Developed by NatsumeAtari's Tengo Project team, The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is a remake of a 1994 SNES beat-'em-up, The Ninja Warriors Again, which in itself felt like a mixture of sequel and remake of TAITO's 1987 The Ninja Warriors arcade game. With gameplay that expands upon the template set by the likes of Kung-Fu Master, Vigilante and Altered Beast, you control an android traversing eight stages to assassinate a tyrant called Banglar. Therefore, its kamikaze robot story setting sticks closely to the 1987 original, which released a few years after the film The Terminator.
The beautiful high-resolution pixel art graphics are true to the SNES game, but have greater detail, brighter colours, and more vivid effects. The sound composer Hiroyuki Iwatsuki returns to retain his original 1994 work - with bass-heavy, upbeat arcade tunes driving the brawling action - as the catchy music is boosted by arrangements from TAITO's house band, Zuntata.
Gameplay balances the strategy of timing Battery Gauge smart bomb explosions, with a varied move set that has unique attacks for crowd management, which are exclusive to each character. This becomes evident on the final eighth stage's Banglar boss battle, which feels approachable as the slow and heavy Ninja grabs and throws enemies upwards. However, you may dip into the unlimited continues, as it feels harder to latch onto grunts when controlling Kamaitachi, despite this android's fast, slicing sickle blades.
The incredibly short game length is compensated by the replay value of three varied starting characters, with two unlockable ones that weren't in the SNES game -- for example, Yaksha is available after beating single-player mode on normal difficulty. Two-player couch co-op gameplay is also new and welcomed in the remake, although you both share the Armour Gauge health meter and Battery Gauge special attack. While there are online rankings for fast stage completion, there's no online co-op.
In a similar regard to Tengo Project's development of Wild Guns Reloaded, Tengo's game works well as a remake, because The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors retains the essence of a well-loved SNES beat-'em-up.
If anyone has any questions, please let me know. I'm happy talk about PS4 The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors, but I also own the Super Famicom version of The Ninja Warriors Again from 1994, as well as the 1987 Arcade Archives The Ninja Warriors on PS4, so I can answer questions about those retro games, too.
In regards to my point about a difficulty spike in Ninja Saviors when you face the final boss Banglar at the end of stage eight, this hurdle is mostly dependent upon how good you are at grabbing enemies and throwing them upwards. Ninja Saviors is a skill based side-scrolling beat-'em-up, and it benefits from its emphasis on mastering each character's controls, but in general beating the single-player mode on Normal difficulty is trouble-free – I personally found it easier than the Super Famicom game.
Once you beat Normal mode you unlock Hard difficulty, which will test your skills more, and there's variety between mastering the five characters' different moves. Also, while there is no Platinum trophy, I noticed that a number of the trophies are based around clearing the game without using continues, or by beating it in faster times.
I enjoy short games anyway, and the game length of one hour is a throwback to the 16-bit generation, but there's plenty of replay value if you enjoy gameplay that builds upon the Kung-Fu Master-style, with moves more similar to the 1990s Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle-type brawling games.
@JamieO. Great review jamieo.i remember playing this game back in the day in new york city.man i miss the arcade games a lot.we had so many of them in queens new york.this game.bad dudes was a great game also.word ☝ up son
Seems too expensive to me, much like the girl beat em up that's just come out. They both look good but pricing is off imo.
@playstation1995 Cheers, and good call mate, because Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja has a similar perspective to the Ninja Warriors games, since the scrolling play areas are confined to a single plane, as opposed to how you could walk deeper into the backgrounds in games like Double Dragon. It also makes me laugh how President Ronnie said to the Bad Dudes, "Let’s go for a burger" at the end of that game. I miss the heyday of the arcades, too.
@Dan_ozzzy189 The Ninja Saviors is £15.99 on the UK's PS Store, while River City Girls is nine pounds more at £24.99. However, I hear what you're saying, especially when a compilation on PS4 like the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle — which I mentioned in my previous post — includes seven games for £15.99. A lot of care has gone into Tengo Project's remake of The Ninja Warriors Again, though, and it makes an expensive, sought-after SNES game much easier to experience.
@JamieO Great review pal. Thanks for the heads up!
I also had no idea there was a port of the original on the Store, so thanks for pointing that out too!
Wait, so is it a total remake or the same game remade like wonderboy?
@Powerpellet Good question! The Ninja Saviors reminds me a bit of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, because it feels like a cross between a remaster and a remake.
For example, the main tracks, kart racers and Adventure mode were the same, but CTR Nitro-Fueled added new tracks and characters, had a harder difficulty level, and changed the feel of driving karts slightly, so it ended up being more than just a remaster of the PSone engine with upgraded graphics.
Similarly, all of the eight stages, enemies and the three main characters from the SNES' Ninja Warriors Again are exactly the same in the PS4's Ninja Saviors. Therefore, I could see how people could view Ninja Saviors as being a graphical overhaul as a remaster, and I would agree to a point.
However, the game feels a bit smoother and more responsive, has new two-player co-op, the difficulty level feels different, and the PS4's 16:9 widescreen makes the fighting area wider to view – so I would imagine that it's not built purely on the same engine or code as the SNES game. Also, the inclusion of the two extra characters with brand-new controls and move sets expands it beyond a remaster to becoming a remake in my eyes.
Definitely looking to pick this up on a sale. About time we getting some good beat-'em-up on PS4.
Thanx, that's all I needed to hear to feel this is a must buy for me.
I just bought River City Girls and I’m enjoying that. I’ll pick up this one as well at some point. I never played the SNES version before.
Well, that's a pretty random remake/reboot/reimaging that I had no idea was on the way. I used to play the C64 conversion of the arcade and it was a pretty average version of the arcade original. Never played the SNES version so curious to give this one a go.
No online co-op ..... W are not kids anymore so can't pop around a friends house to play co-op on one console.
That's like something nintendo would do they love local co-op on nintendo. Half the fun of playing a game this style is playing co-op and it's not like adult gamers can just pop around jimmys house for a local game.
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