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OTOBOKE NINJA COLOSSEUM
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game cartridge
おとぼけ忍者コロシアム
©1995 Intec inc.
©Mint co.,ltd
Release: 1995-02-25 (¥8800)
Cartridge SHVC-AOCJ
Action/Puzzle game


Otoboke Ninja Colosseum is a puzzle/action game by Mint and published by Intec. The game features two ninja girls racing after a mysterious thief who managed to hide deep inside an odd looking cave. The game is clearly inspired by Hudson Soft's Bomberman, and instead of bombs, our heroines drop spiked balls that shoot lethal shurikens in four directions. Unlike Bomberman, the shurikens don't have a limited range and simply fly until they hit something. Another unusual feature of Otoboke Ninja Colosseum is a neat chain attack. Each girl can throw a chain with a metal ball at the end of it - the chain can go around corners, activate shuriken balls or grab rocks and other items scattered around the gamefield. Interestingly, shurikens are often not enough to kill enemies and they merely stun them for a short amount of time. Only the chain can give them the final blow, and this technique is especially true for bosses. This is also the case for our heroine who ends up stunned if hit by a shuriken or a monster - she'll however loose a life in the process. The goal of the game, as expected, is to clean all the enemies from each stage and to run to the exit. Later stages, however, introduce puzzles to solve such as removing blocks with the chain or dealing with a complex networks of teleporters. Tons of power-ups are available, from speed-capsules, time, extra shuriken-ball, invisible shuriken-balls and so forth. Some can even power-up the chain and get it, for instance, to break blocks. Finally, a battle mode is of course available where up to four players can fight each other in specialized arenas. The same gameplay rules apply and each player must first stun and then hit his opponents with the chain in order to score a win.
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I didn't really know what to expect when I purchased Otoboke Ninja Colosseum. But a quick look at the back of the box and the various screenshots was enough to convince me to buy the game. However, was it worth the risk ? Well, the game looks like an obvious rip-off of Bomberman but I wasn't initially sure how well Otoboke Ninja Colosseum achieved the goals set out by its excellent predecessor. But... YES! Intec did a great job and did exactly what they intended to do. Otoboke Ninja Colosseum is not as sublime as Bomberman, for sure, but it tries nevertheless to be different and doesn't follow a simple (and shameful) "copy and paste" formula. And in that respect, it definitely succeeds and delivers the goods. Otoboke Ninja Colosseum is fun and you'll often get back to it, thanks to a good balance of strategy and action. The multi-player mode is also fun but not as intense as Bomberman. All in all, a great title worth hunting out.




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