Do you like Ninjas and jumping around? Then you'll like Legend of Kage on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
My cousin brought over this mysterious ninja game. As you can tell from the classic cover, some ninja or japanese stuff was about to go down. It wasn't the first ten seconds that completely sold me on the game, but somewhere in that first minute of playing it I knew I had to have it. Eventually he did let me keep it. Interestingly he got it from someone else, as there are several letters written with magic marker on the front that have always been there. My copy also has this weird rattling noise when you shake the game. Don't know what that means. Oh and besides Ghostbusters 2, this is a game that my dad beat when I was a kid. Making it all the more awesome to accomplish the feat myself.
I know some people don't like up being jump, but up jumps. Up jumps really, really high. If you're moving left or right and press up, you'll do a diagnol jump. You can climb trees and jump all over the place. One button shoots ninja stars, the other button spins a knife or ninja sword or white line. Whatever you want it to be really. It can block attacks and is useful when a ninja is up close. Only four levels and a boss that repeat over and over with seasonal variations, but that's all you need really. At least that's all I need from a game.
You also get some power ups along the way! What ninja doesn't need some cool power ups! You pick up a magical orb or crystal ball or just a white circle, whatever you imagine it to be, and you change color. Gaining an extra health hit and doubling the size of your ninja stars. You go green first, then orange. One hit knocks you back down to red. Then there are the robot ghosts or whatever that fly across the top. These little characters will occasionally just waltz across the higher half of the screen, jump into them and you gain a power. An eight way throwing star or double vision invincible ninja seems to be the two that I always get. The last is probably my favorite power up ever, or easily amongst a top ten most hilarious. Its listed as a scroll, but its just a dot on the nintendo. You jump into it and your guy goes into a praying position and everyone around you starts to die. More ninjas just jump at you and die. Over and over and over. The screen flashes, they jump in, they all die. I love that.
You've only a couple basic enemies. Red ninjas jump at you and attack. Blue ninjas jump at you and attack. The third level has you fighting black ninjas. Guess what they do? They jump at you and attack. Then there are the guys from Big Trouble In Little China. They wear the big straw hats and robes and shoot fireballs at you. They come in white or red varieties. Now on the fourth sequence of every set of levels you fight some more boss like enemies. The trick to beating them is to shoot a mysterious butterfly that changes color when you hit it. First boss is a couple of white fire breathing dudes. Then a samurai warrior. Pretty much just a samurai warrior as the second boss. Third set is a guy with two swords. And thats it for the Nintendo version. Watching a video seems to confirm the same set for the Arcade version as well.
It wasn't until last year that a sequel was announced and released for the Nintendo DS, Legend of Kage 2. Apparently, it was released in America. Gamestop has it listed for ten dollars, I'm buying a copy. And I don't even own a DS. I've been looking for it and will have to purchase a copy of it soon.
Now before you leave, that isn't the only sequel. The company that made Legend of Kage ALSO released a game called Demon Sword, which if you just take a quick look at it, you'll realize it is a sequel or sprititual succesor or whatever you want to call it.
Demon Sword gameplay:
See what I mean? Its the same, but different. I'll write about it in more detail another day, just know that if you liked Legend of Kage you'll probably like Demon Sword. Other than that, my information sources seem to indicate a third game that I only learned about while writing and doing some research today. A version of the game released for a plug in TV system. I don't think its available in the states, but I'm looking for it. Its called a Lets Play TV Classics. Apparently has a arcade version of Legend of Kage with more characters, including a dog that breathes fire. Yes, a dog that breathes fire. I don't know if its in the DS game or not, but I'll soon find out.
My copy of the game with the mysterious initials written on it, also puppy:
Did you guys ever play Legend of Kage?