Little Bit of History: Developed and published by System 3 and originally released in 1987 for the Commodore 64. Then ported to other platforms like; MS-DOS, BBC Micro, Apple II, Amiga, Atari ST and even a ZX Spectrum port. The game was a masterclass of melding fighting, puzzles and exploration. The Last Ninja was universally critically acclaimed as an original, ground-breaking game and won many gaming awards at the time.
Little Bit of Plot/Story: You are the last living member of your ninja clan after they were brutally slaughtered by shogun Kunitoki. You play as the “last ninja” protagonist; Armakuni on a journey to the palace of the evil shogun; Kunitoki to assassinate him and avenge your clan.
Little Bit of Character: Aside from your character, Armakuni and the main villain, shogun Kunitoki. All the other characters were unnamed enemies.
Little Bit of Influence: The game spawned 2 sequels and even an abandoned 4th game was in development. An updated version was planned for the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube but ultimately cancelled too. There have even been fan-made remakes. Influences can be seen in many modern games action/adventure games and even Ninja based games like the Tenchu series.
Little Bit of Memories: I always remember my older brother kept saying how much he wanted this game at the time. That cover still sparks off memories and is one of the iconic game covers ever (see below), plus the music still plays in my head. I also remember that while the game played like a dream for the most part, that I hated those tricky jumps over rivers by having to use really small stones and the clunky jumping mechanic didn’t help.
Little Bit of Playability: Once I got used to the rather cumbersome controls as turning around was always a chore. The Last Ninja was still a very playable title today. The combat works and was very advanced for the time with the fact you can target separate body parts. Exploring the levels I vaguely remembered trying to find the weapons, etc. I’d recommend the game today, but those controls can be awkward.
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