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The Legend Of Kage

1985 Taito




When it comes to bad games I always try to quantify the reason as to what exactly makes a game fail. Sometimes the concept of the game sounds good on paper but just doesn't come off in execution. This game to me seems like a good example, a fast paced side-scrolling ninja game with some good ideas that just don't really come together in the end.

In this game you play as Kage, an avenging Ninja on a mission to save the princess of the village from various bad-guy Ninja types. He wears a short men's kimono, which has an uncanny resemblance to a pink tu-tu. He does not wear pants. His main talent seems to be that he can jump all high and stuff, like four stories at a time. Kage controls well, and at first glance is animated semi-decently. Then you notice that it's only an illusion because everything else has like two-step animations.

Your main attack is by throwing Ninja stars at people, which is the one thing that keeps the game from being completely lame. Your other attack is to swipe with short daggers. Problem is this has zero reach and will not hit anything unless it's right in front of you (or practically on top of you.) Occasionally you can pick up a magic scroll, which will make Kage shoot out lightning and kill everything that enters the screen for a limited time. But you're forced to stand still while you do this and thus the whole magic bit is just for show.

You can see there were probably some good ideas here. The levels are pretty large and scroll both horizontally and vertically. There's a good amount of enemies on screen and the action can get pretty hectic at times. But none of the elements really come together, it feels like an unfinished game. Bad graphics and limited, repetitive gameplay keep this one from being truly legendary.

Graphics: Pretty sad, even for a game that came out at this time. Characters are small and lack detail. Enemy characters have two-step animations.

Sound: When a bad ninja-guy dies they make a sound akin to someone smacking them in the butt with a ruler. I've never actually killed anyone with a ninja star before but I'm sure it wouldn't sound like that.

Gameplay: Run to the left, jump really, really, really high in the air, and kill the same red and blue enemies over and over again. At least you get to throw ninja stars at people.

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