Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Games Time Forgot: Super Ninja Boy

4:20 PM on 08.05.2009 // Ashley Davis

Every Wednesday, we highlight rarely-remembered but interesting games for our "Games Time Forgot" series.

Super Ninja Boy was part of a series known as Super Chinese in Japan. Culture Brain released many entries of this series overseas, but only four of them made it to American shores. This one was the only one for the SNES, and while it is arguably one of the more well known Culture Brain games, it is still a wildly obscure one.

Way back when local videogame rental stores were still alive and kicking, Super Ninja Boy was one of those games that myself and many others picked up on a whim. My personal story with this game goes like so: when I got home with it and put it into my Super Nintendo, I realized that this was an RPG unlike any other I had ever played. Even though our time together was very short, I always kept a glimmer of this strange game in the back on my head.

When people discuss RPGs that are outside of the norm, Earthbound is usually the title to come up first. But Super Ninja Boy ought to be one that comes up too. It's not set in modern times like Earthbound is, but it has something else that makes it a completely different beast than its other RPG bretheren. But it is still very likely that you don't know of it, or have forgotten it exists. Why is this?

Story: It begins when a very strange looking gentleman named Rub-A-Doc appeared in Chinaland with an army of flying saucers. He claimed to be an ambassador of peace, and signed a peace treaty with the leader of Chinaland, Emperor Chin of Yokan. This caused Rub-A-Doc to become quite popular among the people of the country. He stuck around a little while  to please them, but then made a sudden disappearance. Right after this happened, all of Yokan's workers were kidnapped.

Jack and Ryu are two traveling kung fu artists who hear about Yokan's troubles. They decide to talk to Emperor Chin themselves and see if there is any way that they can help out, thus starting their adventures through Chinaland to free the stolen workers and figure out who is behind it all.

Gameplay: Starting out, Super Ninja Boy feels like a traditional RPG. You move your character through towns, talk to villagers, buy food and equipment, and play minigames for special items. You also roam across a world map that includes forests, mountains, and caves. Random battles will happen in these areas, and you fight and level up just like any other role playing game. The only thing that is odd from the get-go is that the game gives you a two player option. Player one is Jack, and player two is Ryu. A multiplayer game can be started or stopped at any time during play through the town inns.

Once you run into an enemy, it becomes obvious that the game's battles are its' biggest deviation from the RPG norm, making Super Ninja Boy a neat mixture of RPG and sidescrolling beat-em-up. Before you go into battle, a screen will pop up showing you the enemy type you will be fighting, and you are given the option to fight or flee. If you decide to flee, there is a chance that you will fail and be forced to fight.

The battle sequences allow you (and your buddy, if you're playing two player mode) to move freely across the stage as you fight your enemies in real time. The controls are brawler-style, with a punch button, jump button, and special items that can be used, such as ninja stars. There are also item blocks that can be punched during the battle. They may yield a variety of items, including a health restorative or a little bit of extra cash. Some of the non-fighting portions of the game are presented in a sidescroller mode as well.

Weirdly enough, the fighting flips back to the RPG format whenever you are facing a boss. There are four commands: fight, item, magic, and run. Unlike most other RPGs, the run command will work on all bosses, so if you feel you need to run away and prepare more before the fight, you can.

Why you're probably not playing it: Super Ninja Boy wasn't Culture Brain's first attempt at making a game of the role playing persuasion (they are responsible for the oft-forgotten but loved NES game The Magic of Scheherazade and at least one Super Ninja Boy predecessor). But it didn't keep them and their product from being left in the dust of the other RPGs of the era. No one could have taken the attention of gamers away from what Square was making at the time, especially not the offering of a company so obscure as Culture Brain is.

Think about all the games from this era now considered to be classics. Final Fantasy IV and VI, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Secret of Mana, and Super Mario RPG. Despite its experimentation with the normal RPG formula, something that Earthbound is specifically loved for, it feels like Super Ninja Boy wouldn't quite fit in on the list.

Another factor may be the game's astronomically high encounter rate. Seriously, you can't go more than five steps at a time without running into an enemy. This makes it a real pain to play the game for very long, much less see it to completion. As unique as the game's battle system is, it is very likely that you will grow very tired of it after being forced to battle so much. There is always the choice to flee, but again, it doesn't always work.

Lastly, it suffered from a horrible translation job. It is so bad that entire chunks of sentences are missing in places. This makes an already weak story weaker (the identity of the bad guy is a complete no-brainer from the start), which may put off RPG fans.

Super Ninja Boy houses a pretty cool idea that was executed fairly well -- it was just the encounter rate that killed it for most people, including myself. But after being reminded of the game (previously, I only had a memory of how weird I thought it was, with no title to attached to it), I had to wonder why it wasn't more memorable. It's not a bad game by an stretch of the imagination.

It may not have the most interesting story ever or even interesting characters, but its fusion of two vastly different genres is definitely something to remember it by. The idea of a two player RPG was also a very neat one, so it's kind of sad that the idea never really caught on outside of the following two Super Chinese games in Japan.

Here's to you, Super Ninja Boy -- one of the only RPGs that two people could actually enjoy together!

Ashley Davis,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
*Someday last week* Oh, so Toby Fox also made music for Homestuck. I guess I should read it *Today* Fuck it is 3:30 AM I have to wake up early tomorrow why I'm still reading this it is already chapter five someone help me please
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Holy shit, App Store. The copyright infringement is real. I didn't buy it, because I'm scared it'll make my iPhone explode and because the comments say the game's a generic zombie title with fake and misleading screenshots.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Pretty much in a nutshell
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Image of Myxococcus colony rising up after being submerged. I love bacteria so damn much you guys.
Nick R P Green avatarNick R P Green
Made a quick REACTion video to some of today's news storys. Hope nobody REACTs to it with a lawsuit.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Playing Halo 5: Guardians, got REALLY invested in this one match. It was intense from beginning to end and I was using A LOT of Power Weapons because it was so fun. We were literally seconds away from victory when the internet cut off. So disappointed. :(
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Streaming Civ V with a few of my friends.
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
I must be in a weird mood, want to buy SMS games :3
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
How the fuck does Link tie his scarf? I really want to wear mine that way.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
As I recently mentioned I picked up Madworld, I also have acquired Pikmin, Red Steel and DJ Hero2 for Wii. For DS Feel the Magic XY/XX, N+ (shitty port I might add) Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and Some Suda51 I already misplaced :/
ooktar avatarooktar
Bought Firewatch this morning, played about 2 hours and started to get really invested into the story until I hit a bug that won't allow me to progress. :(
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Fuck it. Fuck Blighttown. Fuck it's poison blow dart campers. Fuck the mosquito freaks. Fuck the fire-breathing bitches. Fuck the lack of visibility. Fuck it's pitfalls. Fuck the fact that I'm going back after 5 minutes of self-loathing.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
You know what the weirdest part about having selective hemophobia is? Getting freaked out by an anime like Elfen Lied but being 100% fine with shit like this.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Nobody told me the boxed version of Revelations 2 lagged to shit. I was lucky to exchange it for Xbox money.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Objectively the best part of Heat.
Samsneeze avatarSamsneeze
XCom 2 is a good game that feels it needs to punish the player for not being omniscient. Still, it does have its moments.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
DTOID: I have obtained the Digimon and a Kapp'n plushie. That is all.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got full Rathalos set in three tries!
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Some dumb joke made for the Discord chat.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm still playing Tearaway Unfolded - 75% of the way to 100%. I'm gonna platnium this sucka and get my first platnium since Sly 2 back in 2012. I wrote a whole cBlog about platnium trophies and stuff a while back. 2 lazy to link it tho
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -