C64 Review of Last Ninja II from Issue 41

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


Legend tells of a great battle fought over a thousand years ago on the sacred island of Lin Fen, where the last surviving Ninja of a great clan defeated the evil Shogun, Kunitoki. Unknown to the rest of civilisation, Kunitoki's dark allies from the evil spirit world supplied him with a stolen orb, its good and powerful magic being turned towards evil uses, allowing him to slip through time, thus escaping death at the hands of the Last Ninja.

The orb took him to 20th-century New York, where he discovered that someone with his talents for evil could gain great prosperity, from extortion, prostitution, robbery and the sale of drugs on the streets. Using the orb's powerful influence, even New York's finest bowed to his will.

The ancient Ninja Gods, however, are aware of Kunitoki's nefarious doings, and send their trustee servant through time to deal with the evil Shogun once and for all.

The Gods drop the Ninja at one of New York's better known landmarks - Central Park bandstand - and from here his quest begins. The hero must activate a secret switch, and then climb down underneath the bandstand to explore the rest of the park, wherein he must deal with muggers, corrupt New York cops, knife-throwing jugglers, and other undesirable elements. The correct items required for further progress in the game must be taken through the correct exit for each stage before gaining access to the rest of the city.

The second level sees the Ninja hunting the streets of New York, dodging more violent police patrols who are not averse to attempting to dispatch the odd Martial Artist or two with their firearms, as well as thug bikers trying to splat you with their machines (remember to use the Green Cross Code!)

Your energy, in all levels, is shown as a reducing spiral near the bottom of the screen, as the right hand display of a pair. The other energy bar is that or your current enemy, and, like yours, is gradually depleted as blows are received. However drained energy can be replenished by chomping the odd Big Mac or two!

Level three sees the bowels of the city with rats taking part in the overall antisocial behaviour, which allows access into level four, the basement of the villian's drug factory.

This leads up to the offices, where the gang leaders are aware of your presence and therefore decide to do a bunk, whilst leaving their black-clad secretaries, all skilled in the martial arts, to deal with you. You must catch the helicopter in which they plan to make their escape to get to the secret island base of Kunitoki.

The Shogun himself hides in a secret temple inside an old Gothic mansion, crarmmed with baddies. The final battle takes place in the temple itself, on the seventh level, where the Ninja must defeat Kunitoki and retrieve the magical orb, returning it to its faithful keepers.

Score is gained by solving puzzles, splatting enemies with what-ever weapons at your disposal (such as shuriken, nunchukkas, sword and pole), with bonuses awarded to skilful Ninjas for completing levels quickly.

This review was typed in/OCRed by Luke

ZzapBack Logo by Biggest Jim
In the spirit of ZzapBack, you can have your say about how the game reviewed above, stands up in the cold light of today. Has it aged badly or is it still worth a few plays? Read other peoples thoughts and post your own.

The current ZzapBack rating is : 84%

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TruckerG - 26 Feb 2013
All last ninja games were great! Played so many times!

Rating : 100%
Iain - 22 Jun 2008
Great to see this game on the Wii virtual console. Got it a few days ago and hooked as much now as I was then. Tricky bits like the specific jumps in central park and basement levels can be a bit of a put off but keep trying and you get them eventually.

Visually I personally think this is one of the best looking C64 games ever.

Not forgetting the music, haunting tune as it loaded up led you into the feel of the game and Central Park. Still love it to this day.

Knocking a few percent off for the fiddly jump bits. But remember, you can change the way it handles by pressing the J key, this can also be done on the origional.

Rating : 97%
zzap in oz - 27 Jul 2007
i cant stand any of the last ninjas! agreed graphics are nice and there is great depth to the game but the controls ruin any long term enjoyment!

Rating : 46%
CraigGrannell - 20 Apr 2005
The jarring juxtaposition of ninja and modern-day New York should never have worked, but somehow it does, becoming some kind of movie from a deranged Hollywood director. The gameplay is thankfully superior to that of the first game, too, even if it's still a little lacking. Great graphics and sound complete a package that's generally over-rated, but not as much as some would suggest.

Rating : 82%
Iain - 13 Aug 2004
A brilliant game and one of the very few C64 games that I ever completed. A friend and I played this game a hell of a lot back in the day and I even wrote a demo containing all the amazing tunes from the game.

Why it didn't get a gold medal is strange and only 92% for sound??

I'd up sound to 99%, and overall to 98% and leave the rest as is.

Rating : 98%
Paul Glancey
Ever since I saw the preview copy of Last Ninja 2 I've been counting the days til I could play the finished product, and was I disappointed? Not one weeny bit! Not that I expected anything less from the programming talents of John Twiddy and the artistic skills of Hugh Riley, but Last Ninja was a pretty tough act to follow. The fiendish puzzles of the original game are still there, only this time cunningly incorporated into the New York scenery - take a deep breath when you start to play, because you're going to gasp in disbelief when you manage to find the devilishly clever hiding place of the nunchukka! The ninja's manoeuvres are slightly difficult to begin with, but once your joystick gets the knack, you'll be amazed at the versatility of the character. It may cost you a few coins more than normal, but Last Ninja 2 is the proof of the adage, 'You get what you pay for'.
Maff Evans
The last game with oriental overtones to make any impact was Bangkok Knights also by System 3, as was the previous blockbuster beat'em up, International Karate +, and now we have the sequel to their most famous game, The Last Ninja. When it appeared over a year ago, it impressed all who played it, in one way or another, with unprecedented 3D backgrounds and superb main sprite animation. The second Ninja has even more impressive backdrops and improved animation on our ebony-garbed action man. The other combatants, human and otherwise, all exhibit an equally high standard of movement. The game itself is more than the sum of its parts, the stunning graphics merely being the icing on the cake. Each level has its own individual puzzles, objects and tactical requirements, so you always find something to maintain a high level of interest. Last Ninja 2 is the most involved of the martial arts genre so far; venture forth with dosh in hand and buy it now!
Gordon Houghton
I only played The Last Ninja a few times, and found it technically impressive but not particularly playable, and didn't hold it in the high regard which many others did. Luckily, with its sequel, Last Ninja 2 (perhaps the original should have been called The Penultimate Ninja!), all aspects of the game have been improved, and indeed embellished, to create a game which is both faultless in appearance and playability. The numerous locations which you visit are even better drawn than the original's, with much more colour - Hugh Riley has excelled himself - and the sprites are more plentiful and better animated. Across loads, the scope of these graphics is huge, and puts the heroic ninja in many situations, from leaping to catch a helicopter which then whiskes him away to the shogun's island, to battling a Samurai secretary on the narrow ledge of a skyscraper. Last Ninja 2 is a brilliant combination of martial arts combat and arcade adventure puzzles, and as such, is unmissable by fans of either genre.
Luxurious packaging (including 30-page booklet, Ninja mask and a soft rubber shuriken), well laid out status area, but slightly obtrusive loading.

Rapidly drawn superlative backgrounds and finely drawn and animated sprites.

No sound effects, but 12 quality varied tunes.

The careful balance of martial arts combat and puzzle solving is a joyful ease to play.

It will be a long time before the Shogun is destroyed and the Orb retrieved, and it's absorbing all the way.

A more-than-worthy sequel to the oriental arcade adventure classic.