Apparently there’s a Shinobi marathon in progress now! Next on the list is the Sega Genesis classic Revenge of Shinobi. Another brutally difficult run and gun. It’s not quite as bad as the original since you get a whole health bar instead of one measly hit, but it’s still pretty nasty. You’re going to need all the health you can get with all the deadly enemies, bombs hidden in item boxes, limited supply of ammo, and more really difficult bosses.
Much like its predecessor though, it’s absolutely bursting with 90’s ninja style. The graphics and sound are top of the line for a 16-bit game, with some really cool environments and enemy design. Really good soundtrack on this game too.
Interesting fact about this game though, it stole the shit out of a lot of copyrighted characters. The original game had that enemy that looked a lot like Spider-Man, but this one took it even further with a boss that looks EXACTLY like Spider-Man, as well as bosses that were blatant ripoffs of Batman and Godzilla. The game apparently had to be re-released with the looks of the Batman and Godzilla bosses completely altered, and the Spider-Man one got left in, but the game now has a big “Spider-Man is the property of Marvel Entertainment” disclaimer at the beginning. Oh, Sega…
And now I’ve reached the end of the Valis series (no, I’m not gonna play that later porn visual novel spinoff!). Unfortunately, there was never an English version of the original CD version of Valis IV, so I have to settle for the SNES port, but it does a pretty decent job still. No CD music and they seem to have entirely cut out all the anime-ish cutscenes for some reason. I don’t know why they couldn’t just cut out the voiceovers and keep the scenes in like the Genesis ports did, but whatever, it’s not like the story is any good in these games anyway.
Valis IV sees the Valis mantle being passed down to a new person who has to deal with a new enemy threat, but that’s literally all I know about the story with the plot having been ripped out. The combat feels a little clunkier in this one, with a weird delay for a fraction of a second between hitting attack and your sword swinging, and some questionable enemy hitboxes. There’s also a strange new spell inventory system and the bosses are extremely tougher than the previous games. The last boss in particular was incredibly nasty and I don’t know how I ever would have made it through that one without save states.
Last one of the day was good old Batman. What is it with this Batman game? Everyone in the NES community (myself included) seems to like it, but man it’s such a clunky and overly difficult game. There’s the weird floaty jumps that always get you into trouble, the awkward weapon switching, the ridiculously cheap enemies and bosses that often need some kind of cheap exploit to beat, and some really sadistic platforming bits.
Those long climbs in the later levels are just horrible. I could never get past them even as a kid. Some of the boss fights feel kind of broken too, like the Electrocutioner one where you just have to keep jumping back and forth between weird spots in the upper corner of the screen to avoid him and sneak cheap shots in in a way that doesn’t feel like it was how the fight was meant to be played.
There’s also the fact that this doesn’t really feel like a Batman game at all. I haven’t researched this, but I’m reasonably sure that this was just another Japanese anime-type game that had a cape thrown on the main character and some Tim Burton Batman referencing cutscenes thrown in between levels (P.S. why is Batman purple?).
Still…there’s just something about it. As flawed as it is, it has that special 80’s NES something to it. Great looking environments and enemies, great music, and cool looking boss fights. It just kind of works somehow.