So, just when you thought your job was done, System 3 delivered
The Last Ninja 2 (1988):
Programming: John Twiddy
Graphics: Hugh Riley
Musician: Matt Gray
Zzap! Rating: 94%
(Lemon is down at the time I'm typing this)
The Last Ninja 2 is one of those sequels that is mostly just "more" of the same. Hugh Rileys graphix for example are just as excellent as in the first game, just look at the "beautiful" drug laboratory pictured above. The music is even a little better, there's one (boss-) level more and a few more riddles in each level.
Interface and controls are mostly the same, only the jumping sequences have been simplified a bit.
I don't remember much of the story. Quickly summarized, I think the evil guy from the first part was resurrected in todays New York and so the Ninja spirits were sending Armakuni forward in time to fight him again. So at least the game got a new and fresh scenario
Since I already described the general mechanics in the previous review, I thought to detail you the levels some this time:
Central Park: Again your first task here is to collect all your Ninja weaponry. And when in the first game you collected apples for extra lifes, in New York it has to be hamburgers of course.
The Streets: A cool feature here is the traffic lights. If you're not careful, Armakuni might get run over by a motorcycle.
The Sewers: This feels a bit like the dungeon level of the first game, but less spooky and rather linear designed this time. Remember the dragon from the first game? What evil creature might lurk here...
The Basement: Also pretty straightforward, entering a building through the drug laboratory.
The Office: The most spectacular level in the game. This part feels a bit like playing a James Bond movie.
The Mansion: Brawling your way through a final dozen of well trained guardians, also dealing some with computer passwords and secret doors...
The Final Battle: Well, the name says it all...
Versions and Remixes:
It's getting really complicated here, but I'll try my best to sort everything out for you
There's a port of The Last Ninja 2 available on the NES, which is called The Last Ninja. Please take my warning on this: Stay the hell away from it! This version has lost all graphical detail and has horrible newly composed music. There's also less rooms and levels - The "Basement" and "Office" level were merged into one smaller level for example, and it's also less playable. (BTW: Would be interesting to know wether Andrew Davies wife was involved in this project and wether he is the "Andrew" from the Greetings screen )
Now to "The Last Ninja Remix". Ok, you know what a music Remix is, so what is a game Remix?
I know how silly this sounds, but your first thought was right: It's the very same game, with Remixed music
NO KIDDING, I SWEAR!
Well, all they did was putting the game on a cartridge this time, adding an intro and remixing the music. This version is worse than the original actually, because since the cartridge didn't need to show the loading screens for longer than a few seconds, it only includes 7 instead of 14 tunes and even being ok remixes, they just weren't as good as the original tunes.
My advice: Just once watch the excellent intro of remix, then play the regular version instead:
And still not finished here. There's also an Amiga version of The Last Ninja Remix which, big surprise here, is not LN2 remixed, but this time an excellent and actually the only Amiga version of the first part. When I recently said you best stay away from any non C64 Last Ninjas, this is the one exception from the rule. System 3 here went an extra mile and hired Thalion for the job, one of Germanys best 16-Bit programming teams back in the day. (You may remember their legendary "Wings of Death" Shoot 'em Up for Amiga/ST.)
Fun in 2007:
Well, again I have to start mentioning the music. When last time I said The Last Ninja features "one" of the best game soundtracks ever, the one for the sequel probably is "the" best!
I've been beating it twice (C64 regular and remix) for this review, and I loved every single minute of both passes. When the first part was kinda inventing the genre, the second perfected it in every respect. An awesome experience, even today.
If you're to lazy to play for yourself, here's two 10 minute videos of a guy playing it start to finish, enjoy!