Kasumi Ninja

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Kasumi Ninja
Kasumi-Ninja.jpg
KASUMIIIIIII NINJA!!!!!
Genre(s): Fighting
Platform(s): Atari Jaguar
Release: NA/EU: December 21, 1994
JP: July 1995
Developer(s): Hand Made Software
Publisher(s): NA/EU: Atari Corporation
JP: Messe Sansao, Inc.
Country: United Kingdom
Successor: Kasumi Ninja II (Cancelled)

Kasumi Ninja is a fighting game released in 1994 for the Atari Jaguar. It was developed by Hand Made Software and published by Atari Corporation[1]. In the game, various fighters kill each other for a chance to take down the demonic warlord who took over Kasumi Island.

A sequel was in development for the Jaguar CD but it was cancelled. Originally Hand Made software had another version for the game, with 20 characters and a different graphical style, but Atari mandated the game to be changed to the infamous rip off it's known as.

Why It's Not a Ninja

  1. Just choosing a character is a chore, as you have to walk around in a 3D room in 1st-person view to pick your character, which takes longer than a normal character selection screen from many other fighting games. It might serve as a gimmicky way to select characters, as the Jaguar was often advertised to be capable of displaying 3D graphics, which that advertising was not as common in other consoles at the time.
  2. The characters range from generic to stupid;
    • Senzo, Habaki and Gyaku (first form) are the most generic ninjas you can imagine.
    • Thundra is just a typical Amazonian woman, and her name is misleading since Thundra would imply that she has ice abilities.
    • Chagi is just a generic kickboxer who looks like a discount Liu Kang.
    • Both Alaric and Pakawa look more like drunk villagers that got into a bar fight (as said by Joueur du Grenier in his review).
    • Danja literally looks like a whore in a catsuit.
    • Angus dresses in common Scotsman's clothes, and also has the most infamous special move in the game, making it impossible to take him seriously (see below in the same section).
    • Gyaku's second form looks like a crappy tokusatsu monster that suit better in one of the old seasons of Ultraman.
  3. You can only play as two Ninjas (Senzo and Habaki) at the beginning of the game. To play the other characters and play as them, you must defeat them.
  4. Awful digitized graphics. The ninjas have very stiff animations with not many frames (take Pakawa's air kick animation as an example, you can clearly see that they are laying down on the ground to make the kick effect, also as mentioned by Joueur du Grenier).
  5. Incredibly unresponsive controls even made worse by the Jaguar's poorly designed controller, especially the horrible D-pad.
    • Blocking is somewhat delayed (and is just pressing back in the D-pad).
    • The fighting only uses 2 buttons for basic attacks, the other button is used only for special moves.
  6. Very lacking music mostly consisting of unbalanced layers of sounds. In fact, it sounds even more boring than the music in the 32X port of DOOM which was panned for sounding like farts.
  7. Ridiculous special moves. One of the characters, Angus, has a special move that involves him lifting his kilt to shoot a fireball from underneath.
  8. Input for the special moves is horrible and inconsistent from other fighting games; instead of button combinations or doing quarter-circle motions on the D-pad to throw projectiles, for instance, you just hold down one button and tap in any direction.
    • To use an uppercut you almost need to do a Hadouken motion due to how awful the controls are.
  9. This game was one of many blatant and poorly done Mortal Kombat rip-offs to the point of using the same gameplay, the same type of moves like the uppercut, and the same amount of characters. It is also notable that Mortal Kombat II came a year before Kasumi Ninja, making this game look even worse.
  10. Senzo, Habaki, and Gyaku's first form all reuse the same sprites (albeit with different palettes) and share identical move sets; the only difference is that Senzo has a different fatality, but Gyaku and Habaki share the same one.
  11. You must beat the first and second forms of Gyaku 3 times each, unlike every other character in the game.
  12. Cheap difficulty, the CPU does everything possible to annoy the player.
  13. Annoyingly, if you lose against the Gyaku's second form, you have to fight his first form again. In other words, there is no checkpoint after defeating his first form.
  14. The ending is nothing more than text describing what happened to the characters after defeating Gyaku, which is rather disappointing.
  15. The announcer's voice sounds terrible (and could be considered casually racist). It fails miserably at replicating a Japanese accent.
  16. The plot doesn't make sense. Why are all the ninjas fighting against each other if they're all after the same guy?

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Angus's special move depicting himself throwing a fireball apparently out of his crotch is unintentionally funny for how stupid it is. The announcer's "Cho no mercy!" line is also unintentionally hilarious.
  2. It was an early game that implemented parental controls, which would become a standard feature in most modern consoles. With that, players can turn off the blood and lock the parental controls with a code.

Reception

AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
👆
This game/console belongs to the "Very High Category" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

The game was universally panned by critics. It has been criticized for being a blatant rip-off of Mortal Kombat (including gameplay, digitized graphics, and graphic violence) with poor controls. GamePro commented that the graphics are technically impressive, but often unpleasant to look at due to aesthetic choices such as the palette-swapped characters, the massive blood drops, and Angus's kilt-lifting move. They also criticized the controls, the music, and the announcer's voice, and concluded: "Kasumi's a 64-bit warrior destined to remain in the shadows of deeper 16-bit fighting games." Next Generation Magazine gave it one star out of five, calling it "a tragic example when good ideas are poorly executed" and citing "jerky animation", "sluggish control" and "baffling gameplay mechanics that discourage close-up fighting".

In a retrospective review, Allgame praised the game's visuals, but criticized the controller and concluded the game to be no more than "a horrible cash-in" Mortal Kombat clone that "should be ignored by all but the most devoted 64-bit Atari Jaguar fans." GamePro summarized that "Kasumi Ninja was a terrible, terrible Jaguar title - bad controller, bad controls, terrible menu set, forgettable characters, and an utterly unoriginal premise - that, thankfully, history has forgotten."

In 2009, Topless Robot ranked it as the fourth worst Mortal Kombat rip-off. In 2011, UGO.com included it in their list of the 102 worst games of all time. That same year, Complex called it "one of the worst Jaguar games ever released in a sea of awful Jaguar games." In 2012, Complex also ranked it as the fourth worst fighting game of all time, adding, "It was hard choosing amongst Ultra Vortek, Fight for Life, and Kasumi Ninja for the worst Jaguar fighting game, but we’re going to go with the last one mentioned because it’s probably the most famous. And also the worst."

Videos

Note

  1. Published in Japan by Messe Sansao, Inc.

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