I want to talk to you about one of my classic hidden gems on the NES: Ninja Crusaders. An alien invasion devastated the Earth. A small resistance rises, the Ninja refused to be conquered. This game was released by Sammy in 1990, and it’s a side-scrolling action game that lets you play as one of two ninjas who are fighting against the alien invasion. but It gets even better, because the two ninjas who were sent to defeat the aliens, Talon and Blade, have a mystical power: they can transform into different animals depending on the weapon they use!
Ninja Crusaders is a game that was clearly inspired by Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden series, but it has its own unique charm and gameplay. The game has four weapons that you can pick up and switch between: shuriken, kusarigama, bō and sword. Each weapon has its own advantages and disadvantages. The sword and the bō are shorter range of all weapons but they kill enemies and bosses on a few hits. While the kusarigama and the shuriken are longer range weapons but they require more hits to kill enemies. Weapons have their own transformation ability. The shuriken lets you turn into a tiger that can jump high and run fast, but has a short range attack. The kusarigama lets you turn into a sea scorpion that can swim underwater and whip its tail, but is slow on land. The bō lets you turn into a falcon that can fly over obstacles and enemies, but cannot attack at all. And the sword lets you turn into a dragon that is invincible and breathes fire, but only for a limited time and only once per stage.
The game has five stages that are varied and challenging, with different enemies and obstacles to overcome. The game also has some cool bosses, like a giant robot that looks like it came from Batteries Not Included, or a flying saucer that shoots lasers at you. This fight is a little long if you have kusarigama or shuriken weapon. The game can be played solo or with a friend in co-op mode, which adds to the fun and chaos. The game is short, but it is quite hard, especially in the later stages where you have to memorize the enemy patterns and avoid instant death traps. The game also has a password system that lets you continue from any stage.
The graphics of Ninja Crusaders are not impressive, but they are colorful. They even might be slightly too colorful and in later stages some colors may have been better chosen. The sprites are small and simple, but they have some nice animations and details. The backgrounds are plain and repetitive, but they create a decent atmosphere for each stage. The music of Ninja Crusaders is catchy and upbeat, with some memorable tunes that fit the action. The sound effects are also decent, with some satisfying slashes and explosions.
Ninja Crusaders is a game that deserves more attention and appreciation from NES fans. It is a fun and original action game that mixes ninja skills with animal transformations. It is also a challenging and rewarding game that tests your reflexes and strategy. If you like games like Ninja Gaiden, Contra or Altered Beast, you should definitely give Ninja Crusaders a try. The end is disappointing, I would have expected something more spectacular.
I hope you enjoyed reading it and learned something new about this awesome NES game. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below. Until next time, keep on gaming!