On Tuesay we discussed the first game for our event, Ninja Spirit, a shuriken-throwing, kill-your-face side-scroller. Today we will be discussing The Last Ninja, a game of exploration and puzzle solving (and sometimes combat) that was originally released on the Commodore 64 in 1987.
I don’t know if I can do justice in describing the story in paraphrase-form, so I will let Nintendo do it for me:
The evil shogun Kunitoki has 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 ninja must travel to the island of Lin Fen where they pay homage to the Shrine of the White Ninja and receive further teachings from the Koga Scrolls. Seizing the opportunity, Kunitoki summoned forth all the spirits from the depths of the netherworld and flung their full force against the amassed ninja. None escaped the wrath of Kunitoki. Word soon reached Armakuni, the last ninja, of the unnatural disaster that had slain his brothers, and gathering all his courage, he swore to wreak a terrible revenge on the shogun and all his followers. What unforeseen hazards lay in wait for him?
This idea of revenge seems to be a great starting point for ninja games.
Gameplay in The Last Ninja revolves around exploration and ninjaing terrain to the best of your ability while you scowl thinking about killing Kunitoki for being such a dick. That sentence was a mouthful. Like most ninja games, you get an assortment of super awesome ninja weapons that in real life really aren’t that useful. Here are you able to use sword, nunchaku, staff, shuriken and smoke bombs, the stables of ninjadom, to defeat your foes in a most devastatingly awesome way.
There are up to and including six (6) whole areas for our intrepid last ninja to explore: The Wastelands, The Wilderness, The Palace Gardens, The Dungeons, The Palace, The Inner Sanctum. My guess is that the Inner Sanctum is the final level; THAT’S JUST A HUNCH, THOUGH.
It turns out that The Last Ninja is the highest selling Commodore 64 game ever with 750,000 units sold of the original version. If you count all of the versions together – it was released on pc/mac/other things back in the day – the total comes out to 2,000,000 units. Using sales figures alone, we know that this game is going to be awesome; I mean look at The Sims…