Ninja Master's focus is on the main
character Sasuke, whom is on a quest to kill Lord Nobunaga and end his reign of
terror and war.
Choose your ninja...
Ninja Master's: Hao Ninpo Cho (roughly
translated as "Ninja Master's: Scrolls of the Supreme Ninja Arts)
was developed by ADK and released for the NeoGeo on June 28th, 1996. Ninja
Master's is one of the more
"sleeper" fighting games to come out for the Neo Geo. With a
comparable theme to SNK's hit Samurai Shodown series, it would seem ADK
set out to attract the same audience with
Ninja Master's. Most of the characters of in Ninja Master's are
based on real historical figures of Japan, which is interesting at first glance.
Also... at first glance, they couldn't manage spell the game's title with
Ninja Master's? Does that apostrophe somehow make the game's title sound
more unique? I think not. (Nice first impression guys.)
nice hand-drawn backgrounds... which you can see especially well thanks to
the tiny characters.
Some would say Ninja Master's
is yet another "me too" 2D fighter in the mid 90's... but there might
be enough unique content in Ninja Master's to warrant more attention than
other "copy-paste" fighters attempting to ride the coattails of the
successful games that came before them. In fairness, Ninja Master's
offers a pretty innovative gameplay element. The characters in Ninja Master's
have the option to fight bare handed, or draw their weapon. It's a cool
idea on paper, and was one of the first games to implement this particular
The gameplay system of Ninja Master's is pretty traditional for a 2D
fighter, which doesn't have to be a bad thing. The animation / action onscreen
isn't nearly as exciting as other fighters, but passable. While Ninja Master's
offers some semi-decent-looking environments, the characters are probably the
game's weakest attribute. There a few cool character designs here and there, the
overall roster lacks flash and excitement... there isn't much here that hasn't
been done before (and done better).
ninja's seem to be sponsored by the ADK CORPORATION. How... fitting.
At a glance, some of the
characters almost seem like generic "baddies" straight out of a 90's
One could suggest that the dev-team was going for a "more realistic"
twist on the weapon-based genre, but sadly, the movesets of the characters also
come up pretty bland. The characters sprites themselves are noticeably
"skinny" and small on-screen... yet another negative contrast to the
brighter and larger sprites of the top 2D fighters in 1996 (and years earlier).
If this game was released 3 years earlier, it might've stood more of a chance.
Ninja Master's claim to fame gameplay gimmick of "drawing a
weapon" just wasn't enough to allow the game to stand out in the crowded
1996 arcades. Any fighting game connoisseur of the mid 90's could name at
least 10 games that were far superior to Ninja
Master's graphically and gameplay-wise. In fairness, ADK did put some
"heart" into this title if you look close. Good try, ADK. Good try.
(But there's a reason ADK stopped making games, just putting that out there.)
Wii Virtual Console, PS2, PS4 (PSN)
28th, 1996 (NeoGeo)
Dec. 18th, 2008
( PS2 - in ADK
March 1st, 2017
in ADK Damashii)
With brand new games like Samurai
Shodown 4, Street Fighter Alpha 2 and X-Men VS Street Fighter 2 tearing up
the arcade scene in 1996... let's just say it was difficult to be "drawn
in" by Ninja Master's. Also let's not forget 1996 was the year
Soul Blade came out on PS1. I suppose if you didn't acknowledge or play
the games previously mentioned, perhaps you might've been more impressed by
Ninja Master's than I was at the time.
Ninja Master's isn't a completely terrible game
from its most flattering angle, but it certainly doesn't hold a candle to any Samurai Shodown
title... and there's four great games to pick from there, so pick one.
Furthermore, The Last Blade was released less than a year after Ninja
Master's... again demonstrating the inferiority of this game. But 5.2
is pretty low, Frank... is the game that bad? No. It's just Weak. Honestly,
after playing many other 1995-1996 fighting games,
it's preeeeetty tough to be impressed by Ninja Master's... on any level. Ninja Master's was certainly lacking in more ways than one.
The basic theme of Ninja Master's is certainly cool... I've loved
the idea of "Ninja VS Samurai" ever since I was a kid.
Speaking of which, I could've come up with a better title for a game than "Ninja Masters"
when I was 6 years old. This game actually gave me flashbacks of seeing cheap
knock-off ninja action figures when my mom used to take me to dollar stores.
That's what some of the characters of Ninja Master's remind me of...
dollar store knockoffs.
Alright, I've had my fun... I'll stop picking on this game now.
In retrospect, if you're a diehard fan
of weapon based 2D fighting games... yes, I suppose you could find something
to enjoy about Ninja Master's. But there' certainly nothing in this game
that you can't get in
SNK's Last Blade or Samurai Shodown. If you've never
played Ninja Master's, you're really not missing out on much (except
for maybe finding yourself adapting some poor grammar habits).