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Reviews for "Ninja Virus"

AMAZING. This is absolutely incredible. I can't actually believe this has been made in Flash tbh. VERY well done, my boy! Seriously! It's 2 AM

Nice game, the 8-bit stuff really brings back memories, and it kinda reminds me of Ninja Gaiden. Amazing, but I wish it was a bit faster.

This is one of those games you either love or hate: if you got into gaming during the SNES and Genesis at the latest, or at least got your start w/ 2D games around that time or earlier, this game will interest you. If you cut your teeth on games like Ninja Gaiden, Hagane, Shinobi and Strider, you will LOVE this game. OTOH, if you don't have much experience w/ 2d games, this will come off as a game of caution. And, if all you've played are stuff like COD and other games where there are bountiful "fail-safes" intact, Ninja Virus will give you absolute nightmares are rage.

Thankfully, I'm of the former.

This is a very polished game that invokes the spirit of those venerable NES classics quite well. The first thing that caught my attention was how true to them its color palette is. Like another recent game of this sort (Oniken), it makes good use of the color palette those sort of games did, including some of their limitations.

The other initial draw was the music; this is classic chiptunage at its core. The songs are never off-beat and out-of-character regarding the stages they're on, and the boss themes convey the sense of urgency very well. They also sound very clean and crisp.

That all being said, a game like this falls apart if the game mechanics and play system are shoddily built, and thankfully Ninja Virus meets the call. The level design is top-notch; every part of a level feels as though it has a purpose, to test different approaches and add alternating rhythms. Levels flow like silk and don't leave you stagnated, which is highly important in a game like this b/c nothing can kill momentum faster than that. I also enjoy that levels are methodical in nature; you can't expect to brute-force your way through (though you can try and maybe get a *little* distance covered), and you need to memorize aspects of a stage so you can take the best approach to conquering them.

The enemy variety is pretty nice. There are the standard walkers, the flying bats (easily the most annoying enemy in the game), chargers, bird-birthers (2nd most annoying), and later on tankers and their flying variety. Each enemy requires a different approach, and that becomes very apparent when there are multiple types to confront at once. This variety extends to the bosses as well; each one employs a different strategy, and may be best served w/ certain weapons over others.

Controls are very tight and precise, but that's not a surprise b/c for this sort of game that is mandatory. Your jump feels just right, forward momentum is good, you can stop about on a dime, and making tight, precise jumps is easy b/c you have just the needed amount of air control. The wall sticking and jumping mechanic also works out well; it's certainly one of the more saner implementations vs. certain other games I can think of.

I want to also give props for how you handled the weapon system, or specifically, how you punish players who needlessly try to snatch every weapon available. Like the Ghouls n' Ghosts, the game is not always out to help you, and in fact could be lying to you, so don't buy into everything it's saying. In this case, just b/c it may give you dynamite before the boss,...it may not be a good idea to pick it up ;).

Lastly, the presence of unlimited continues and the password system make the whole challenge much easier to stomach. It DOES take away some of that gritty challenge, I'll admit, but the game doesn't fall into that pseudo-"hardcore" difficulty of games like Super Meat Boy or even I Wanna Be The Guy, where there's no real penalty for dying b/c you always restart from the same point of the stage/level and have virtually unlimited continues AND lives. Ninja Virus, by comparison, has some actual penalty for dying, and continues restart you from n-1, like the way it SHOULD be. These sorts of games are best mastered through memorization and trial+error, and at least NV is friendly enough to give you unlimited continues and a password system.

That having all be said, the game does have a FEW faults, but I figure they are worth going into. The first of these is that, in its homage to Ninja Gaiden, it doesn't really have much of a story. Half of Ninja Gaiden's appeal was its cinematic story, which Ninja Virus seems to lack. It's odd, since it's Ninja Gaiden this game is most an homage to.

Another issue I have is regarding the acquiring of certain weapons. I'm not gonna harp on how some weapons are more useful than others (because some are) or the fact certain weapons are actually worst for you in a situation if you get them....I mean this specifically to certain boss fights. In order to adequately kill certain bosses-such as 2-3-, it's pretty much imperative you don't die at the start of that section. If you do, and you still have lives, the boss fight will be much tougher, almost impossible. It's actually a VERY rare instance where I'd prefer you LOSE progress in that case and start back on n-3, instead of at the boss, since you lose your weapons when you die. And, given the other alternative (keep your weapons when you die) would make the game a little TOO easier, it'd be better to just not start back at the boss.

My only other major gripe is not big in itself, but it may be a bug. Stage 4 definitely ups the difficulty, and there are times-out of sheer frustration-I'll run off the screen and die off-screen. However, the game seems to stall when this happens, and I'm forced to refresh and start everything up again. If it weren't for the password system, this would be game-breaking. It's actually kind of easy to get knocked off the screen by flying bats in that part of the stage if you're positioned a certain way; I'm not sure if you'd have the recovery time to get back on screen or not (haven't tried it yet), but either way it just doesn't seem like that feature should be there. There is no gain in that (the old loop from side-to-side programming trick a la SMB3 and some other NES games), and it could potentially cause a problem.

Other than that, I have no major problems with the game. People complaining about it being too hard obviously don't play many games of this type, b/c there are some much harder than this (Hagane is a good example) and with less stable mechanic execution (again, Hagane). You learn through memorization to get that zen-like mastering down, plain and simple. It's a much different design philosophy than what most, mainly Western-developed games, implement, and it's a philosophy I am biased in favor of. The main character isn't a god, so their limitations are welcoming. The level design is always interesting and encourages forward momentum, and even taking into consideration tackling things methodically, you won't be at a standstill for very long. Any major faults people can pick at it, are going to be due to pet peeves and preferences, b/c the game itself if well-made technically and invokes its inspirations pretty much flawlessly.

In fact, the only reason I'm not giving this a higher score, is really b/c it doesn't QUITE stand up to the best of them. That is down to comparing their overall package to this one, including what unique mechanics they may've had, and so on. You have a great foundation here; if you can just implement an original game mechanic there, make the stages longer, and keep the difficulty about the same (or make it tougher) while adding more of a narrative and characters, this could easily become a big series. I guess we'll see w/ the sequel ;)

SinclairStrange responds:

That was an awesome review! Thanks, I do plan to make a sequel and this time actually work on it fully. (This game was just a short project I did while on holiday so it's not got everything I would of included.) Glad you enjoyed it :)

Feels like a real NES game...unfortunately those games sucked. I hate playing the same level over and over!

I like the overall feel, controls are alright, but the brutal difficulty gets annoying. Yea, yea, yea, I know that's the point to pay homage to old NES games, but I don't think anybody realizes those games were just infuriatingly difficult to make games last longer given limited memory. It gets annoying to have to play the same levels over and over again, this isn't the 80s and we aren't kids anymore, give us a break