STORY / GAMEPLAY
The game follows the story of the original Last Ninja series. For over 200 years, the Fugiwara Clan ruled the lands, taking evrything they wanted and making the lives of common folks a living hell. Eventually these people became tired of this unfair regime and left their homes to dwell in the mountains and form their own clan. And so, Ninjas were born! For centuries they remained in the mountains and eventually became the most feared of warriors, mainly due to their mastery in a range of weapons and the total control they had over their mind and body. But the evil Emperor Kunitoki and his army trapped the Ninjas inside the island of Lin Fen, a spiritual place for Ninja gathering once a decade, and soon slaughtered most of them. Only one Ninja never went to that island, as he stayed back to guard their master, the White Ninja. This ninja, named Armakuni, must now travel to Lin Fen island to avenge his friends' death and kill Kunitoki!
The action takes place in a variety of locations within the island setting. The game's idea and atmosphere is the same as in the first two episodes (Last Ninja 1 and 2), making it a hard adventure with beat 'em up elements! You may use your martial arts techniques (kicks and punches) but you can also leap in the air to hit! Your health bar is crucial when fighting with Kunitoki's guards that may also carry weapons (like swords etc) apart from their strong and deadly fists and kicks! Once they are defeated, you can collect their weapon and use it!
The game's controls are a bit awkward, as in all other installments of the series. Playing in a pseudo-3D environment, and in order to fight, you must hold the fire button while choosing a particular direction to kick or punch your opponent (or even collect an object!) This can sometimes become frustrating as your ninja has to stay still rather than moving around to avoid enemy hits. Weapons like the ninjato, nunchaku, staff, shuriken and smoke bombs can be equipped. Other than just killing the enemies, the game contains a blend of exploration and puzzle solving much like its predecessors. The guards are not the only hazards that you'll come across. Poisoned water and murky swamps can be spotted in various locations of the island and you need skills to traverse them as a full life is lost each time you accidentally jump or fall onto one of them).
Last Ninja Remix is surely a great addition to the series, offering great gameplay as long as you master the controls. Note that the game includes a disk save option!
GRAPHICS / SOUND
The Last ninja series is based on great pseudo-3D graphics and Remix is not an exception. The ST version is quite similar to the Amiga in terms of graphics and the island's screens are beautifully done while the sprites sport nice animation. Also, a lot of attention has been paid to the environments' colors and details.
Much like its predecessors, the sound on the ST is great with both intro and in-game music (composed by Jochen Hippel) being among the finest and most robust chip tunes ever!