Take three (3) complementary University students, all with strong backgrounds in Flash; pour in their hearts and souls and mix well. Add a year's worth of caffeine and just a touch of obsession, and then bake for long hours and many long nights. The result is this very impressive ninja-fighting 2D side-scrolling platformer that performs as only a ninjaman can.
Ninjaman is old-school style classic gaming goodness and it looks just as beautiful as it plays.
Controls are customizable in this game that features attack, defend and jump moves for the little blue ninjaman in addition to the standard arrow keys for movement. Default configuration is: [D] for attack, [S] for defend, and [space] to jump. A double-jump can be performed by pressing [space] a second time while in the air. Attacks can be combined with arrow keys for some spectacular special moves and abilities:
- [up]+[D] = Uppercut: smack enemies into the air
- [down]+[D] (in the air) = Sacrifice: dive down onto enemies sword-first
- [down]+[D] (on the ground) = Whirlwind: slice and dazzle enemies with a series of circular slashes
- [up]+[right or left]+[D] = Ballista: hurl enemies with a powerful smash
- [down]+[right or left]+[D] = Sonic Slash: thrust enemies away with a devastating force
- [D]+[D]+[D]+[D] = 4-Hit Combo: unleash a flurry of slashes
It is probably needless to say the gameplay is a tad violent, though it's really not bad for a ninjagame. Enemies splatter green goo when hit, which contrasts nicely with the red splatters from Ninjaman.
Make your way through each of the game's two levels, the Beach and the Forest, by killing enemies, avoiding traps, climbing ropes, activating switches, jumping platforms, and raising flags that represent spawn points. If you lose all your health you will lose a life and return to the last flag you raised in the current level. You have five (5) lives to make it through the entire game. Click.
Analysis: It is clear by how the game looks and plays that these three guys, Adam Searle, Jason Chow, and Johnny Jei Le, have created a fun and original game of their own design that they can be proud of. The graphic style is charming and visually appealing, containing a level of polish that is rare to find. The gameplay is typical hack and slash with some classic platform level design to make it interesting. I liked the way the confrontation music comes in as Ninjaman approaches an enemy, and the cessation of it once the coast is clear.
All things considered, the game has a few weak spots. First, and even though each is considerably long, there are only two levels to the game. Second is the relative ease with which enemies can be dealt with, and the fact that you can simply run from and avoid enemies throughout each level. These issues may be addressed in a more "complete" version promised by Adam on his blog.
Still, if you play the game simply to have fun with it (and you don't try to 'game the system') then there really isn't much to complain about. Ninjaman is a great little Flash platformer with charm, character, and panache.
And for those with really fast computers, the team has created a 50 fps version for your enjoyment. I can't play that version because my Powerbook is only half-fast.
Cheers to Garrett for suggesting the game! =)