Title: Arcade Archives THE NINJA WARRIORS
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 07/18/2019
In this action belt scroller, you take control of two robotic ninjas who are sent to assassinate the president of the United States, who’s become an evil dictator causing terror to the world!
Per the Arcade Archives norm, the standard display, sound and visual options are all here and accounted for. However, The Ninja Warriors is handled slightly different from most horizontal games, thanks to the fact that Ninja Warriors was displayed on three separate monitors connected together, leading to a very long display. Likewise, the caravan/hi-score mode is adjusted to fit the wider display. Thus, there’s extra options that keep those screens in mind, from being able to turn filters on them one by one, adjusting each of the screen positions, and even some extra special options such as being able to turn on rumble support (emulating the vibrating booth from the original game, to an extent) or being able to focus the sound output towards a certain side of the screen. (this option is only available in docked mode) You can even make use of a surround sound option, if you have the capability.
When it comes to the actual game, three-screen display aside The Ninja Warriors doesn’t really look all that special. It sports a 16-bit look with some smooth animations, but the backgrounds are incredibly dull and don’t offer much to look at. The music on the other hand is outstanding, with some very catchy and lengthy tunes that are soundtrack worthy for sure.
The Ninja Warriors is a belt-scroller where the main objective of each stage is to reach the end and defeat the stage boss. Unlike a traditional belt scroller, enemies aren’t required to be defeated in order to progress in the stage, since scrolling right will continue to move the screen forward regardless. However, it’s still a good idea to take out enemies before they overwhelm you, and luckily you’re equipped for the job.
Both of the playable characters control the exact same, meaning they both have a melee attack and a ranged attack to use and nothing else. The melee attack is a fairly quick jab that’ll take care of most enemies in one hit, but tougher foes will require multiple strikes. The ranged attack is a throwing star that will often require two just to defeat the most basic of enemies, but it helps tremendously against foes who attack from a distance, although your ammo is limited.
You also have some extra options to use as well, including the ability to do a long jump (which requires you hold the melee button down and jump forward, which is a great way to speed to the end boss) and block attacks. (which simply has you holding down your melee weapon button while moving) With these simple controls in mind, the game is very easy to adapt with, although the difficulty also has a role to play, since the higher the difficulty means more enemies swarm at you, and considering how crazy the first stage can get on the hardest setting, that means you’ll deal with neverending waves of enemies until you move forward. This is kinda strange, since it helps to just stay in one place if you’re playing this for score chasing purposes, but on the other hand Ninja Warriors isn’t a great score chaser in the slightest, since points basically mean nothing and are slow to obtain during normal gameplay, making the two bonus modes here feel a lot more redundant.
Luckily, co-op makes this game a lot more enjoyable, since it can be pretty repetitive when going solo. Slashing away at enemies with a friend is a lot of fun and it’s a good way to spend an afternoon, thanks to how simple the game is. Granted, even adjusting the difficulty level to the easiest setting will cause the final few stages to throw enemy sponges at you, which can hurt the pacing as it’s meant to drain quarters, but the fact that you don’t have to constantly stop and start again just to advance forward is a great change of pace from the slow nature of other belt scrollers.
In conclusion, The Ninja Warriors is a surprisingly great port, offering a bit more extras to make up for the unique display, while also being a fairly fun co-op game to play with a friend. However, as a single player game and as a score chaser, the game can get pretty boring real fast, with the only major highlight being the outstanding soundtrack. If you have a friend to spend time with, then this is an arcade gem worth picking up for sure, but otherwise you might want to hold off on your mission.
I give Arcade Archives THE NINJA WARRIORS a 6 out of 10.