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I-Ninja - Has anyone played it?


JFo
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I've had my eye on this seemingly quirky game from Namco for a while now. With the lull of interesting software at the moment (at least for me) and the $20 price point for a new copy, I've had a hard time resisting this one. Still, I don't buy it because I haven't heard much of a buzz about it from anyone I know.

 

So, I ask, has anyone tried this out? Is it worth my trouble or am I better off spending my money on other things?

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I've played it quite a bit on the XBox, but I should note my bias - I know the lead designer & some of the art team.

 

I enjoyed it - it has a lot of style & a good sense of scale with the very small ninja vs the big giant "mechs", and the look of the world is very clean & well designed. Controls work well, and there's LOTS of gadgets & gizmos to use & abuse. There's huge amounts of variety in the levels & challenges. There's the usual run through the level challenges, but how many games have races against igniting gunpowder, & giant Rock'em Sock'em Robot for example?

 

It does get hard about 20% of the way in, and you have to go back & redo levels to get better grades to progress, which is a pain for some folk.

 

I enjoyed it, I think it's well worth $20 if you enjoy platformer/action challenging games.

 

And the I-Ninja character is *very* well done.

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If you get the GameCube version it should come with PacMan Vs, worth the $20 by itself, IMHO.

 

That's cool, but I already have it! :green:

 

Brian, thanks for your thoughts. I was wondering if any versions of the game support 480p. It says it doesn't on the back of the Xbox case and there's no indication that it does on the GameCube version either. Thanks!

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I know for a fact that it doesn't support 480p on the Xbox, so I'd assume the other versions don't as well. It is widescreen though.

 

I played it about 50% through and will definitely go back to it at some point to finish it. From what I played of it I feel it's definitely worth your $20 :tu:

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  • 3 weeks later...

After months of procrastination, I finally picked up I-Ninja. I haven?t earned all of the grades yet, but I have played through every level, earned my black belt, and beat the final boss, O-Dor. I guess that means I've beaten it, and I am qualified to offer a little review of it. :D

 

I-Ninja is a solid action-platformer with a wide variety of missions, a unique (albeit simple) visual style, and a very funny sense of humor. The bulk of the game revolves around the standard formula of the genre, which involves the usual jumping puzzles and a fair amount of combat. The moves list for Ninja, the game's appropriately named main character, is actually quite similar to the likes of Ninja Gaiden or The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Namely, he can run up along walls, jump off them to get where he's going, and cut his enemies to pieces with his sword. The difference between this game and the others is a platformer sensibility in the tradition of Mario, Jak, Ratchet, and Rayman. Ninja can double jump to reach high ledges and twirl his sword like a helicopter to jump large gaps. Combat is also a good deal simpler, offering only a few attacks and small set of combos. The variety of enemies is also surprisingly small with only about a dozen or so different enemies to fight.

 

Other challenges include stages in which Ninja must roll giant balls down obstacle courses to a goal ala Marble Madness or Super Monkey Ball. Another level has him shooting down ships and aircraft trying to storm a beach, and another has him riding along grind rails over deep chasms to reach the goal. The reward at the end of each level is a Grade, which serves as this game's Star, Power Cell, Jiggies, or whatever treasures you can think of from past platformers. By earning enough Grades, Ninja can earn new belts that allow him to access new levels.

 

The biggest criticism I have of the game involves the acquisition of Grades, which can become tedious after a while. Each of the main levels has three Grades to earn. In order to get them, you must play through the levels three separate times. The first run through is a pretty standard assault on the level. Get to the end and you get the Grade. The other two involve an added requirement of some sort. In some, you'll have to beat a timer to the end of the level. In others, you'll have to find 10 red coins or kill a set number of bad guys to get the Grade. Fail any of these requirements and it's too bad, mission failed. I should note that I don't object to what they were doing necessarily, but three times is too often to play through the same level. If they had limited themselves to a second run through with the added challenge, it wouldn't feel as repetitive. Don't worry, as I noted in the first paragraph, it isn't necessary to get every Grade in the game in order to beat it. It is necessary, however, to go through every level at least twice, maybe three times in some instances.

 

Visually, I-Ninja is a recipe for minimalism. The characters and environments are highly stylized and colorful but not very complex. There is also a limited use of particle effects and lighting along with extremely simple texture maps and low-level geometry. In other words, this game won't push the technical boundaries of any of the three consoles. The good news is that it runs at a consistent framerate, save for a few levels where there is some noticeable slowdown. As Buck noted in his post, it does not run in 480p, but it does have a 16:9 mode for those of you with HDTV monitors.

 

As for sound, I can't really say much about it. The highlight here is the voice acting, which is lead up by Billy West of Futurama fame. The botched wisdom of the Sensei is usually worth a chuckle or two and the rest of the cast is appropriately cartoon-y in their style. The only problem in this department is that Ninja has a limited library of phrases to use in battle and it does get repetitive after a while. Various generic tunes make up most of the background music and nothing really struck me as memorable.

 

I started this thread because I wanted to find out if I-Ninja was worth $20. I can now say that yes, I believe that it's a good deal for anyone looking for a decent action-platformer. Forgive a few warts and you'll easily enjoy at least 10 hours of game play from this highly overlooked title from 2003.

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