Mystic Warriors


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

There's really nothing better than a great platform shooter. Konami never really ceased to amaze people in this genre, pumping out classics like "Contra" and "Sunset Riders" seemingly effortlessly. Two years after "Sunset Riders," they took the same basic game, slapped some ninjas into it, plopped everything into a modern setting, and let gamers take a shot at the equally great "Mystic Warriors."

Not even Konami tried to disguise the fact that this is the same game. In the very first level, players run across a drive in movie with what playing on the screen? A trailer for "Sunset Riders." That's just a great touch that immediately earns the game points simply for not trying to make itself into anything other than what it is.

Up to four players can tackle this one at once, leaving little real estate on the screen at times. Once the character selection(s) has been made, the last remaining (or random) character is struck down and kidnapped (is it really KIDnapped if the person isn't a kid?). Players immediately venture right, flinging thousands of shurikens at the usual array of brain dead enemies. Up close, the chosen ninja either kicks or slashes to take down adversaries. There's no limit on projectiles, so go nuts.

Power-ups are constant, either flying by on balloons (?) or carried by someone that looks like they just want to get out of there. There's plenty of variety to the gameplay, setting players up on a ski lift, mountainside (on skis/snowboard of course), rafts, mine carts, and at an airport. Some stages let players make the run, others automatically scroll to let players just concentrate on shooting. It keeps things from becoming too monotonous through the 8 stages.

Boss battles are nothing short of incredible, some taking up multiple screens. That's a highlight of the rather aged graphics engine. Character sprites are meager, though well animated. There is no parallax scrolling in the background, which gives the game little depth even if the background details are pretty great at times. It seems nothing was done to enhance or improve the look and two years time can really hurt your appearance.

Always a company to count on for music, Konami's developers have really pushed the sound chip in this hardware. There seem to be far more channels used for a rich sound that the games predecessor couldn't match. Voice acting has really been kicked up a notch. Not so much in quality as in quantity, but it's hard to argue that a little trash talk before a big fight isn't a cool feature.

It's really hard not to like "Mystic Warriors." It's a video game in the purest form. It's filled with little touches to enhance the experience, one that would feel a little outdated without them. Unless you prefer slower paced stuff, there's no reason not to give this one a whirl, especially if you can four players together. That's a rare feature in a genre like this.


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