Zen: Intergalactic Ninja

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a game by Konami
Genre: Action
Platforms: NESNES, GameBoy
Editor Rating: 5.3/10, based on 6 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Ninja Games

How do you breathe new life into the already familiar NES side-scrolling game genre? Konami's answer is to pack horizontal, vertical, and diagonal 3-D views into a 12-stage action/adventure game with more outer space ninja action than you can shake a Photon Stick at. Toss in an ecology-minded bent, and base the game on an up-and-coming comic book character. A surefire winner, right?

Maybe. The true judge of a game is how it makes you feel, and Zen Intergalactic Ninja is so darned tough that it will make some gamers feel frustrated.

The Pollution Solution

In the not so distant future, the third planet from the Sun in the Milky Way Galaxy is not having a good day. Lord Contaminous has emerged from a toxic waste dump to trash Earth's biosphere. The environmental watchdogs of the galaxy, the Gordons, have hired Zen, the intergalactic ninja, to teach ole Contaminous that Grime doesn't pay.

As Zen, you've studied a futuristic form of meditation and ninjitsu, achieving superior mental ability and unsurpassed fighting skills. Armed only with your mind and a spaceage staff called the Photon Stick, you must save Earth from the brink of ecological disaster and rescue a young boy who has accidentally discovered a gem with the power to save the world.

The Many Stages of Zen

Zen Intergalactic Ninja is a single-player game, which follows in the tradition of tough NES ninja, hack 'n' slash, action/ adventure games like Ninja Gaiden, Shadow of the Ninja, and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

To begin the game, you can choose from zero to four continues. You also have the option to turn off the music or sound effects. This game's oldie moldie NES tunes will distract you from your intense meditation, so you'll probably want them turned off.

Hit Start and you can begin on any of four opening Stages: the Acid Rain Forest, the Slixxon Oil Rig, the Biggs Toxic Factory, or the Runaway Rail Car. After you choose a stage, the Gordons explain your mission's objective. Each of these stages has a unique objective and an odious boss. All the missions must be completed before you can move on.

In between stages, you enter a bonus round where you use a behind- Zen view to knock falling recyclable materials into the Recyclotron. You can score bonus points, extra lives, shields, and 1-ups.

If you survive the first four stages, you're on a rescue mission to save Jeremy, the boy who unknowingly has the world-saving Geocrystal gem. If you successfully recover the Geocrystal and rescue Jeremy, you graduate to the five Houses of the Most Hideous, which are inhabited by terrible beasts who fight dirty.

ProTip: To beat Sulfura, the boss of the Acid Rain Forest stage toss her with the Photon Stick. Get close, hit B to jab Sulfura, hold down B, then press the control pad in a direction away from Sulfura to throw her. When she gets back up, be ready to jump over her as she lunges at you. Repeat this move until you defeat the queen of contamination.

Zen and the Art of Video Barnes

Zen's graphics paint a pretty NES picture that offers a variety of entertaining game play perspectives. The animations for Zen's moves, especially during the diagonal view stages, are totally slick. However, sometimes the characters blur into ambiguity, making it hard to see Zen or one of the bad guys. The 3-D, diagonal view looks the most impressive, although you'll have to get used to moving at an angle. The game's artists pushed the NES' graphic capabilities, but they left the final animated product a bit unpolished.

In the Acid Rain Forest, jump on the springboard plants at the base of the tree trunk to quickly locomote to any of its branches.

Zen Can Cook

Zen does have some top-notch NES ninjitsu moves, though. He can jump and hang, plus climb laterally to avoid obstacles in his path. He's also got a cool, rebound-jump move that enables him to bounce off walls for more height. Moreover, Zen can use the Photon Stick to jab, whack, and throw the nasty baddies into a compost heap -- where they belong.

You'll need the responsive controls and all of Zen's slick moves to make it through this thumb-blistering game. Noxious enemies and hazardous wastes constantly dig into him, which quickly whittles down his life gauge. For example, in the Forest, the acid rain clouds are impossible to avoid. The same goes for the burning embers on the Oil Rig.

  • In the Biggs Toxic Factory, use your shadow to target a landing spot when you jump.
  • On the Slixxon Oil Ring don't waste time double-hitting the slick oil creatures. You can defeat them with only one hit.

Like ninjas, Zen's players will be an elite core, who live to take on any challenge, even against seemingly hopeless odds.

In fact, this NES adventure ought to pull a few SNES and Genesis martial artists back to their old face-stomping grounds. You'd best be a gonzo gamer, though, because this game's not for beginners or players with a low frustration level! If you think you're up to this battle, then Zen's multitude of murderous levels should keep you busy for some time. It's a tough game, but somebody's got to play it!

Download Zen: Intergalactic Ninja


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Environmental games are making a strong appearance in the video gaming realm. Zen: Intergalactic Ninja is the latest one for the GameBoy! Select from four areas that include dust, smog, oil and a dam. Use your ninja power and might to overcome the environmental hazards and put a stop to the bosses producing this waste. The levels are intricate and difficult, but our world's fate is in your hands.

People say:


Beyond the environmental theme of this game, Zen really doesn't have the punch that Konami's Turtles games have shown in the past. The action moves at a very slow rate and the graphics, while not bad, aren't exactly the hottest animations that the GB has displayed. Action fan or not, this game really wasn't that big a thrill.


The theme of the game is timely and when the comic books hit Zen could be a household word. The game plays OK but offers only the standard challenge. I would have hoped that Konami would have made this, something special but, nevertheless what, is there is all right but not spectacular.


Another environmental game? Give me a break! If the GameBoy was biodegradable, then I think it would make a difference. Besides that, the game is very good for GB standards. The graphics are good and the game play is cool. Its control is kind of like Strider, but you can't climb on the walls. A good GB cart.


Zen is a slightly above-average game for GameBoy which almost got my attention. It has many redeeming qualities, but I would like to see more action than jumping over pits, hitting enemies rapidly until they explode and sliding under short passageways. Not enough action and few power-ups keeps Zen in the 6 range.

When environmental terrorists strike, it's up to Zen: Intergalactic Ninja to save our remaining natural resources. Armed with his trusty photon stick, he must stop the spread of toxic pollution.

Little does he know that the cause behind all the destruction is Lord Contaminous, an evil being bent upon total ecological ruination for his own purposes.

Zen: Intergalactic Ninja is composed of five complex levels, each one with different tasks and techniques to master. Choose which level you want to start on. Save our planet from a horrible fate!

Fight the insidious forces of environmental terrorism as you play Zen: Intergalactic Ninja!

Select from one of four starting stages like the Toxic Factory, Forest, Off Shore Oil Rig, and the High Speed Railway! Before you embark on your journey to stop Lord Contaminous, you will be informed of your mission and how you must complete it.

Use your trusty staff to toss your foes around while you seek out the boss in each area! For instance, in the Toxic Factory Stage, Zen must rescue the workers who are trapped by fire!

Zen can also play in a bonus game where must knock the trash into the proper recycling bins! Konami has put together a game for everyone to enjoy!

If you consider takin9 out the trash a chore, how'd you like to do it for the entire galaxy? That's the task confronting Zen, the cosmic ninja. He's been hired as an environmental enforcer. His job: to keep the star system pollution-free, beginning with Planet Earth. However, the vile Lord Terminus has other non-recyclable plans for our polluted world and its potential savior, Jeremy the Starchilde.

Zen Intergalactic Ninja is a new NES game by Konami that's set to jump into battle next month. You may already be familiar with Zen from his Archie comic book series. Here's an advance peek.

Zen and the Art of Intergalactic Ninjitsu

Zen Intergalactic Ninja will be pure NES action/adventure gaming. However, the action will take place in three scrolling views -- horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. Zen swings his wicked Photon Stick through a massive 8-bit environment with 12 lengthy stages in all!

The stages will feature various ecological disasters, such as the Acid Rain Forest, the noxious Toxic Factory, the Cavern of Crud, the Cesspool, and Scrap Heap's Heaven. In a Bonus Stage, you'll try to collect recyclable materials in order to revive your buddies, the Recycled Heroes-the Lawn Ranger, Pulp, Bottle Bandit, Can-it, and Lights Out.

If Zen's pals are environmentally fit, his foes are full of... err, grit. The rotten nogoodniks include Sulfura, Oil Slick, Smogger, Garbageman, and even Zen's own evil twin.

A Yen for Zen

Zen's lean and mean, and he's trying to keep Earth green. Zen Intergalactic Ninja will definitely be polluted, but in this case that could be good.

Actually, Zen, the Intergalactic Ninja, is a character of a fictional comic book created by Steve Stern and Dan Cote in 1987. Initially it was published under Zen Comics imprint. In the nineties Archie Comics and then to Entity Comics licensed Zen. It became a very famous cult comic within the community of comic book the very time when comic books where becoming very very popular. The video game released in 1993, was published by Konami (America), Inc. and developed by Konami Co., Ltd.

Zen has been assigned by some green, pointy-headed aliens to go to earth and prevent environmental pollution by any necessary means. He will also have to find the largest polluter, Lord Contaminous. This game has got side-scrolling and also isometric 3D scrolling action. Zen is able to jump, run, slice with a stick, or use power-ups just as the game play requires. Zen is a very skillful martial artist, who was trained in the Masters of Om ways. He is also a great master fighter, and is well versed in all the forms of hand-to-hand combat.

Snapshots and Media

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

GameBoy Screenshots