Kasumi Ninja


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 3

If the only reason you clicked on that link to your left was to find out if this was the game where the Scottish guy shoots a fireball from his, uh, "lower extremities," then yes, you're correct. For those who clicked on the link to read a high quality review of an Atari Jaguar game, well, you probably know already that's not going to happen. Much like this review, "Kasumi Ninja" goes flying off the deep end with jaw-droppingly bad character design, hideous combat, and one the cheesiest announcers to ever grace a fighter.

For whatever reason, if your fighting game featured digitized graphics, then it had to contain ludicrous amounts of blood. This has to be one of the first games to ever feature a V-chip-style lock out system for parents. Of course, if the parents watch their child more often or (*gasp*) don't buy them the game because of the "M" rating on the front of the box, this would be a non-issue. We're not here for social commentary though; we're here to rip apart one hilarious brawler and that's what's about to happen.

Eight pitiful fighters line the games choppy mess of a selection screen, though that's assuming you're playing with a friend. If not, all you can do is pick one (yes, one) fighter, one of the palette swapped ninja twins (read: Ken and Ryu). As you progress, you can control any fighter you defeat, sort of like "Mega Man" just without any originality or common sense.

Graphically, it's not that bad. There's more animation than you usually get with a fighter of this type (they really became their own little sub-genre, didn't they?) and the backgrounds have some great depth. It's a combination of parallax scrolling and higher-than-usual resolution that tries to block you from realizing that you're not really having any fun. Oh, the blood sticks to the floor for the entire round too.

Crammed into two buttons, "Kasumi Ninja" tries to blatantly mimic the competition by offering a basic punch (including a "rapid fire" version), kick, and special move button. You can duck and launch a very short-range uppercut, lean back for a roundhouse (does any of this sound familiar yet?) or go for the ever so brutal foot sweep. Fireballs and other various things you throw at the person on the other side of the screen come to life with the wasted special move button. So no one thought of anything better to do with that third button?

Of course, it couldn't be a good digitized fighter without fatalities. It has plenty of those. Enjoy exploding people? How about a good scalping? Still not good enough? Ok, how about putting your foot through some ones chest? Got you now? Good. All of these use that "other games" style of a few basic d-pad taps, a little distance, and a nice press of the C button to pull these off. It's one of the few reasons to play this one.

Actual gameplay is quite loose, with generous hit detection picking up contact really early. You'll be on the ground before you can even figure out that it has connected. Combos are standard fare, nothing too deep. Just a few two or three hitters seem to make the game as deep as the developers wanted it to be. Combat seems excruciatingly slow and flat out boring. At least there's no block button.

Your ears will get a small treat here, mostly comic value. As stated above, the announcer here is trying so hard to speak English, but the horribly forced accent is hilarious and unintended (or is it?). The fighter selection screen has a really great theme behind it, which likely explains why things are so choppy during the only 3-D segment of the game. In-battle music is representative of the stage you're in. It's your basic fighting game audio package. Shame they couldn't even get that far with the gameplay.

Seriously, this game seems like a sick joke someone threw together in a weekend to tick off an ex-girlfriend or something. Unfortunately, that's not the case, especially considering the amount of time it must have taken to digitize these poor folk into the game. It's all a real shame too since the Jaguar probably could have pulled off a decent rendition of "Mortal Kombat." Instead, we got this. Joy.


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Last updated: Sunday, March 20, 2005 09:09 AM