Real Talk By: Cmack
C-Mack the Don here talking about the video game and movie connection. We’re talking today about the 1985 cult classic American Ninja starring Michael Dudikoff and Steve James. This was the first movie in what became a 5 movie series of schlocky, cheezy, and over the top Saturday afternoon actioners, that always used to play on my local FOX station after cartoons.
American Ninja is very simple, it’s about an US Marine who’s also learned the Japanese art of Ninjutsu, and proceeds to be sent on some ridiculous mission that requires him to kick an obscene amount of Ninja ass in increasingly gory and brutal ways. So if you’re a fan of a premise like that, we’ve got some games here to match:
Shinobi 3 (Genesis)
I’m certainly biased here being a Genesis Kid and loving the Shinobi series, but this is seriously one of the best action platformers of that generation. It may not have the American angle, but it sure as hell has the Ninja in spades. With tight controls, great boss desgin, bangin music and excellent graphics for the time, Shinobi 3 won’t disappoint.
The Ninja Warriors: Again-SNES: This is an obscure SNES title I actually found online years after the 16-bit era, and it’s pretty sweet if you’re a fan of side-scrollers. The Ninja Warriors Again, despite it’s kind of funny mistranslated name, is a great 3 character sidescroller where you get to pick from 3 different ass-kicking Ninja robots and cut your way through swarms of enemies.
Ghost Squad (Wii/Arcade)
This might seem like an odd title to recommend for something Ninja related, but American Ninja is a military and martial arts combination, so we’re serving up both flavors. Ghost Squad is a great on rails shooter for the arcade and Wii, and has a lot of great power ups and features, and one great feature is added costumes for your character, a cool bonus in a mostly FPS game. One of them is a Ninja costume, which you can see when your character is in a cutscene, and there’s actually a mode where you throw Shuriken (Ninja Stars)! This pretty much fits the Ninja working for the military theme to a T, so check this out if you’re a fan of Dudikoff slaying people Ninjutsu style for the army!
Shien The Blade Chaser (SNES)
This is another obscure Japanese title I found online again, it’s a very cool first person Ninja title, where you use shurikens and Kunai (daggers) to kill people in this 16-bit on rails FPS. This game is very unique and never got a Western release as far as I know, and it’s a shame, because this game has some really slick mechanics for its day, and the idea of a blades only FPS is something that could stand to be done in modern graphics. For a great ninja experience, check this one out too!
So there you have it! I tried to avoid your obvious Ninja Gaidens and Narutos, y’all already know where to find those if you want some Ninja action. Aside from Ghost Squad, I tried to pick titles that were mostly around the era that American Ninja was released. The series went until 1995, so some kids were watching these movies and then playing these games, living the most awesome Ninja fantasy a kid could. Anyways, until our next Game x Movie installment, this is CMack telling you to stay Legit!