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Ninja: Shadow of Darkness
Score: 92%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Core Design
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics are very well done, with a splendid attention given to detail. Notice the woodland creatures scurrying through the forest and the fish swimming in the water. The stream in the first level is truly entrancing. The FMV at the beginning tells the story well and delivers the quality we have come to expect from Eidos and Core, the team who brought us Tomb Raider. The oriental music tinkering in the background envelops the player and definitely enhances gameplay.

It's a slightly overhead 3rd person view in a 3D environment. But don't think for a moment that it's a take-off of Tomb Raider. Ninja has it's own individual elements. The story revolves around two warring factions in Japan, one of which employs the use of demons to get an edge in the battle. Well, long story short, the demons overrun the land and a young ninja named Kurosawa must battles the demonic forces to rid his homeland of the evil inhabitants. This means, of course, that you will wage war with all manner of creatures throughout a myriad of levels, picking up weapons along the way. Pick up everything you can, because when you finally finish a level, you can exchange your money for cool stuff at the creepy shopkeeper's place. Elements such as rain and lightning have been incorporated in the levels, and the effect is cool. It's a good adventure game with large, well done levels filled with hidden goodies. And it's always fun to sneak up on a lounging undead guy in a big straw hat and kick his ass.

This game is pretty darn hard. Getting through the levels is tough and this is the only way you are able to save the game to a memory card. The numerous Power Ups that you are able to pick up are a great help, whether in trunks scattered about or hidden in secret places.

Game Mechanics:
Well, Ninja is Analog compatible, but not Dual Shock, which is a shame. The controls are pretty standard, and the bottom L and R buttons are used for Special Weapons/ Magic. As you meander throughout the levels, open all of the trunks, but exercise caution. Some contain bombs, so open it and back away. In the stream area of Level One, don't be afraid of the Giant Crab. Just shoot him and he dies quickly. One cool feature that every gamer should appreciate is the fact that all of the enemies you kill stay dead. Meaning, you can start a game at a save point if you've just died and the enemies won't reappear like they do on some other games.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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