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Kaze Kiri Ninja Action

version: jp - year: 1994 - developer: tomboy / winds / aoni productions - publisher: naxat - format: pc engine, cdrom - condition: mint, w/o spine - rarity: hard to find

Naxat was very prolific on PCE

 

The intro has been cleverly done, considering the limitations of 8bit technology

 

The first level starts out under a sea of fire-arrows raining from the sky...

 

Learn to use the back-flips, they are useful against bosses!

 

This boss is followed by a...monkey! Is it appropriate to say that you have to literally spank the monkey? No? oh well..

 

As you can see, at one point you'll even have to fight against...kite-soldiers?...or something like that

 

Slay the tiger and after that, it's boss time

 

This guy looks like a mix between Galford and Nakoruru from Samurai Shodown

 

Watch out from magic attacks. They drain a lot of health

 

At last, the princess! Her relentless screaming is getting on your nerves? Naxat was kind enough to let you slay her if needed :)

 

I love you honey-boney but pleeeease, stop screaming or you'll get my katana right into your great white teeth!!

 

The end

Review - When I first got into the PCE scene, I kept on hearing about a certain number of titles such as Dracula X, Winds of Thunder, Splatterhouse or Spriggan that had been elevated to cult 2D masterpieces.

Well, Kaze Kiri was certainly part of that group. We could debate all day in trying to figure out if that kind of fame was deserved or not. After all, the PCE software library includes many other great games that for one reason or another, have been a bit overlooked.

All this to say that when I picked up Kaze Kiri, I was expecting a lot from it since every PCE fan out there seems to worship it as the ultimate Ninja masterpiece.

I played many ninja games before it (like Super Shinobi, Shinobi III, Shadow Dancer, Ninja Warriors etc…) so I am not new to the genre. Kaze Kiri did not disappoint me as it is overall a quality production.

From the amazingly atmospheric title screen to the beautiful anime intro (and outros) and the in-game graphics, music and sound-effects, Naxat offer is extremely refined. The CD Rom support has been used wisely to deliver a game filled with an enchanting feudal Japan atmosphere. This is certainly reinforced by the attention to detail.

Out-door locations look astounding. Running on the roof of traditional Japanese buildings, slaying enemies in the process while performing stylish acrobatics under the moonlight is a rare experience. Kaze (one of the main controllable characters) moves smoothly and elegantly. His animations are gorgeous and he can perform an impressive array of moves. It is possible to throw knives although when you do, your health meter will start decreasing so do it only when strictly necessary. Naxat did this to stress close-quarter combat, slaying enemies using your katana sword.

Interestingly, no matter how many daggers you throw or how many hits you take, you can still recover health by simply avoiding enemy attacks and by not using daggers. Does it mean that Kaze Kiri is too easy? On easy mode, this is certainly true but on normal mode, things will get more challenging as surrounding enemies will often parry your attacks and will try to close on you from all sides. When you get caught up in a situation like this, it can be a bit hard to get out of it quickly but the secret is to always try to have enemies only on one side of the screen and crush them with ground-based combos and airborne attacks.

Bosses are varied enough and often come accompanied by their own pet (which is a nice detail) a bit like some characters in Samurai Shodown.

In all honesty, I was expecting bosses to be slightly more impressive as they didn't look particularly strong. They do have really cool magic attacks though. It should also be noted that to reach the boss of any given level, you'll be required to clear that level of a certain number of enemies (look at the enemy bar and make sure you get it empty).

In the end, Kaze Kiri is a nicely crafted action game with a unique atmosphere gorgeously recreated by a skilful use of the PCE hardware. Skilled programming coupled with great artistic taste convincingly manage to convey a unique identity to this amazing software.

Gameplay, essentially focused on performing stylish attacks (the true ninja-way against waves of enemies!) is more addictive than ever. Unfortunately, despite the 19 levels the game has to offer, it won't be long before you manage to see the multiple endings (also because of the generous amount of options which let you choose the difficulty level and even the level you want to start playing from). This shouldn't stop you in any way to play this great game though!

Bottom line: one of the best ninja-action games for the pc engine....8/10

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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