Ninjas are awesome aren't they? Well, I for one think they are and it's strange that I'd be talking about this game. The series that was once often dubbed as "Ninja" or "Ninja Kun/Ninja-kun", was another game I experienced long ago through the multi-cart, 52 Games (aka Supervision 52). It was back on the old NES that I played a Japanese game with a strange super-deformed ninja who climbed mountains to grab mystical orbs and cash while fighting a tyrant and his baddies in order to save a princess. They were neat little diversions and pretty typical of early NES games of the time. In June 16th of 2007, I decided to pitch in some cash to expand me and my brother's import library but it wasn't until today that I decided to talk about it. This game has a few familiar faces from the NES Ninja games that I've grown to love, but transformed into glorious 16-bit and is now a full blown action game with side-scrolling levels, numerous powerups and more. How does the game fare on the mighty SNES?
Super Ninja Kun has a very simple story. Apparently, you play the role of Ninja-kun who must once again save a kimono-wearing princess from evil. "Momoko Hime" (or Princess Momoko) is just tending to her everyday duties when she is abducted by the wicked Skull Priest to cavort with him and his silly minions. However, just because he's a lovestruck toady, that doesn't give him the right to go snatching up princesses! So...you know whatcha gotta do, now all that's left to do is to do it. Ninja-kun has been kicking butt and taking names since the early/mid eighties, so it's no surprise that Jaleco would summon him into the world of videogames for the Super Famicom!
Super Ninja Kun is a colorful little romp, though it isn't anything all that remarkable as far as the presentation. It's pretty standard overall with a neat effect here and there, but it isn't anything out of the ordinary, especially for 1994. All the characters from the Ninja-kun series old and new have made the jump well. I recognized the thunder god and staple ninjas with their wacky shades instantly and the characters are all easy on the eyes and distinguishable from each other. A few of the bosses actually animate nicely and have nice intros. I also like the little intermissions between stages where Ninja-kun does numerous cool and playful antics to amuse me. My only complaint with the presentation is that some of the events are a little cheesy, but the attempt at portraying a story visually rather than with lots of text is admirable yet admittedly harder to accomplish successfully.
The audio for this game has an acquired taste so to speak. It isn't particularly unsatisfactory, but it needed a little more variety and the boss theme is disappointing due to how redundant it is. It isn't so bad as to hamper you from playing the game, but you should go to the options menu and select the second option...otherwise, the game plays this one lame tune for practically the entire game! If you select the second option, the game plays more music, though it still leaves a little to be desired. I don't even know why Jaleco did this.
The gameplay has improved over the years, though it keeps a few of the elements it had from older Ninja-kun games. As a ninja, you have the ability to run at high speeds, roll across the ground, scale walls, toss dazed foes, throw shurikens and gain new powers as you progress through the game. You even have access to magical ninpo by grabbing the souls of defeated enemies and can do certain antics from the very first Ninja-kun game such as bump into foes and jump on their heads to make them dizzy. Unlike the old Ninja-kun games however, you won't be dying in one hit anymore. As you progress through the stages, you can grab heart containers to increase your maximum life, though it reverts back to normal at the end of a stage. You'll be traversing rocky mountain cliffs, Airships, Factories, Icy Vistas and more and Super Ninja Kun has eight short stages to offer.
Super Ninja Kun isn't nearly the best action game on the SNES and it's a very easy game, but it's a decent game overall and takes me back a few years to when I was just another Junior High School kid with a rowdy gang of friends and a battered old NES that I played in my spare time. If the price is right and you feel like you MUST have another SNES action game, don't forget that Super Ninja Kun is available...because ninjas are awesome and this is a game kids could actually get into. Viva la Ninja!- Written by Bel Cain the Eternal -