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IFCOMP 2005 - Ninja II

Game #31: Ninja II, by Paul Panks
Played On: 11/02/2005 (9:50 PM to 10:05 PM, adjusted)
Unofficial Score: 1.0 (2.0 base with –1.0 skew)

     If you played last year’s Ninja v.1.30, you have already played most of Ninja II. It doesn’t even seem different enough to qualify as a new game – I’m kind of surprised it wasn’t disqualified as having already been released. But hey. It’s harmless enough.

     I can sum up the changed bit. What’s italicized is from the game. What’s bold (and begins with the “?” prompt) is real game input. What’s in parenthesis is my commentary. Here we go, from the beginning:

Dare you beat dragon?

(Sure... why not...)

The Dragon appears to be programming a DEC PDP-1 minicomputer.
‘Spacewar!' it chants.


The Ancient Chinese Ice Dragon appears to be smoking something...

(So does the author.)

? inv
You are carrying:

? beat dragon
The dragon falls over dead!

     That’s pretty much it. Then you can go east, enter the shrine, take the sword, go west, chop the tree, go west again, take the idol, return to the beginning, and waste moves until a ninja attacks. Then you win… or sometimes you lose.

     The dragon reminds me a lot of the one in The Golden French Fry. Why is it sometimes called a “her” and sometimes an “it” though? What purpose does the dragon serve? Why won’t “kill” or “slay” or “attack” work, and how is this even possible before I’ve obtained a sword? For that matter, why does this ninja return to the shrine completely unarmed? How’d he lose the idol again? He doesn’t seem like a very good ninja. Ninjas are totally sweet and all, and everybody knows that the purpose of a ninja is to flip out and kill people (www.realultimatepower.net says so) – but this ninja falls short.

     If Ninja II is meant to be a parody of Ninja v.1.30, it succeeds… sort of. I’ve given it a 2.0 base, because it doesn’t seem to have the same bugs that plagued the original. However, after playing Paul’s Jesus of Nazareth, I know he’s capable of a lot better. That game is good enough to recommend. This one isn’t. I’ve skewed down a full point for needlessly littering the competition with yet another useless game. The source code isn’t even included this year, so fifteen minutes is about all the time I can invest in this one.

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