So...what do we have here?

Super Ninja Boy [Action/RPG Game]

Super Ninja Boy by Culture Brain

U.S Game Box Front

Ryuhi from the Hiryu No Ken games.

This Image Shows Ryuhi (Top Left Of Pic)
From Hiryu No Ken.

Your turn to receive exposure Rick!

This Image Shows Rick (Top Left Of Pic)
From Flying Warriors.

That guy in green HAD to be Wiler...

Wiler (In Green), Minmin (The Girl), And
Syoryu (Directly Above Minmin)
From Hiryu No Ken Fame.

-General Information-
Version: U.S.
Year: 1992
Publisher: Culture Brain
Developer(s) and Others: Culture Brain
# of Players: 1 or 2
# of Saves: None (Utilizes the password feature)
Estimated Market Value as of 08/19/2007: $20 - $?? (U.S. Dollars, USD)
Other Info: There are sequels to this game in Japan. The NES games are titled "Super Chinese" in Japan while the SNES games are titled "Super Chinese World". There are cameos of Rick from "Flying Warriors" (NES) and Scheherazade from "Magic of Scheherazade" (NES) in the U.S. version of the game. The Japanese version of Super Ninja Boy (Super Chinese World) has characters from the Hiryu No Ken Series such as Ryuhi, Minmin, Hayato, and Syoryu! Syoryu even mentions something about "SD Hiryu No Ken". The U.S. game has sprites for Hayato, Minmin, and Wiler, but they have no names. Gengai also appears in both games and he is a fighter in Flying Dragon (Related to Hiryu No Ken) for the N64. This game is the first Super Chinese World.

Today, we take a look at a game that is part of Culture Brain's Super Chinese World series. The "Chinese" series was fairly popular in Japan and there were numerous games released on the NES and SNES and other platforms. The odd thing about the U.S versions of the Chinese games is how Culture Brain edits them upon release to U.S territories. Culture Brain is also well known for a series known as Hiryu No Ken. We received a Hiryu No Ken game for the NES, but since it wasn't popular, Culture Brain decided to give us another Hiryu No Ken game for the NES...though they changed the characters for the game and titled it "Flying Warriors".

Since Flying Warriors was significantly more successful in the U.S than Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll (the U.S name for Hiryu No Ken), it seems that any U.S game that referenced characters from Hiryu No Ken were altered with Flying Warriors elements instead. Ultimate Fighter (SNES) was originally a Hiryu No Ken game that was changed to incorporate characters from Flying Warriors. Super Ninja Boy was no exception (read other info).

Hiryu No Ken references aside, the Japanese game has other differences such as the beginning story man (has a "P" on his head) being called Pakin (or Paquin) instead of Rub-A-Doc , the land being called Chineseland instead of Chinaland, your heroes jump up and down for a victory pose in the Japanese game...and many more. The story behind Super Ninja Boy is simple and it is actually similar to Little Ninja Brothers. Instead of bells, the general idea is to collect seven magical aura balls in order to save Chinaland from chaos. There are little events in-between, but that is the basic idea. Once again, you are dealing with a very typical scenario that revolves around the land being in chaos. Do I really need to say more?

Super Ninja Boy didn't transition perfectly onto the SNES from the NES. The overworld graphics barely get the job done for 1992. It isn't because they are horrible in any shape or fashion, but they are only a small step better than Little Ninja Brothers for the NES. The game environments are sharper and the animation of some things are a little crisper. To SNB's credit, the battle backgrounds are significantly better done (though movement is more restricted), but the colors are a little bland and the game sacrifices the smoother framerate of Little Ninja Brothers. The towns and dungeons also feel too similar to Little Ninja Brothers when the game should have tried to be a little more original. Still, it IS an early SNES title, so while the graphics should suffice, more could have possibly been done to character and environmental design that wasn't done. The music ties in with the silly storyline and the goofy characters which makes it appropriate for the theme of the game. The game uses several tunes found in Little Ninja Brothers, only they touched them up a little bit. Still, more original music would have been nice. All things considered, it is acceptable for an early SNES title.

The gameplay is similar to Little Ninja Brothers and the game is somewhat innovative in the fact that it was a multiplayer action RPG back in a time when Secret of Mana wasn't out yet. The game is longer than Little Ninja Brothers and the game offers more gameplay, the key element of every game. It is a little disappointing that the game still utilizes passwords, but not unforgivable...though battery saves have been used in games prior to Super Ninja Boy. You must use two twin brothers, Jack and Ryu, as they go across Chinaland battling various adversaries.

The game has random encounters that occur as you walk around the field. The normal battles aren't turn based and you are free to move your characters across the battlefield using fists, swords, items, magic, and more! Heck, you can even use enemies as weapons and due to these various gameplay mechanics, the game can be fun, especially with a friend. The encounter rate seems even higher than Little Ninja Brothers. Thankfully, there is magic to escape from battles when you fail the first time (if fighting is becoming too much). There are still boss fights that function like turn-based RPG battles. There are minigames such as Janken and Concentration too.

Super Ninja Boy showcases a less than stellar visual presentation that hides the fact the game is somewhat innovative and fun. The graphics don't win any awards and the sound definitely has an acquired taste, but the gameplay is noteworthy and like Little Ninja Brothers, it is somewhat ahead of its time. The game suffers from small problems with hit detection as well as knowing how much HP you have (the game uses brackets instead of numerical HP values to display your remaining life) and the game can feel boring at times due to the lackluster graphics and cookie-cutter story, but it does have its moments and it provides hours of wacky fun with a partner.

- Written by Vyse the determined -

Game Screenshots

Title Screen Dude...I sucker punched that fool. This looks so similar to Final Fantasy 2 (4 in Japan). The ninja brothers are at it again! Ninjas and space ships? Works for me. Traveling along that dusty trail...

This review has 26 extra images.

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