The box art of the Neo Geo version
|Release date(s)|| |
|Genre(s)||Shoot 'em up|
|Mode(s)||1 or 2 players|
|Media/distribution||ROM cartridge, CD-ROM, digital distribution|
Ninja Commando (ニンジャコマンドー) is a top-down, vertically-scrolling run and gun video game developed by Alpha Denshi and published by SNK. It was first released for the Neo Geo in 1992 in cartridge format, and in 1994 for the Neo Geo CD.
The overall gameplay is similar to this of the run-and-gun classic Ikari Warriors, with the players battling their way up the top-down perspective screen. The players can choose between three ninja characters, all with differing abilities. Each of them has fighting game-style input commands that unleash their scroll-based ninpo special moves. As usual in the genre, the game's stages end with boss battles.
An elite group of three young Ninja Commandos (Joe Tiger, an American descendant of the Kōga-ryū ninja whose weapons are shuriken, Ryu Eagle, the 23rd descendant of the famous ninja Fūma Kotarō (from World Heroes), who is using ninja magic fireballs in combat, and Rayar Dragon, the female ninja of the group, a British girl who has learned the ways of the Iga-ryū ninjutsu and whose weapon is a bow with flaming spirit arrows) from around the world must team-up to stop the villain Spider and his Mars Corporation from using a time machine to destroy the past and control the future. The heroes chase after their enemy in seven time periods, including the Sengoku period in Japan (where Ryu avenges his ancestor by killing Oda Nobunaga), the Ancient Egypt, the Stone Age, China in the era of Three Kingdoms, and World War II.
GamePro noted the "phenomenal!" graphics and called it overall "an excellent two-player cart" that "does an excellent job of filling the void of top-view fun-and-gun game in the Neo-Geo library". Three staff members of Game Informer rated the game, respectively, of 6.75, 8.0, and 8.75 out of 10. On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Neo Geo version of the game a 25 out of 40. In 2010, CraveOnline featured the Ninja Commando in the article Top 10 Ninja Games Of All Time.
The game has been re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in North America on July 14, 2008 (though the Wii Virtual Console version, like most other Neo Geo games, only allows three continues per player, which makes the game very difficult to complete without saving progress). It was also re-released in December 2008 as one of five games in the PlayStation 2 game compilation ADK Tamashii.