Ninja Golf (Atari 7800)

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Written by  :  Servo (57415)
Written on  :  Jul 15, 2007
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars

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Very unusual concept and still fun, but could be a lot better

The Good

Ninja Golf is a fairly original concept, that's for sure! I don't think there's any other games out there that decided to mix ninjas with golf; surprisingly the results aren't too bad! On the whole the graphics are pretty good; sand, water, woods, fairways and all each have their own scenery which looks decent enough. Sprites look clear and detailed and include ninjas, sharks, frogs, and more. The pacing of the game is overall decent, bouncing back and forth between fighting and golfing works rather well. The golfing isn't too complicated, so it doesn't interrupt the action of running/fighting; you can line up and hit the ball rather quickly and be off to fight more ninjas, frogs, sharks, ans so on. I'm quite amused at the scenery changes when you are running through different areas of the course, such as the desert like appearance when you are in the sand or fighting underwater and avoiding sharks when you land in a water hazard!

The Bad

Probably my biggest complaint is the sound; music and sound effects are extremely minimal and the ones that are there aren't very good. The worst of the lot is the dragons on the greens; they make an annoying buzzing sound and that's about it. Other sounds are a little better, but not by much. Like many Atari 7800 games, this one appears as if it was a victim of Atari's cost cutting - the built in sound capabilities of the 7800 aren't stellar (though capable of much more than this!) and additional sound chips like Atari's pokey were meant to be added to the cartridges. Too bad something like this wasn't utilized, as it seems there would be a lot of great sound and music possibilities in a game like this. I would even have settled for better utilization of the built in sound! Another problem is the green ninja - who is the same shade of green as the grass. I guess being stealthy is indeed an ideal ninja characteristic but it's still frustrating sometimes; I wonder if another shade of green just wasn't available due to 7800 limitations or they just didn't feel like using it? Gameplay wise the putting is rather weak; well really it isn't there at all! Instead of putting you need to throw stars at a dragon that moves back and forth; it's not too difficult, and kind of a lackluster ending to each hole. I also wish there was more detail to the golf portion of the game as is it's a little too straightforward with not a lot of skill involved. It shouldn't be too detailed as I like the fact you can set up and hit the ball rather quickly, but a little more possibilities would be nice. The fighting sequences are decent if not simplistic, but I also wish there was some more variation; by the 9th hole things don't change that much and you just run through the same things over and over. It may not have been possible on a 7800, but including an extra course or two would have been nice.

The Bottom Line

An odd mix of side scrolling fighting game with a simple golf game mixed in; an unusual concept, but the gameplay is paced well and is a lot of fun. Unfortunately it also falls short of excellent; there is a lot of room for improvement, especially with the sound. Despite the fact that not much is nearly as well done as it could have been I have had a lot of fun playing this game; definitely worth checking out.