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Taito remaster The Ninja Warriors with Return of the Warriors. Available on the PS4 or Nintendo Switch

My personal problem with reviving old games and calling them 'retro' is that games companies are saying to us "we can't think of anything new and we can't be bothered to revise an old game with modern graphics. Therefore we have found an old favourite that can be reprogrammed for today's machines without too much hassle and repackaged it under the 'retro' genre".

For most old games done this way the graphics and animations do not match anywhere near those of games programmed for the consoles and computers of the here and now. NINJA SAVIORS really doesn't do anything to assuage my feelings towards revising old games in this fashion but I have to admit that playing this side-scrolling non-stop combat game, beating up all manner of adversaries en route to discovering the level ending Big Boss before moving onwards and upwards towards the next one.

You have the choice of three characters to control, chosen at the beginning of the game.

First up there is 'Ninja' who is a master of street-fighting though slow in movement but quick with his fists.
Secondly there is 'Kunoichi'. She is fast and uses her twin blades as if they were extensions of her fists. For me, much more fun than Ninja as a heroic character.
Finally we have 'Kamaitachi'. He is amazingly cool, with twin scythe-type blades, one on each arm, that open like wings and rip oncoming attackers to shreds with ease.


Due to the inability to move and fight at the same time (apart from jumping onto someone and then striking them) your character is often fighting behind a column - you may see an arm or weapon popping out on occasion - or worse. When you get to the end of the screen unless an exit sign appears there are still unseen adversaries coming along from the tunnels. This means your character either moves right off the screen or can be seen just about onscreen whilst fighting them. You cannot back up without stopping your fight action, but this means you are taking massive hits as you back up and usually die in a heap without even seeing who hit you.


Different buttons operate different attack forms, including shields and specials - when your power bar reaches 'Max' you can release an awesomely destructive wave from which not many survive intact (if any). The adversaries get more intelligent as you go through and along, counting the 'missions' as you travel. 

Generally movement is from left to right with occasional needs to go up a ways to the next level of passages and tunnels (not next level in the game - you have to kill the Big Boss for that).


As I say, side-scrolling action games are not really my schtick, but some, like NINJA SAVIORS catch my attention, and I get drawn into them as a way of lightening up and relieving stress. Mindless violence in video games has been blamed for a lot of street beatings and murders, but if used properly it is a great way to get all that 'Grrrr!' of the day out without including or hurting anyone else. Retro or not, this game is of great significance when used in this way.


I don't have a clue where the action is set, though it looks (by the outfits) like the South America of TV Shows, or why I am there to beat the heck out of them. It's not for the player to wonder or worry about things like that, all they have to do is keep their fists and weapons close up to the action and enjoy the ride. 

Even dying - seeing your character fall and disintegrate - is done with a finesse unusual to games of this ilk.

If you are in the market for a side-scrolling, all-action, non-stop madhouse of a combat game then take a good look around before committing to a purchase. I have found it on the internet from £16.00 - £35.00 so be careful and buy wisely.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015