The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (PS4, Switch)

Taito Corporation has had a very important part in the history of video games.  They made such greats as Bubble Bobble, Arkanoid, and a phenomenon you might remember called Space Invaders.  They’ve always tried to innovate in the arcade scene, and one thing they did in the mid to late 80s was make a couple of arcade cabinets that were three screens long!  The first one was a 2-D shooter called Darius, which I loved.  The second one I wasn’t into as much, but it was certainly more popular and lasted longer in arcades (from what I noticed), and that was The Ninja Warriors.  It was a 2-D side scrolling beat ‘em up starring a male and female ninja team who were actually robots (this was the 80s after all).  Anyway, after this hit, other companies followed suit with multi screen games of their own, like the arcade version of Tecmo Bowl and later, Konami’s X-Men arcade game.  So, back to The Ninja Warriors.  Years later, they made a sequel on the Super Nintendo called The Ninja Warriors Again.  They had to ditch the three screen format, but they added new characters, enemies, and better graphics.  And now they’re back once again with The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors.  It’s a port of the SNES game featuring more enhanced graphics, sounds, and added unlockable characters.  It kind of makes me think of if the game were on more advanced 16-bit hardware, like the NEO GEO.  Why the name change, though?  I think it may have to do with the popular American Ninja Warrior game show, which probably has more clout.  Anyway, The Ninja Saviors is available to download on PS4 and Switch, but reviewed on PS4 here.

In the new game you can play as the male or female ninja androids from the original arcade game, as well as a new mantis-like character.  There are a couple of unlockable new ninja robots as well.  You’ll travel from left to right beating up military baddies, with a boss at the end of the level.  By pressing up or down as well as the attack button, you can use special moves (unique to each character), as well as a screen clearing bomb move with the circle button.  But be careful as these deplete your battery meter.  It’ll fill up over time, so you’ll need to use these moves sparingly.  When you run out of energy, it’s Game Over.  You can continue at a checkpoint, though.  You can play the game on normal as well as an unlockable Hard Mode.  And there are time attack modes available for each level you complete.  You can play the game solo or with a friend, too.

I do like the 16-bit enhanced graphics and classic styled gameplay, and it’s nice to see Taito still making games.  But I’m also torn because this game really isn’t my cup of tea.  For one thing, the game is way too hard.  They could’ve fixed this for me by either adding an easier mode or letting you continue right where you left off.  Otherwise, I guess it’s not a bad game, I’d only just recommend it to fans of The Ninja Warriors franchise.  You can also try the original The Ninja Warriors through the Arcade Archives downloads, but I don’t know how it works with three screens, and I’m not sure it’s worth 8 bucks.  Personally, I can’t wait for Taito’s next game which comes out in the coming year: Bubble Bobble 4 Friends.  That one is more my speed!

Kid Factor:

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood, Fantasy Violence, and Mild Suggestive Themes.  The enemies do ooze out goo when you hit them, but the ‘blood’ is green so it looks like they just drank a lot of Ecto Cooler.  But I know a lot of Japanese game companies do this with their blood, they make it a silly color like that.  You also slash a bunch of enemies with knives and blades, but they just fall over and scream when defeated.  Some of the female enemies wear skimpy outfits, but ironically, the main female ninja protagonist is fully covered.  But then, she’s also a robot, so, yeah.  At any rate, I played games like this as a kid and turned out OK, but younger gamers may get frustrated at the high difficulty.

2 Responses to “The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (PS4, Switch)”

  1. I love those colorful characters.

  2. this is totally the kind of game I loved as a teen.

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