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'An eye for an eye' only causes the world to become blind
Mahatma Ghandi

THE LAST NINJA
by Richard Karsmakers

Hang Foy Soozooki held his hands above his eyes as he noticed a
cloud of dust at the end of the road, warning him that something
or somebody was drawing near. He signalled his loyal servant,
Sjau Long, to take cover.
"But don't folget," Hang Foy said before his servant hit the
deck, "to look at what I might do. You might lealn flom it!"
Hang Foy, the last of the true Ninjas of the Pagoda of Tjang Kai
Tjec, put down some of his gear - his Samurai sword, his Shurigen
and his Sanyo PLT-1001 Turbo Injection Ghettoblaster. He knelt
down to the ground, putting his ear on the soft dry soil.
"Hmmmm..." he murmered.
"Hmmmmmm..." he murmered again (but now a bit longer).
"I think it's an Alabian tholoughbled," he said to himself after
a long pause, "callying a pelson weighing seventy-six kilos,
wielding a Samulai swold at his light hip, and..."
"May youl evel-so-humble and maybe even totally nonwolthy
selvant know how much that is in pounds?" his servant, who had
probably had an English education, interrupted.
"El...." Hang Foy said. He took from his bag a small device,
pressed some buttons, and replied: "Onehundledandsixtyseven point
fiftyfive. Whele was I?"
He now looked up and saw before him a man on a horse, and a
smaller man on a mule. The man on the horse had a flag with him,
on which a white windmill with wooden wings was pictured. The two
had been standing there for several minutes already, watching the
Ninja on the ground with wonder in their eyes.
"Please, sir, my master and myself are lost," the man on the
mule said, "can you tell us the way to Portugal?"
The Ninja was speechless, maybe because he could not understand
what the small man said (he spoke Portuguese). Were these spread-
eyed creatures maybe demons of some kind?

Note: In fact, our dear Ninja had encountered two well known
characters of Portuguese tales, Don Quichote and his servant. Why
did they end up in this story? Don't ask me - ask the author of
this stupid excuse for an introductory novelette!
End of note.

Sjau Long looked up from the bushes. Was this the man wielding
the Samurai sword on the Arabian thoroughbred? He was beginning
to doubt the supposedly infinite Ninja capabilities of Master
Soozooki. He hid himself again as he noticed the man on the horse
looking around.
Master Soozooki now assumed a spread-legged position and drew
his Ninja sword.
"Hakkitakki Wegballezakki!" he yelled, "Banzai! Carpe Diem!"
He slashed around with his sword, thereby almost beheading
himself.
When he was finished looking like an utter fool (and when the
dust had lifted), he looked around and saw the two men had gone.
Next to him, a Sanyo Ghettoblaster lay hewn in two. Some
transistors and resistors lay next to it, disembodied.
His faithful servant was busy retrieving a Metallica tape from
the device, and was notably disappointed when it turned out that
the sword had precisely hewn the tape in two, too.
"Kakki!" he said.

We will now jump ahead in time a bit, to the evening. Master
Soozooki and his servant didn't run into any trouble except for
the sudden appeartance of an apparation of a Japanese Emperor's
ghost (which the Ninja Master- though accidentally - beheaded).
It was already getting pretty dark and Master Soozooki decided
to stay and make a fire for the night.
"Sjau Long," he ordered, "make a file."
The Master's servant took a lump of wood and a bottle of Stroh
Rum, after which he went away for about a minute, a loud
"AAALLGGGAALGL!" could be heard, and he came back with a
viciously red head and a burning lump of wood.

A certain amount of time later, a high buzzing sound could be
heard around the head of Master Soozooki.
And if there was one thing that Ninja Master Hang Foy Soozooki
hated, it was gnats whizzing around his head. His eyes followed
the small arthropod without his head moving as much as a fraction
of an inch. He carefully took his Ninja sword and held it
vertically before him.
"Banzai! Coito Ergo Sum!" he yelled with a very loud voice.
The gnat was temporarily distracted and forgot to fly. He now
hung still before the head of Master Soozooki, not even moving
his wings. The reason why it didn't fall was that gravity had
startled as well, and was not quite sure what to do with that
gnat after such a most terrifying yell.
Master Soozooki slashed his Ninja Sword through the darkness,
then gently replaced it in its sheath. The gnat was still before
him, and decided to fly away some moments later.
The last of the true Ninjas was probably quite pleased with
himself. His servant said: "May I be so immodest as to point to
you the fact that you have missed the gnat, mastel?"
But Master Soozooki sat still there, only lifting one part of his
lips to mutter: "I may seem to have missed that althlopod, but that
gnat will NEVEL have sex again!"

*****

In the previous issue of ST NEWS, I already mentioned the fact
that I had received a hacked copy of the most recent fighting
game around: "The last Ninja". I had received the program from an
anonymous German reader of ST NEWS who actually thought it might
be nice to have an 'exclusive review copy'. As you could read in
the article I then wrote about 'Views on Software Piracy', I did
not write that review because of some of my scarce principles. I
considered it dishonourable to get a head start on other
magazines the 'hacking' way. I also did not wish to promote the
fact that there was a hacked copy of this game around - this game
one would have to BUY, and not copy.
But, unfortunately, everything went wrong with this game.
Negotiations between System 3 and its programmer were done by
someone who apparently could not be trusted. System 3 paid the
money but the negotiator used it to pay off gambling debts (so
I've heard). System 3 never got the actual game, either (and the
version that they DID get was leaked out by someone at System 3
so that now everybody can copy it through illegal circuits). So
the programmer ended having spent a very long time doing
charitable work, and System 3 is now just poorer.
But ST NEWS is no cheap version of some gossip magazine, and
other people's businesses I want left to be other people's
businesses.

Anyway, the programmer recently gave me a personal copy of the
game so that I now feel it honourable to review it anyway. Here
be it (although I highly doubt the fact that you will ever be
able to actually BUY the game in the shops).

The first impression that you get when starting up the game is
that of rehabilitation. Obviously, System 3 was set to
rehabilitate the awkward music of "International Karate" and
"IK+" (the first of the two being even plain BAD). There is a
three-voice digital version of the true (10 minute) Commodore 64
"International Karate" game music, which succeeds in soothing the
beholder's ears quite well. If you disagree with me here, just
try and listen to it halfway; you'll be clutched to your system
then!
When the intro is finished and the digital music starts anew,
hitting a key takes you on to the next screen: A black screen
featuring the eyes of a Ninja Warrior - this time with the
soundchip version of the 10-minute "international Karate" music!
Not bad. Not bad at all! Though the introduction graphics and
animation are not be a long way as impressive as those of "IK+"
and even of the original (old) "International Karate", the
musical standard pulls the overall level up to heights never
before experienced by a System 3 release. It is nice to know that
the music was actually written by Jochen - as we all now know the
best sound programmer on the ST. After Hewson, System 3 has also
been caught in the spell of his splendid music!

After the intro, one enters the actual game. Since I did not get
a manual from the programmer, I do not know the actual target of
the game. As far as I know, you'll have to go as far as possible.
Along the road, you'll have to collect items that will increase
your life expectancy (lance, sword...stuff like that).
Graphics are up to quite a high standard, and you walk in a 3D
landscape. Animation is a bit awkward, and you have to get
thoroughly used to the joystick controls before you can even go
as far as leaving a screen. Your arcade skill will be tested as
you have to leap over roaring rivers and fight weary warriors
along a long road that will eventually (as far as I've
understood) lead you to a city.
I haven't played the game very much up to now, but I gather that
there's an enormous load of graphics present on FOUR double-sided
disks! So I gather there's a lot of variety present in the game -
especially for those that fight on.

"The Last Ninja" is not one of the best games where playability
is concerned, but the sound is up to an unusually high standard
and the size of the game will probably warrant playing it anyway.
All in all, it's a pity that "The Last Ninja" went down the
drain. It's a pity for the talented programmers that did it, and
a pity for System 3. I hope this doesn't mean the loss of a
company planning to produce some good software on the ST in the
future.

Game Rating:

Name: The Last Ninja
Company: System 3
Sound: 9.5
Graphics: 8
Playability: 7-
Hookability: 7
Overall rating: 8+
Hardware: Color and double sided drive only

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.