Dragon Ninja
By Imagine
Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

Published in Computer & Video Games #89

Dragon Ninja

Well, Ocean didn't waste much time with this conversion - the Dragon Ninja coin-ops only came off the jumbo from Japan about five months ago. By all accounts it was a fairly successful game in spite of the fact that it was in the market (two-player beat-'em-ups) where Double Dragon reigned supreme.

Ocean's Amstrad conversion lacks the two player option unfortunately, so you're cast as Blade, a long fighting machine with a mission to plough through seven scrolling levels of hostile martial artists, and rescue the president of the USA. The fighting moves at your disposal are decidedly unimaginative, just high, low and middle kicks, no fun shoulder-throws, knees to the groin or elbows to the stomach, alas. You do get the option of a mega punch, available by holding down the fire button until Blade's head flashes. In theory this should let rip a blow fit to knock the trunk off an elephant, but I didn't find it any more devastating than the standard middle kick for some reason.

Should you get the better of an armed opponent, you can pick up his weapon, be it a nunchuka or a dagger, and use it to extend the range of your lethal influence by at least six or seven pixels. These come in especially handy at the end of levels where the awesome fatty fighters appear. It has to be said that the ones I reached weren't particularly awesome at all, and were pretty easily defeated.

The thing I didn't really like about Dragon Ninja was that, like a lot of games of this type, there isn't really much room for thoughtful play. For the most part, beating the other guys is simply a matter of how fast you can keep turning around and pressing the fire button! There are no really special moves for special situations like there are in Double Dragon.

Myself, I wasn't that keen on Dragon Ninja, but all you hardened beat-'em-up fans and lovers of the coin-op will probably be getting your money's worth from the conversion. It's competent in the graphics, sound and gameplay departments, but not destined to be a classic example of the genre.