A great sequel to one of the best Commodore 64 games ever made that failed to attract the attention of PC gamers. The Last Ninja 2: Back With a Vengeance offers more of the same addictive gameplay that made its predecessor a classic, plus a few new features that will please both longtime fans and non-action gamers alike. Although you still control Armakuni, master ninja from the first game, the plot is no longer set in 9th-century feudal Japan. Armakuni was plucked from his own time by a mysterious pulsating light that deposited him in 20th-century New York City. As he struggles to make sense of his surroundings, one thing remains clear: he must try to find his arch-nemesis, Evil Shogun Kunitoki, and vanquish him once and for all. |
The game is played from the isometric perspective, like its predecessor. In addition to new weapons and terrain hazards that must be negotiated, designer Mark Cale added interesting adventure-style puzzles that are seamlessly integrated into the game, and elevate it above the mundane kill-everything-in-sight exercise to an adventure where brains are also required to succeed. Most of the puzzles are physical, i.e. they require manipulating the environment, although a few are items-based. This extra layer of challenge doesn't mean the action focus is weaker, though. On the contrary, you can execute a wider range of movements than ever, and that somersault action is much smoother, thanks to improved graphics.
There are many new enemy types, as well as useful items (such as a map that will briefly show items of interest in the level, including hidden ones). Armakuni still can't swim (no time to learn, apparently), but at least the water-crossing sequences are few and far between this time around. With great gameplay, imaginative level design, fun interactive terrain, and many hidden surprises, The Last Ninja 2 surpasses its predecessor with shining colors. Highly recommended!
Note: The Last Ninja archives (retrieved from Archive.org) is an excellent source of information for these games and the downloads available (for many different versions of the games) have also been preserved.
Reviewed by: Underdogs