Sinclair User8th October 1988
Published in Sinclair User #82
Dragon Ninja, or to give it its full working title, Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja is the latest coin-op conversion from those lovely people at Ocean. Not a lot of people have heard of it, but as a coin-op, it wasn't arf bad.
You are the Bad Dude, on a mission from some secret US intelligence group. The problem is, you see, the President himself has been kidnapped. Now, given the recent state of affairs, you wouldn't think that anyone would actually mind, but in a perfect world, the President of the US is a role model, a hero and everybody loves him. His kidnapper, the terrible Dragon Ninja, is probably the most ruthless assassin ever. Merciless, cold, unfeeling and a pain in the bum.
You have to pursue him through seven levels of violence, death, torture and all round kickings. The first level has you in the street, in search of the first of Dragon Ninja's clan. You are assailed by three types of enemy. The first, and most common are the ninja. These start off pretty easy to kill, but as the game progresses, they get harder and harder. When they begin, they walk on from one direction, kick you and walk off. On later levels they come back and attack you repeatedly until you die. The second enemy is the floozy. Dressed in suspenders and a bra, she attacks you, walks past, and then backflips to have another crack. The third is the dog. He runs along the bottom of the screen and if you happen to be there, he'll bite you. Simple as that.
As with Rolling Thunder, and believe me, this games does bear a passing resemblance, the game is mainly spread over two levels, and, with the exception of two screens, you can jump freely between them.
At the end of the first level, you meet Karnov, the first of DN's clan. Karnov, funnily enough, looks just like Karnov out of Karnov the game, apart from the fact that he's more than twice the size and a lot more deadly. Still, I suppose one drunken Russian looks much the same as another. It's no use leaping from level to level trying to avoid him, as he follows you. You also have a limited amount of time as well, so it's best to get the job done as quickly as possible. Karnov has two attack moves. The first is just a basic punch, which does some pretty serious damage. The second involves him stepping back, taking a huge breath and then blowing a flame out at head height Pretty heavy stuff. Manage to kill him, and then you move onto level two.
Level two involves racing along the tops of a convoy of trucks, driving from left to right. You are attacked by all the same baddies as in level one, only now they are already starting to get a little more difficult. It's also a little harder because you can't jump down to the lower level.
At the end of the level, the computer takes control as you leap off the front of the truck and confront the second of the clan. Claws. Claws, as his name suggests, simply walks towards you and tries to claw you to death.
Then you're onto the third level. This is much like the first, the only main difference being that you are now in a sewer. At the end of the level is a super ninja, who splits into five, four times. Once you have destroyed all 20 ninja. then it's into the forest.
The forest is the same as levels one and three, apart from the fact that it has a new nastie. A fire-man (8 man on fire, no less) runs along the levels, and should he touch you, you lose energy. At the end of the level is Animal, a spike covered robot, who spins at an amazingly fast rate and whips you with his spikes.
Into the caves you go to meet all the usual ninja and things, and finally you get to fight Pole, who does all the stuff that Animal does, except that this time he does it with a six foot piece of wood.
It's back onto the single level bit again on level six, and this time you're running along the top of a train. Fight all the usual stuff again (by now it's getting a little bit difficult), and you tight a guy with a morning star (spiked ball on a chain) and a scythe. If you beat him, and I doubt you will, you go onto the final screen - the warehouse.
The warehouse is where it all happens. Want to know what you get to fight? All of the Dragon clan all over again. One at a time, of course. Then you fight Dragon Ninja himself, who you find sitting quite happily on a helicopter runner throwing little balls of fire at you.
As a conversion, the Speccy version ain't bad at all Graphically it is quite recognisable, and the end of level nasties are particularly well defined.
It is difficult, being as you get a short time limit and a small amount of energy to start with. Some ninja, when kicked, drop something. Some drop a knife, some drop a chain. The really helpful ones drop little capsules that either give you extra time or extra energy. Pretty good stuff.