Ready for an epic battle of ninjas versus invading space aliens? Ninja Crusaders takes the tried-and-true ninja formula and recasts it as a science-fiction drama with two-person interactive play.
The story begins (as usual) in a galaxy far, far away. The savage Inimicus forces have set their sights on our fragile planet Earth. Endless waves of battle-scarred troop carriers begin landing swarms of alien invaders worldwide. Earth is consumed in a fierce global assault. The Inimicus demands are simple - they want the world and they want it now.
To resist the maniacal aliens, the ancient Kawari Ninja clan has revived long-forgotten beasts of war. They've also endowed you with the power to transform yourself into these animals and take the battle to the enemy. Which animal you become is determined by which weapon you have at the time. When you're carrying shuriken, you become a tiger; when you have a chain and sickle, you become a scorpion; with a bo staff, you become a hawk; and with a katana sword, you become a dragon.
The two-player mode seems to work best in Ninja Crusaders. Teamwork is essential because your ninjas have no tolerance for hits. Just bumping into an enemy whisks you away to the spirit world. With two players, one ninja can lead the attack while the other provides cover and looks for power-ups.
Your strategy centers on which weapon-animal you need for each stage. If the weapon-animal you're currently using seems to be working well, you're probably better off not changing to another combination.
For example, you'll need the chain and sickle/scorpion combination for stage 5-1's water obstacles. The scorpion can knife through the water, killing aliens with devastating swipes of its tail. Deciding when to change to a different weapon-animal becomes more critical as you approach the Inimicus stronghold in stage 5-3.
Ninja Crusaders doesn't go beyond other ninja games, and the animation is rather choppy. But the animal-transformation feature does add a welcome twist.
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The ancient skills of the Ninja warriors are shrouded in deep mystery and are understood by only a very few masters. As one of them you have achieved the highest ranking and have been taught the long lost art of body transformation. And because of this ability you have a new mission. In this quest you have to travel through different environments and must sometimes fly , swim or turn into a dragon. Grab the power-ups along the way to beat the bosses.
Two lone ninjas, ancient and secretive warriors from a time that has been forgotten, have returned as mankind's only hope. An invasion force has all but destroyed Earth's defenses shows no mercy. Defeat the enemy Inimicus to preserve the human race. Play in either the one or two player cooperative mode and master four different weapons. In the heat of the battle transform yourself into different characters.
Even tnougn the graphics and animation are less than perfect, the weapons, power-ups, and level bosses are excellent! This game does a decent job of holding its own. Changing into various animals adds a new twist to this Ninja Gaiden wanna-be.
Any ninja game automatically gets compared to Gaiden and in this case NC comes off better than many. While it doesn't have the mystique and excitement that Gaiden has, the game play is decent and the animal conversion is a good option and helps the game along.
This is sort of a second rate Ninja Gaiden combined with Altered Beast. Nothing groundbreaking in terms of game play or sight and sounds, but NC delivers solid ninja action with a few neat twists. The 'creature feature' is cool and the bosses are HUGE and very tough.
No awards here for graphics or animation, but these ninjas play a good game. Influenced by Gaiden, but not as sophisticated. One or two can play, but be careful not to kill each other! No intermissions, but the game is fast paced and fairly complex.