Kid Niki - Radical Ninja
At a Glance: Some things in life will always be, creations guarded by some metaphysical source to make sure every party from your friend's birthday to Arthur's first round table had some dude that screamed "woo". To keep in line with these pillars of reality, we have games that perpetually sit upon the shelf and breathe heavily in wait for their next victim. Right now I'm sure there is a copy of some awful racing game sitting at your local video store that will eventually lure you into renting it for some stupid reason. Back when they still stocked NES games, this game was Kid Niki, perpetually on a one-day rental cycle no matter how many nights you paid money for it. You will soon see why.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here)
Download: Download ROM here
Got a suggestion? Email me
Story: Kid Niki begins with a quiet day at "ninja school" until you see a bird get hit with an arrow. While I would probably just go back to reading a book, Niki decides to get even by brutalizing thousands of kabuki actors. Sometimes I wish we still had this sort of mentality in our modern apathetic culture. Instead of just making a snide remark at someone throwing garbage out of their car window, I would love to see them run into a dance studio with a battle axe. Then I'd finally have a good reason to celebrate Earth day.
It was only at the final boss battle did I realize I had to save a princess, trapped underneath the toe-tapping foot of an exotic dancer (the boring kind). The entire game seemed like an innocent rampage across the countryside to eliminate entertainers and monks under the flimsy alibi of being offended that someone shot a bird. Niki was probably just as bewildered as I was when he had to untie the princess. Caked in mime blood, I can only imagine the very intensely awkward conversation between Kid Niki and the princess that followed.
Gameplay: The level of difficulty in this game ranges from mildly annoying to sort of annoying. For instance, taking pictures of this game was a little harder than usual because nothing leaves you alone for a single second. The majority of your foes approach you like they have a question and all it takes is a tap on the attack button to send them flying off into the distance, so I suppose this game will be sort of slightly boring to people who work at Best Buy's Appliance and Ninja department. To everyone else it's just boring.
Power-ups exist in the game that allow you to do magical ninja abilities like throw a crucifix or spit out watermelon seeds in all directions. If Kid Niki didn't bust out of school to go murder some actors I bet he would have moved on to building barns and shucking some corn. Get it? I'm making an Amish joke. Amish people are funny because they don't use electricity.
Graphics: Although an 8 bit mullet does look a bit better than I would have expected, the graphics don't really make me feel like I'm inside every ten year olds imaginary ancient Japan. Just cutesy enough to make the violence inoffensive, it does very little to remove any of the creepy in this game. Every single enemy in this game is leering, making a sex face, or doing something more disturbing. I'm glad to see that the developers of this game took strides to not fulfill the usual "barely repressed sexual berserker with ten statues of anime girls bending over holding up his comic books" video game programmer stereotype.
Enemies: Very few NES games pit you against such flimsy and sensitive adversaries. The raw power of tearing through those that oppose you kind of loses its luster when breathing on the guy next to you rends the flesh off of his bones. After a while it gets a little disappointing and tiresome. Not a single thing you meet can withstand your sort-of-looks-like-you-are-flipping-a-sewer-lid attack: birds, squirrels, dancers, frogs, monks, birds with Mohawks, kappas, and even more birds all bow down before it. This is even more bizarre when you remember that you started your rampage after watching a bird die.
Bosses are the only ones that can withstand a few hits from your mighty steel. I'm sure they would be formidable competition if they weren't busy being creepy creepsters. One particularly disturbing boss is an old monk that screams out in pleasure whenever you hit him, thrusting your sword away from you as he grunts. But, like a typical monk that's afraid of real commitment, he just calls you a fool and dies after you stab him a few times.
Fun: It's not.
Defining Moment: With the blood oath that all Somethingawful writers are forced to take and the necessary flesh branding, we make a solid vow to surf that crusty lid of edgy comedy. In all the time I spend trying to write these reviews I had never pondered if there was such a thing as a racist depiction of Buddha. I never will again.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).