Review: I-Ninja (All)

Platform: Xbox, PlayStation2, GameCube
Publisher: Namco
Developer: Argonaut Games
Genre: Action-Platformer
Release Date: 12/04/2003

Cheap Plug for

I like ninjas. Love ’em in fact. My business cards at Charthouse do not hold a fancy title like Director of OutBound Sales or Internet Marketing Analyst. No, they in fact read ‘SNEAKY NINJA.’

I-Ninja is the latest platformer to come out for all three systems from Namco. It mixes usual platformer fare with attempted witty dialogue. And of course NINJAS. Okay, only one ninja. A ninja with a giant head that makes super deformed characters in Anime look not so super deformed after all. I’m reviewing the Xbox version, although I would recommend to everyone to instead get the Game Cube version, as it comes with Pac Man Vs, one of the coolest multiplayer games ever made. But as I already had it with the Pac Man World 2 Bundle, I went this route.

But for this review, I’m going to fill my self with REAL ULTIMATE POWER and do the review like only a Ninja can. So you better get me a large vanilla milkshake and some chili cheese fries or I’m gonna carve up your pets just because I can. Ninjas do that when they don’t get milkshakes or Chili Cheese fries.

Let’s Review:

1. Story

Once upon a time there was a Ninja who saved his Sensei from a horde of evil Ninja and also a dragon. But the dragon spit out a magic stone that when the Ninja picked it up, it made him totally flip out and kill his sensei cause he was all pissed off and full on ninja MADNESS.

But then the sensei comes back as a ghost because ninjas are so wicked awesome and tough that they kick Death itself in the crotch than kick it again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again until death bleeds to death from a severely popped groin.

And ghost ninja Sensei is like ‘Woah. You killed me because you’re a totally wicked NINJA.’ And Ninja is like ‘Yeah. Ninjas do that. You should know because you’re a ninja Sensei.’ And Sensei is like, ‘You need more of those stones so you can flip out more than any ninja has every flipped out before. Like to where someone could be brushing their teeth half a country away and the noise makes you so flipped out you kill everyone in a direct line between you and that tooth brusher until the tooth brusher is dead.’ And Ninja agrees. But there are some evil alien Ninjas with green blood that squirts out when you kill them and a really evil leader of these ninja called O-Dar. But Ninja doesn’t care because he’s got the biggest head in the world and also a sword that needs to taste more blood. Like an ocean of blood. And so Ninja decides to start collecting the stones and killing things because he likes killing because that’s what Ninja do best you see. Don’t try and understand the unstoppable killing rage of a Ninja because it’s like trying to understand the song of a rainbow or why mimes and bears are mortal enemies in the wild. So just be glad you can pretend to be a ninja and have him kill things on your screen because it is so freaking cool to be a Ninja.

That’s really all the plot to the game. Run around, flip out, kill things. Sure there’s not much of a plot. But Ninja don’t need much motivation to become windmills of total genocidal destruction.

Story Rating: 6/10

2. Graphics

The graphics are okay. I mean it’s cool and all the alien fake ninja bleed green and get cut in half and their heads fly off when ninja just goes all crazy whack on their asses, but it’s not like cutting edge graphics or anything. It’s cute, but this is a ninja I could see taking heads and carving up spleens on the N64 or Playstation or Saturn. Not next gen consoles. The colours are bright and shiny though.

There’s nothing really bad with the graphics. I mean they do justice to Ninja because if it didn’t Ninja would leap out of the game and have sliced the programmers to ribbons long ago and just kept slicing away out of anger and when the game came out everyone would be saying ‘Hey! Where’s Ninja? We can’t sell the game without Ninja!’ But Ninja would still be killing. Because nothing pisses off a ninja more than shotty graphics.

Still, the game doesn’t set my mind aflame with pyrokinetical powers that grandmaster ninjas possess. Now Ryu in Ninja Gaiden. He’s so cool looking I will literally explode from viewing him as only the most powerful Ninja Godfathers supreme with black belts so black they absorb light can look at him.

I mean, the game’s okay to look at. Especially when murdering evil ninjas with your blade of vengeance and all that. But there’s not enough Ninjas. And the graphics aren’t amazingly stunning. Probably because of that lack of Ninjas I just mentioned.

Graphics Rating: 7/10

3. Sound

The music is pretty lame. I mean it doesn’t sound like something Ninjas would listen to. Ninjas listen to REO Speedwagon, X Marks the Pedwalk and Biz Markie. On every other Thursday they can listen to Ralph Tresvant, but ONLY ‘Stone Cold Gentleman.’ This is pretty well known to any real ninja fan as they own the book ‘Ninja Boogie Down Tunes and Dance Grooves.’ They’ve very lucky a Ninja didn’t swoop out of the shadows and trample on their necks until their necks were jelly and then sell the jelly as NINJASMUCKERS.

But the sound effects kick booty. The sound of the throwing stars. Listening the ninja sword cleave against metal ninja robots. The voice of the ninja and things going ‘YAH!’ The sound effects are great and make it sound like you have a really constipated Ninja in your house fighting a bunch of things that aren’t Ninjas and so he’s all pissed because the Ninja really has to poop, but he can’t because the non ninjas are just not letting him because anything that isn’t a ninja sucks. So the ninja kills them all with his massive assassin flatulence. Don’t question the power of a Ninja anus.

MY suggestion is that you get a boom box. Not a stereo but a boom box. Like Radio Rakim in ‘DO the Right Thing’ had and crank ‘Just a Friend’ really loud to drown out the horrible faux Ninja music, because then non video game ninjas won’t creep into your house and drop M-80’s down your throat. Cause they will if you don’t heed my advice!

Sound Rating: 5/10

4. Control

Holy Shit! Ninja can run on walls and up walls and swing his big chain like Spiderman and chop things up and Rolls robot eyeballs the size of Devestator’s around and crushes fake ninja with them and then the ninja can get FLIP OUT powers to boot. This game thought of everything related to ninjas except a giant werehippo or a horde of dancing pirates. Ninjas always killed pirates. Like Jack Sparrow. They cut out the real ending of that movie where he was sailing the black pearl and NINJAS burst out of the skins of all his crewmates because the ninjas had already killed them and wore their skins as a disguise and saved him only so they could kill him too and have a complete collection of pirate skins!

The Controls are excellent. Not as excellent as being a real ninja, but you’ll never know that joy. The camera angles can suck sometimes. But not often. And only if you’re in a weird corner. And besides, that doesn’t stop the Ninja from killing. It might slow him down, but even a blind crippled ninja can kill a bus full of orphans with just his nose hairs or by using lasers embedded in their knees.

The game can be hard sometimes, but even ninjas have it rough. However it’s not the controls fault. It’s the fault of a non ninja like whoever is reading this trying to actually play as a ninja which is impossible as non ninjas don’t have the dexterity or frothing anger and double jointed elbows true Ninjas have. So it’s because you are trying to be something you are not that makes you suck at this game. Don’t blame the ninja. Because if a ninja is blamed for something he didn’t do, he’ll kill your whole famn damily and tie their intestines together and give them to a bunch of whales that he keeps as his arsenal of the sea to use as a jump rope while they are waiting in the deep blue sea for his command to kill yachts and water skiers and whatever else pisses off the Ninja that day. And then when you start crying because your family is dead. The ninja will blame YOU for their senseless slaughter and as you are carted off to the electric chair the ninja will shoot you the bird and then you’ll know all too late that you should be a man and admit your shortcomings instead of blaming a ninja.

Control Rating: 8/10

5. Replayability

In addition to killing everything that isn’t a ninja in this game (EVERYTHING), you have to collect belts and you can’t just get belts by killing everything, but you have to spend ninja gold (actually pirate gold, but after you killed all the pirates that ever were you can change the name to ninja gold because who is going to tell you no’) and do mini games and kill more things that you didn’t know existed but now that you do you kill them too.

And if you get every single belt, you get Battle Arena, but it doesn’t have much of a point except to see how good at killing things you are.

But the main story has no point to keep playing because there’ no new ending or anything new to kill. Once you’ve done it the only point of doing it again is to make your ninja flip out so many times even Mary Lou Retton is like ‘Wow. Give that Ninja the gold medal in gymnastics. Not Me.’

Replayability: 5/10

6. Balance

This is one of the best balanced games I have ever seen. Ninja can run up walls! Does your non ninja mind have the capacity to understand the agility and dexterity needed to achieve such a breakage of the laws of physics’ IT DOES NOT!

The game is decently tough to begin with, and that’s good. Because Ninjas need challenges in order to stay at the top of their ninja abilities. Like the Super Monkey ball stages. Those require really good finger moving type abilities on your controller. And the boss fights are cool. And there are some nice puzzles.

I’d say I-Ninja is jam packed with a very good learning curve that equals the difficulty curve. This game really scored in this field. But then Ninjas score all the time. Ninjas are sex machines. Unlike the Prince of Persia. Persians have such small boners that when they show off their boner, people are like ‘Hey. That’s an outie bellybutton, right” Although the Prince of Persia did score with a Ninja once. A girl Ninja. There’s only two you know. And both girl ninjas had a bet about seducing the Prince of Persia and the one won and then wouldn’t return his calls and ignored him and when they saw each other at the mall, she and her ninja friends would point and laugh at him, and so the Prince of Persia started hanging out in coffee shops and writing and reading beatnick poetry. And if you don’t believe me I have one of his poems right here:

I once had a ninja sweetie
She made my heart all beaty
I hate conformity

See? Bad beatnick poetry caused by trying to cuddle a ninja post-coitus. Ninjas don’t cuddle. They flip out and try to kill those that would cuddle them. Ninjas like it fast and hard and rough and don’t care if they other person climaxes because to the ninja, they are not a person, but an object used for sexual intercourse and are devoid of thoughts, emotions, wants and needs. You probably couldn’t handle ninja sex.

Balance Rating: 8/10


As much as I love ninjas to the point where I scream ‘HOLY SHIT! LOOK! LOOK! A NINJA!’ if I ever saw one, every fricking video game has a ninja killing something in it. Wraith of the Black Manta, Shinobi, Ninja Gaiden, Mortal Kombat, Shining Force. The list goes on. Ninjas are in like every game that matters.

And it’s YET another platformer without any real plot. I mean I love Ninjas. I love them so much that if I would dry hump a female ninja’s leg as if I was a very horny dog that didn’t understand why interspecies dating is wrong. But there’s nothing to say ‘Wow! This Ninja killing a lot of things game is fresh and new.’ Sorry I-Ninja.

Originality Rating: 2/10

8. Addictiveness

Even watching Ninjas killing things gets old fast. At least with this game. If it was a REAL ninja and he was fighting a never ending pack of Robot Dinosaurs, then I would watch until my eyes dried out and crusted over and fell out of their sockets and I started screaming about being blind and how sucky it was.

I enjoyed this game a lot. But it didn’t keep me glued to my chair. I killed everything. Beat a boss into mush. Then I wanted a pizza. Or to pee. And then when I was done, I decided I didn’t want to keep playing. I wanted to read a book by Bill Bryson about the history of Australia or sit in my rocking chair and make a lovely Tea Party with my Stuffed Cthulhu and Pikachu. Pikachu comes for a nice Chai latte, but Cthulhu always serves entrails.

It was okay. But I wasn’t hooked like a big sturgeon who swallowed the hook the wrong way and it went out of the gills into its eye and was begging the fisherman who cast the line for a quick death.

Addictiveness Rating: 5/10

9. Appeal Factor

The game is funny and violent and has good dialogue and has a Ninja that kills an entire empire all by himself because he has flipped out beyond flipping out! But it is still a platformer and kind of cute and some people don’t like those things for some reason. And there is nothing other than having a NINJA that makes this game stand out. It’s a good game, but there are much better games with much meaner ninjas.

Appeal Factor: 6/10

10. Miscellaneous

The game has all sorts of neat mini levels and non killing things for your Ninja to do. Including killing things! You can go bowling over ninjas and pay off people with Ninja (Pirate) booty, and go to the battle arena and let your Ninja go for a relaxing swim in tropical islands and the Ninja has a really cool mouth on him. Not one that you can see as Ninjas wear masks, but mouth as in he is a lippy ninja. This ninja is totally sweet and I could see a hilarious cartoon on UPN starring him on Weds nights. That would be so cool snowmen would come to life and be jealous of his coolness. All he needs is an electric guitar and a hippo that he can ride into battle and this Ninja would be one of the greatest Ninja’s ever.

Plus his video game is fun too and does a lot of neat stuff in it.

Miscellaneous Rating: 8/10

Short Attention Span Summary
Ninjas are better than anything. And although there are much better Ninja games out there, this one is still head choppingly cool. IF you get it as a rental. I don’t know about buying it, as there are some flaws in the game like music and nothing to do once you beat the game and your ninja is swimming in a pool of alien robot blood. So really, if you rent it over a weekend, you will sate your bloodlust and then have 35$ to spend on something else. Like rat poison for when you teach small children to commit seppuku in their math class. Math sucks! NINJAS RULE!



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