Tag Archives: ninja cop you’re off the case

FGC #546 Jet Set Radio

Let's skateAre all videogames naturally authoritarian?

To begin, let us consider the concept of authority. Most of us encounter authority first through parents, who are generally adverse to a child’s natural predisposition to licking delicious wall outlets. From there, childhood is a virtual gauntlet of different authority figures. And some of those so-called “authorities” can’t even get their act together long enough to present the same messaging! Which homework am I supposed to focus on for “three hours of studying” a night, teaching staff? You all claimed every subject was the most important I’d ever encounter, and me not even believe that English class could ever be helpful! And coach says I’m supposed to be working on my gluts during that time, anyway! I’m going to just give up and lick some more outlets until mom yells at me again.

But, to be clear, authorities do not stop just because you finally graduate past the school system. In our daily lives as adults, we frequently encounter men and women that have authority over us, whether that authority be real, imagined, or distant. A boss may control whether or not you have a weekend to yourself, and a politician that was elected in Kentucky may for some reason have authority over whether or not you can control the functions of your own body. And, since this is a videogame blog, let’s go ahead and claim some of those “imagined” authorities don’t even know they are authorities. Nintendo says its latest retro release will not be available after March: does that mean they have commanded you to make a purchase now, because you are terrified of missing out? Authority comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes from the most unlikely of sources. Or, sometimes, there are super likely sources, like the police.

Run!The police are… a bit of a thing of late. Or maybe they always have been a thing? This is a difficult topic to broach, as this is a very public blog, and I hesitate to make any statements that could be interpreted as overtly political. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. The truth is I hesitate to make any statements that could get me fired, politically ostracized, or outright jailed. Do I think all cops are bastards? I can say, with complete confidence, that I know one retired police officer that I would not describe as a bastard. I also know one not-retired, not-fired police officer who, when my house was robbed, immediately accused my neighbor that was literally across the street because “you know, we get a lot of calls about that mixed family,” despite the fact that actual evidence proved this to be a completely baseless accusation. So, ya know, there are people on both sides (“Aren’t you missing a word in that quote?” “No.”). And, regardless of my feelings on individual police officers, I am all for defunding the police, as even the smallest PD seems to account for enormous chunks of city budgets. I have absolutely no qualms about stating that our teachers should have more funding than our police officers. But maybe this thinking is influenced by my love of videogames? I have only played a handful of games where high school teachers have been villains (and they mostly involved anime teens), but I have played a lot of videogames where the opponents were the police. I wonder why that is…

Today’s featured title, Jet Set Radio, is one such game. Technically, the real, “final” enemy of JSR is a billionaire mogul who thinks that reassembling a magical record is going to kick off a thousand years of Shin Megami Tensei, but, if you’re looking at the street level villains of Jet Set Radio, it’s only rival gangs (that eventually become friendly) and cops (who are never friendly). The plot of Jet Set Radio is (initially) simple: sweet ass magical rollerblades have been invented, sweet ass music has always been invented, and now the kids with their blades and their hip hop are skating around town and spraypainting their logos all over the place. You are one of these kids, and, since you’re actively breaking the law at all times (being this radical is illegal), the police are your constant enemy. Some are anonymous storm troopers, some are very well-defined enemies of Lupin III, and some are using friggin missile-launching helicopters to take down teenagers; but they all work together to stop the kids from having a fun time. I just want to shred and tag, man, don’t be all The Man about it.

RUN AWAY!And, if you’re just following the plot of Jet Set Radio, it is extremely anti-authoritarian. The police are a problem from the first level, but they are, more or less, little more than a nuisance. JSR distinctly portrays the police as incompetent, and, in a game that technically doesn’t have any offensive options (the “bosses” of this game are defeated by spraypainting and then becoming too embarrassed to be a threat), they are easily thwarted by simply skating around. They’ll never catch those wily kids! And, similarly, when the “real” big bad surfaces with a plan that could obliterate the city and potentially all life on the planet, it is eventually revealed that… it wouldn’t have worked. Magical demon summoning isn’t real, silly, and Evil CEO Goji was always going to be just as unsuccessful as Police Captain Onishima. The message here is clear: not only are known authorities ineffective, they’re downright goofy. The hip teenagers were always going to succeed, and these squares never had a damn clue.

And this is very common in media aimed at teenagers. Hell, you could claim that the very concept of a “teenager” is the result of identifying that at a certain point a “child” reaches an age where they object to authority (and maybe we should be able to market directly to that demographic). As such, in many videogames, you continually see teenagers save the world from evil organizations (or occasionally religions) that are run by fussy old men. Videogames don’t really have a “punk” genre, but it does have any number of teens that pathologically battle the very concept of authority. Is there that much of a difference between Beat and friends battling against the authority of a corrupt company and Cloud and friends combating another, slightly different corrupt company (and don’t claim Cloud isn’t a teenager: coma years don’t count). Tifa might not be shredding around on rollerblades (and we’re worse for it), but she’s fighting for personal freedom just as much as Gum.

Anti-wallBut, while many videogames focus on the freedom that their protagonists are fighting for, these heroes, in actuality, have absolutely zero autonomy. Final Fantasy 7 is practically a game all about how there’s no getting off the train your controller is on, but Jet Set Radio is a lot more similar than it cares to admit. Yes, there’s the obvious overarching plot that requires a playthrough, so Beat is always going to go from “new kid” with a new gang to ultimately the savior of the city (and Coin is always going to be nebulously having a bad time). But the more important thing is that, like it or not, you are locked into this game where Jet Set Radio happens to happen. Want to just cruise around on your wicked blades? Well, too bad, there are malevolent cops and/or assassins in every level. Want to escape those cops in new and interesting ways? That’s great, but there are only one or two pre-approved “escape routes” per level. And do you just want to skip a level, maybe because skating around the sewers tagging moving targets 30 times has never been fun? That’s another negative, kiddo, because you absolutely have to progress in JSR linearly. You want to play this game in a manner not prescribed by Sega? Not on my dime, pal.

Jet Set Radio is about being an anti-authority radical teen, but playing Jet Set Radio means submitting wholly to the authority of its directors. Jet Set Radio, in its most popular form, is wholly authoritarian.

But all is not lost! There is still freedom out there for Beat, Gum, and whatever that third guy was named (uh…. Beanie?). While the console versions of JSR must languish in a world without change, mods are available if you’ve decided to start skating on PC. And let us consider how much the gang from JSR has moved past their initial medium, and now frequently appear through fanart, fan videos, and enough cosplay to keep its admirers hating any conventions involving stairs for years. In short, whether it is in the digital world or the real one, the fans have wrested control of Jet Set Radio away from its authorities, and now the humble player has more than a few options on how they want to play around in that anti-authoritarian world. The system works!

Keep on rockin'And what’s the moral there? Well, there is hope. Videogames are, by their nature, authoritarian, because, more than in any other medium, a videogame can be programmed to force the player to either play the game how directed, or walk away. A book or movie is always going to include a fastforward feature, but videogames can allow for so much as a “chapter skip” to be outlawed. However, given enough time and effort, fans can reclaim practically anything, and, before you know it, Tab (that’s his name!) has been replaced by C.J., and authority has been reclaimed. It’s not easy to make such mods, and it’s not necessarily easy for a player to simply install such a thing, but it is possible. It is worth the effort.

Authority can be overthrown. Whether it be in Jet Set Radio or in our real world, things can change. Things will change. We just need to work together.

FGC #546 Jet Set Radio

  • System: Originally Sega Dreamcast, and then all over the place as of about the Playstation 3/Xbox 360. It’s currently Xbox One backwards compatible, which I think means it will work with the XboxxobX or whatever the next system is called.
  • Number of players: You’ve got a full gang, but you skate alone.
  • WeeeeeeSo, does this entire article exist because apparently your old Dreamcast VMU crapped out, and you never made any progress in the PS3 version, so, in order to capture gameplay from Jet Set Radio, you had to start completely from scratch despite beating/unlocking everything about twenty years ago? Maybe.
  • Urge to continually call this game “Jet Grind Radio”: High.
  • Favorite GG: Yo-Yo always looks like he is going to start some #$&!, so I see that lime-green hoodie a lot. He also says “yo” a lot, which, as someone who used such a word roughly 40,000,000 times in my school days, seems relatable.
  • Do you hold a grudge against Jet Set Radio because you always blamed it for the continual usage of grinding in Sonic Adventure 2 and later Sonic games, which you have always hated? Yes.
  • For the Future: I’ve never actually played Jet Set Radio Future. This is because… uh… um… I guess because the robot never told me to play it. Is it any good? It’s weird, I just never thought we needed more JSR than OG JSR.
  • Did you know? The logo of Goji and the Rokkaku Group is meant to be a hexagon (which is a pun on “Rokkaku” in Japanese), but it looks an awful lot like the Nintendo Gamecube logo. Granted, this is somehow before the Gamecube even existed, but it still seems rather fascinating.
  • Would I play again: Hell, why not? It would be nice if I could play it in a new, unique way, though…

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Super Mario Bros. 2! Wait, didn’t we already do that one? I’m sorry? I’m receiving word that there are two Super Mario Bros. 2s. Oh, well that works. Please look forward to that!

Grinding right along
Authority or not, this is pretty fun

FGC #259 Strider 2

Time flows like a river, and history repeats. And, in a lot of videogame sequels, it gets kind of ridiculous.

Today’s game is Strider 2, the 1999 sequel to Strider that absolutely should not be confused with the 1990 NES sequel, 2014 latest sequel, or Tiger Handheld game I still have for some reason. Strider 2 is the direct sequel to the original arcade hit that sees Strider Hiryu once again fighting against the nefarious forces of the Grandmaster, an evil dude in a cloak with the magical ability to summon dinosaurs out of nothing. Fun fact: I don’t know why this guy has to “conquer” the world with a malicious army and enormous, flying battleship; I’d vote for anybody that ran on an all dinosaur-reviving platform (I’m a single-issue voter). Regardless, Strider fights through five stages in an adventure that seems like a “PSX remix” version of his previous arcade game. There are new challenges, new areas, and at least one headless horseman (sans horse), but there’s also the gravity lab, the Balrog, and other familiar spots from Strider 1. Like a lot of good videogames, Strider 2 deftly walks the line between nostalgia and innovation, and it winds up being a fine way to spend an afternoon.

But when you beat Strider 2, you’ll find this little gem of dialogue.

... What?

And, if you check the auxiliary materials for further information, you’ll find that the overarching plot of Strider 2 isn’t just “Grandmaster’s revenge”, it’s “Grandmaster’s revenge… 2,119 years later”. But don’t worry, Strider has been resurrected, reincarnated, or… something… so it’s all going to work out. And, conveniently, the exact same characters and venues have been revived along with Grandmaster, so you can fight the Tong Pooh triplets or Solo all over again. Just… try not to think about the fact that these characters are literally two millennia old, and all they want to do with their apparent immortality is fight some dork with a sword. I mean, I guess you have to do something to keep busy.

And it’s all happened before.

Like most of the nation, I’ve been playing a lot of Zelda: Breath of the Wild recently. Light spoilers and whatnot, but the main plot of that game concerns a Link and Zelda that were supposed to be the heroes that defeat Ganon like every Link and Zelda before them, but, ya know, mistakes were made, and now the kingdom is in more distress than usual. Now, anyone that has seen a preview image knows the exact reason Link failed to stop Ganon the first time, and that’s that he forsook his green tunic for some blue getup. Saving Hyrule is a very precarious balancing act, Link, you change one little detail, and the whole thing collapses! Or maybe it was just that this Zelda wasn’t that into it?

Just walkin' aroundIn a way, Breath of the Wild simultaneously resists the cyclonic nature of the “prophecy” and “reincarnating hero” myths with a Link that kinda fails, but also more deeply outlines exactly why this kind of trope is, frankly, ridiculous. There’s a giant pig monster menacing the castle? Well, who is the princess? Does she like dressing up like a magical ninja? Do we have some teenager hanging around in a doofy hat? The royal family of Breath of the Wild realized there was a singular answer to the Ganon problem throughout history (kid with sword), and failed because they tried to add a few bells and whistles (robots never go bad!) to “guarantee” a victory. And guess what finally winds up winning the day? Spoilers, it’s a kid with a sword!

So you’re damned if you try to game the reincarnation cycle, but, don’t worry, the reincarnation cycle will win the day in the end.

… Huh?

Castlevania follows a similar Grandmaster/Ganon revives, hero shows up to trash the place cycle, but at least Dracula gets genre savvy pretty early in that environment. If we look at one of the earliest Castlevania games, Castlevania Adventure 2, we’ll find a Dracula that has already identified “the Belmont problem”, and started kidnapping wee Belmont tots to further his own agenda. And then we’ve got Shaft controlling Richtor, who explained something about creating an endless cycle of vampire hunter death or whatever before some dhampir dork smacked a sword into his face a couple hundred times. And by the time Julius Belmont is ready to seal Dracula in an eclipse, the Belmont name has been hidden from the public for ages, because Drac figured out this whole “phone book” technology thing, and “Morris” is totally not in the B section.

Because... oh nevermindSo why does this keep happening across videogames? On one hand, it’s an easy story convention that clearly predates videogames. I’m pretty sure Hercules had only existed for two weeks before some random dude decided to make a “Hercules reborn in modern times” story… even if “modern times” was “The Roman Empire”. And it’s the easiest thing in the world to co-opt some ancient bad guy and reincarnate/revive the dude for instant gravitas. Hero barely beat Villain the first time! Now he’s back from the dead, and he’s got…. let’s see here, what would be threatening… a laser rifle! How ever will ancient hero with his ancient ways win this one!? Heck, you don’t even have to get heroic to pull off this trope, just look at how many “modern reincarnations” of Romeo and Juliet or Beauty and the Beast have made it into the theatres. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Tingle and the Link.

But there is something different about videogames. Videogames are about recurring stories, yes, but there is always more to a videogame than just the story. The gameplay has to be familiar, too, and to reuse Zelda again in an article ostensibly about Strider (I have been playing a lot of Breath of the Wild, dammit!), it’s one thing to have a Zelda game that doesn’t feature Zelda, but God help you if you want to make a Zelda game without a boomerang of some kind. Link will fight Ganon, and he’ll do it with arrows, the Master Sword, and a blue shield with a triangle on it. Remember how Symphony of the Night was the greatest thing to happen to Castlevania in a decade? Remember how people at the time spent hours of their lives whining about the “unforgivable blunder” that Alucard couldn’t use a whip? I remember. Oh, God, I remember.

But it’s that strict adherence to familiar gameplay moments that make these games so seemingly impossible. It is one thing to have a dude rescue a princess from a pig man every century or so, but it’s another that there just happens to be an Impa, hookshot, and Beedle available from the beginning of time until the end. But the fans would be upset if those beats weren’t recycled, so here’s your Temple of Time all over again, even though it seriously calls into question the capricious work habits of the masons of Hyrule.

WeeeeeWhich brings us to the most insane abuse of this trope: Gunstar Super Heroes, which, save a few minor changes, features the exact same plot as Gunstar Heroes, complete with characters with the same names and roles. Green betrays the team, Orange is muscle man, and Black has built another damn board game castle. It all happens exactly as it did in the previous game, which supposedly takes place centuries before. Did… nobody write anything down? Bah, it doesn’t matter, what’s important is that you’ve got a minecart battle with Green in a shape-shifting mech, because, if that somehow didn’t happen, then what’s even in the point in making a Gunstar game?

And maybe that’s what we need to learn from Strider 2. If we want to have a game that reuses beats from the previous, beloved game, then maybe it’s okay that the plot is exactly the same. We’ve gotta have that gravity room, we’ve gotta have that fight on the back of a dragon-Russian parliament thingy, and we’ve gotta fight the Grandmaster again. It wouldn’t be Strider without it! So the people of the Strider Universe have to be stuck in an endless time loop to get there? Well, more’s the pity, but we have to squeeze the Balrog in there somewhere. Plot is secondary to gameplay in any given videogame, right? You’re not supposed to be thinking about how Strider Land “works”, silly player.

But time flows like a river, and, inevitably, a little voice in my head is going to repeat, “Yeah, but why is this whole thing happening again?” And you can’t just slaughter another grandmaster to get the answer to that one.

FGC #259 Strider 2

  • System: Playstation, Arcade, and wherever it pops up as a downloadable title. Playstation 3? That sounds right.
  • Number of players: There is only one Strider Hiryu. Though I guess you can play as the other ninja after you beat the game once.
  • Favorite level: The third stage features a cybernetic wooly mammoth flanked by malevolent hockey players. Then there’s a scientist that drinks a werewolf potion. I want to ground up that level and snort it.
  • Thar be Dragons: Hiryu is Japanese for dragon. Ryu, either the star of Street Fighter or Breath of Fire, is also named for dragons. So, how many dragon heroes are in the Capcom pantheon? And do they all get together and hang out on occasion? BoF Ryu is unimpressed by SF Ryu’s so-called “dragon punch”, and Strider just hangs out in the corner, drinking punch? Is this what Capcom Fighting All-Stars was going to be about?
  • Don’t judge a book: Just so we’re all clear…

    Get it right

    The disc on the left that is labeled “Strider” is the disc for Strider 2, and the disc on the right that says “Strider 2” contains the original Strider arcade game. This is not confusing at all.

  • Credit where credit is due: I will admit that this article partially found its origin in a comment by one Metal Man Master on a previous (already linked) FGC entry. Thank you, MMM. Playing Strider 2 after Breath of the Wild may have made a teeny impact, too.
  • Did you know? The illustrations for this game come compliments of Tatsuya Yoshikawa, right? The same guy behind the art of the PSX Breath of Fire games? It really looks that way, but, one way or another, art good, ya’all.
  • Would I play again: This whole game feels like it takes about ten minutes to complete. That’s a good thing for the last of the “arcade” style action games. So, yeah, I’ll probably make another high score run again.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Giga Wing for the Sega Dreamcast! This is not to be confused with the lesser Mega Wing or Kilo Wing games. This is Giga Wing, all the way. Please look forward to it!

Brrr

FGC #229 Wrath of the Black Manta

LOSERBe glad you live in the horrible future that is our modern age, because, in the old days of gaming, “localization” could mean a videogame would become a lesser, dumber copy of the original.

Wrath of the Black Manta was such a game.

Wrath of the Black Manta is a NES game based on Ninja Cop Saizou, a Famicom title released five months before. Somewhere in that interval, Taito found the time to chop Ninja Cop up into little pieces, take out all the fun parts, and produce a game that attempts to be serious and moralistic, but somehow winds up being a dramatically lesser experience. Our first big loss is…

Anime is Dumb

The first big change here is that someone dropped any and all references to the more… Eastern aesthetic that originally permeated this ninja-based game. Ninja Cop Saizou once had a lovely manga sheen, and all sorts of flourishes from the golden age of 80’s anime. It’s no Akira, but it does have an exciting, “living manga” vibe going on.

BANG

Across the pond, all Wrath of the Black Manta has is one sad ninja.

SAD

Brother, it’s just a phone call. I’m sorry you got woken up in your ninja jammies, but you’ll recover.

Unfortunately, any and all references to Glorious Nippon were wiped from existence on this cart, so any and all manga influences were switched to items drawn in the Mighty Marvel Way… uh, literally, considering there is some blatantly stolen art from How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema in there.

Stan didn't draw it either

Yep, that looks like someone that might have a bone to pick with that blasted Spider-Man.

Oh, and while they might not have been wholly lifted from X-Men comics, the captured children of Ninja Cop are all kind of generically Gamora-loving kiddies, and the “troubled teens” of Wrath are… Well, I’m not sure why I’m saving these weird looking kids.

KIDS!
KIDS!

I think someone got captured by evil drug kingpins after that failed Full House audition. Oh yeah, that reminds me…

Plots are dumb

I do not understand Japanese. There’s a lot of text in Ninja Cop, and I’m not going to expend the thirty seconds it would require to read a plot synopsis. I have better things to do, like play with Voltron toys. That said, while I do not understand the plot of Ninja Cop, I can tell you that the final boss turns out to be an alien (complete with giant space ship) that flies around in a figure eight pattern. That seems… vaguely familiar. Mega-plagiarism aside, I can safely say that our Japanese Ninja Cop is fighting an evil organization headed by aliens, which theoretically explains why there are so many lasers, lightning creatures, and giant robots running around this story. The History Channel is with me on this one.

In Wrath of the Black Manta, the ultimate enemy is a generic kingpin (though at least not another Marvel rip-off this time) of some manner of drug cartel/cult. A random mook provides the deets.

That's also Hammerhead

Blah blah blah super drugs yada yada yada kidnap children, take over the world, and so on and so forth. It’s a pretty generic motive all around for the bad guys, and, frankly, you’d think our amazing Black Manta would have figured out the whole evil plan really early in his adventure (by, ya know, maybe finding some drugs), but he doesn’t discover this information until about 80% of the way through. And, presumably because this whole thing is an invention of the American localization team, you don’t even get to blow up some nefarious “drug tanks”, meth labs, or colossal mechanical heads. Lame.

Oh, and how does a drug kingpin afford giant robots? Don’t say aliens.

Bosses are dumb

It’s one thing to change a few cinema scenes or whatever, but the Black Manta team decided to go full hog on changing a few of the bosses. “Tiny” in Ninja Cop is huge, but rather cowardly looking, which is appropriate for a level one boss.

TINY!

While Wrath’s Tiny is gigantic, imposing, and tattooed for some reason. He’s also just about as animated as Mr. Game & Watch, but who cares, because he’s totally American and a big toughie.

DIFFERENT TINY

But don’t worry, that’s not the only boss that got changed. While Tiny’s switch was perhaps there simply to frighten children away from completing the first stage of Wrath, another boss was changed from Ninja Cop’s weird lightning monster…

Flashy

To Wrath’s big bad voodoo daddy.

Spooky

Is… is there any explanation for this change other than racism? There are robots and lasers and other “alien” creatures in Wrath of the Black Manta that are holdovers from Ninja Cop’s otherworldly plot, so a lightning beast wouldn’t be out of place in Wrath. Heck, I’m pretty sure that creature wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Scooby-Doo. But, ya know, this is a drug plot, so there’s got to be a random black guy with magical drug powers in there, right? And, again, this isn’t some weird “Japan thinks this is how things work” Huck Finn situation, this is straight up a dedicated change for American audiences because… voodoo. Good job, guys. Way to get some representation in there.

The Final Boss is dumb

I’ve already mentioned how the final boss got transformed from an alien with a rad spaceship…

Finale!

… To a generic drug kingpin for American audiences, but that change also came with a completely different final boss requirement.

Druggie!

In Ninja Cop, that thar’s an alien, best shoot it as best you can until that varmint’s toast. In Wrath, the final boss is holding a kid hostage, and you have to shoot the boss without pegging the poor child. Oh, and you have to use four different ninja arts, which were all completely optional throughout the rest of the game, and if you accidently use the same ninja art twice, it refills the boss’s health, and makes the battle practically unwinnable. There’s the faintest light of a good idea here in this new final boss, but it’s lost in the darkness of almost certainly never seeing the ending thanks to finicky controls. Oh, and there’s no credits in Wrath, either, because if you’re going to squeeze all those new kid faces into Ninja Cop, you’ve gotta cut corners somewhere.

Which reminds me…

Localization broke the game

Aside from the lack of credits and an impossible final boss, Wrath also made the “improvement” of dropping Ninja Cop’s entire second level. It’s just… gone. Sorry, kids, but we need to preserve all that scintillating dialogue like, “I don’t know nothing,” or, “You’ll never win.”

I mean look at him!And there are a lot of little mistakes, too. There’s a boss rush in the final level. In Ninja Cop, you must defeat all five earlier bosses before moving on to the final challenge. In Wrath, they had to drop one of those bosses (because he was associated with the lost level), and, presumably thanks to a coding error, you now skip immediately to the final boss after battling the earlier boss of your choosing. I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, I mean, I enjoy playing less Wrath of the Black Manta, but it still seems like a pretty obvious mistake. And speaking of bosses, the graphic changes damaged the proper hitboxes for some characters, so, for instance, Tiny is completely immune to homing attacks because his homing point is still where his Ninja Cop vulnerable point used to be. Sorry, players stupid enough to pick up Wrath of Black Manta!

So thank your lucky stars, reader, that you live in the modern age when the only localization changes we get are improvements to gameplay, or maybe a legging or two. Wrath of the Black Manta is a seriously cobbled game compared to its parent version, and it’s all thanks to a “well meaning” localization. Or maybe it was deliberately terrible? Only the Black Manta knows for sure.

FGC #229 Wrath of the Black Manta

  • System: Nintendo. The Virtual Console is likely a bridge too far for this ninja.
  • Number of players: One ninja. That makes him stronger.
  • WeeeeeFavorite Power: Black Manta earns a new power every time he completes a level. The last couple of abilities fill the screen with fireballs… but they only do the tiniest bit of damage. Boo. I’ll guess I’ll go with the Invisible power, which, like its Wizards and Warriors forbearer, does absolutely nothing.
  • Speaking of Bosses: You pretty much fight the ED-209 of Robocop in both versions of this game. So, ya know, Ninja Cop isn’t exactly free of the plagiarism.
  • Special Thanks: I was not going to play this game twice for screen captures, so any screen grabs of Ninja Cop come compliments of this Ninja Cop Saizou FAMICOM – Full Playthrough.
  • Did you know? The power “spider” doesn’t allow you to climb walls, it allows you to dig underground. There are approximately zero places in this game that that ability is useful. However, it works on the final boss. So good luck figuring that out.
  • Would I play again: This ninja has tossed his last shuriken.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Fatal Fury: 1st Contact for the Neo Geo Pocket Color! Some more pint sized fighting in the future! Please look forward to it!

Dammit, Ninja Cop, you're off the case