Armakuni, the last ninja, he is now over 1000 years old, all his friends have been murdered, and he has twice tried to kill the evil Shogun Kunitoki (in Last Ninja I and II), and now he's reached the end of the line. But the evil Kunitoki, has gone back in time and seized an ancient Ninja Temple. If he's not stopped, this sacrilegious assault will destroy ninjas forever and Armakuni will die too.
The temple contains six symbolic chambers: earth, wind, water, fire, limbo and limbo, representing the essential spirit of about... everything). Like every good ninja, our hero has finally come to that ultimate battle and sets up to stop the evil Shogun. Each level, while graduated according to difficulty of the foes, presents your ninja with different puzzles that must be solved if the level is to be completed. These puzzles generally involve finding a scroll or an item that gives the key to the next level , and it may well be clearly visible but it is never easily accessible!
Fighting with the armed and unarmed foes is not an easy way, as in all previous installments of the Last Ninja series, but the fighting logic (controls) has been improved now as well. The new controls are extremely straight forward now: you push your joystick the way you want to face in the direction.
The puzzles are not as easy as you might imagine, but are of the kind that, seem blindingly obvious once they've been solved. Of course, the isometric design is littered with fatal edges, which punish sloppy joystick work.
Note that when your Bushido Power (depicted by a dragon in the bottom panel) is completely green, this give you the maximum of your power, making it easier to fight. Killing a fist fighter with your sword is easy, but lacks honor, which is a critical factor, as Busihido Power will turn to red as honor is accrued! Same, fighting a sword-wielding foe with your sword earns honor and so on.
The difficulty level swiftly escalates after the first (trainer) level, but it is beatable!
As with the Amiga, the Atari ST version graphically looks pretty slick (not ground-breaking though), with interesting depth effects, but rather, dry backgrounds. All screens offer up to 16 colors on screen here though, and thus being inferior to the Amiga version. The game offers bigger and better animated sprites that make the game more playable. It keeps the same 3D isometric viewpoint as in previous incarnations, and the sprite location has been improved so that the number of pillars or trees that the character can walk, fight and hide behind has been increased. Both sprites and backgrounds are significantly better than any previous Ninja outing. Sprite detection is also improved here, so no need for this frustrating pixel perfection position in order to pick up something from the ground (found in the previous Ninja series).
Sound adds further gloss to the finish aiding both atmosphere and gameplay. Each level offers it own (nicely composed) tunes, but will soon annoy anyone in the area who isn't play. As expected, the Amiga version offers higher quality instruments here.