's not that effective on large groups of enemies, but it's a significant help nonetheless. These items can be replenished when you use Holy Scrolls.
Sometimes during the game you have to resort to hand-to-hand combat. Kurosawa wields many different strikes, but the best tactic is to press back on the attack button as much as possible. Stronger weapons such as a sword or other deadly blades are given to you as you progress through the game. Every weapon can be refilled, including your fists, when you use sacred scrolls.
Hand-to-hand combat is the most commonly used form of combat for Kurosawa. He owns several combinations of techniques. Punching is carried out by pressing the square button again. On the third press, he delivers a powerful uppercut, which, as a rule, lays down almost any enemy. In addition, for greater effect, he can use his legs. Similar to punching, pressing the round button again triggers a combination of kicks that culminates in a powerful kick to the head. In addition, he can perform a light kick that knocks Kurosawa back while attacking. It can be useful when you're trying to put some distance between you and an enemy while still attacking them. For more variety, you can of course use combinations of the two types. Try to mix attacks with jumps to make it harder for the enemy to reach you. When you are well equipped, it can be very effective.
- Sword - At various points in the game, Kurosawa will walk past chests with new weapons, one of which is the trusty sword. Most enemies can be hacked to pieces with a few blows from this steel blade. In addition, it can be strengthened with the help of scrolls, increasing damage to some extent. The only downside to any weapon is that if you die, you lose it until you find another one. When empowered with a scroll, hold down the attack button until it turns blue, then release to attack. This will entail a shock wave and a stream of powerful blue bolts.
- Sai - These small blades are much more deadly than they might seem at first glance. They can be used for quick combat with any enemy. When empowered and charged, they release a shockwave that knocks most enemies back a short distance.
- Staff - spear - Used in many ways, as well as other weapons; pressing the attack button again triggers a series of attacks on the enemy. By itself, this weapon is quite weak, but when it is strengthened and charged, Kurosawa rushes into the attack and takes out everyone with this spear. It may not be as flexible as some of the other blades, but it can be very effective for tight situations and end-of-level bosses.