Review By: dapsycho | Posted: 08/01/2009
The Final Word
A rather challenging remake of an old arcade game. It keeps its old school gameplay fresh with the addition of RPG elements and very solid controls. No voice acting and forgettable music are the only downsides.
When someone utters the name “Square Enix” the first thing you think is Final Fantasy. Square Enix have made a name for themselves by developing and publishing quality RPG titles for years. One genre you wouldn’t expect Square Enix to deal with is the good old Arcade. Published by Square Enix and developed by Taito, a company well known for their top quality Arcade titles such as Puzzle Bobble and Darius, comes a sequel to Taito’s 1985 Arcade game “The Legend of Kage”, but will its association with the RPG giant influence this old school title or will it be able to retain its classic arcade roots.
Despite the title, “The Legend of Kage 2” the game offers you a choice of two playable characters. Firstly is Kage, a ninja who wields a Katana, he is duty bound but when an escort mission involving a childhood friend turns bad, Kage, left for dead vows he will rescue her no matter what. The other character choice is the young female ninja named Chihiro, full of life and eager to prove herself she too finds herself left for dead after her escort mission is interrupted. Arcade games aren’t exactly known for their in depth storylines and although the greatest effort has been taken to flesh out the story it still remains forgettable and rather single minded.
The game plays like an old school platformer similar to the original Ninja Gaiden, you run from left to right killing enemies with your sword, if you’re Kage you can also throw shurikens like wise if you’re Chihiro you get what looks and feels like the whip from Castlevania as your sub weapon. The main attack is generally enough to quickly get past enemies in your path. Speaking of enemies in your path I’d like to take a second to talk about the hit detection/AI in this game. Say there’s a scenario where you have 5 or 6 ninjas following you, you decide to stop to take care of them. The enemies won’t run in front of you instead they’ll run and stand in the exact same spot as you meaning you can’t attack them but they can attack you which although being a pain especially in those tough situations where your life meter is running low encourages you as a player to think constantly on your feet and this is where skills come in.
As you start to work your way through the game after each level you’ll gain a new skill, whether it being able to run faster or perform a multiple hit combo all help in those sticky situations when you’re trying to conserve health for the boss. Some of the button combos can be a little tricky at first and they may seem rather redundant for the first few levels, but later on they can be the difference between life and death.
Not only do you have a secondary attack and performance enhancing skills, Kage/Chihiro has one more trick up their sleeves. If you choose to actually explore the levels in depth you’ll come across boxes, inside the boxes are different coloured orbs. These orbs when collected can give you different Ninjutsu. Ninjutsu are special attacks, you simply arrange the orbs in a triangle within the main menu and depending on what elements you use will produce different types of attacks, in the case of the yellow orbs the more yellow orbs you have in the triangle influence how powerful the thunder attack is going to be. If you can fill an entire triangle with one element then it will allow you to summon monsters which can devastate all enemies their path.