June 09, 2015

[Game 051] Ninja Rahoi! (NES - 1990)

Translation by Pennywise & aishsha

After coming off a string of dungeon crawlers, it's great to be able to settle down with a good ol' Dragon Quest clone and one that's pretty goofy to boot!  There's so much humour that within the first two villages, I already had more screenshots than the total of the previous game.  It starts off with modern day suit, absolutely baked out of his mind, talking about the game.

"It's almost as wacky as my tobacky.
Heheheheh that rhymes."

The tone is further set as the intro scene unfolds with ninja me (yes!) having a chat with my sensei about going on a quest to defeat the Skull Shogun.  From this short meeting, I realize what kind of game this is going to be.

No one said the bar for humour
was going to be set very high.

But first, Master Stinkosai tells me to go to the next village and find a dude named Saizo.  Stinky puts the pressure on by allotting a mere hour in which to get the quest done.

Thankfully, the next village is literally three steps away.

Once there, I go to work talking to all the NPCs, like a good little RPGer.

Saw this one coming a kilometre away.

I don't even get distracted by shops or anything; I'm totally focused on my objective because I believe that's what good ninjas do.  Finding Saizo is easy enough and I'm back to report to my master in record time.

Am I a speed runner now?

Stinkor gives me a bag of golds in order for me to outfit myself properly for my quest.  I spend it all on a single katana because, as a ninja, I believe in taking down my foes as swiftly and effortlessly as possible.

Even if they're cute little skull
kiddies in adorable pajamas.

Combat is the standard menu selection fare that one would expect from a DQ clone, but there are a few notable differences.  The magic system (called Jutsu in game) has the same types of spells normally found but each spell is upgradable based on usage.  Finally, a reason to use those early game attack spells that don't seem to hit very often.  Also, while grinding on levels, it's nice to have another aspect to grind on other than experience and gold.  Jutsu isn't cheap either, so far ranging from 6 to 12 JPs while I have around 30 total.  Since Jutsu is technically a technique and not magic, it can't just be bought and must be taught.  Human masters can be found in villages and focus on healing and offensive techniques, while the reclusive tengu masters specialize in utility abilities.  Tengu masters also demand an alternate kind of training instead of straight combat, opting instead to engage me in a mini-game.  For example, the first tengu shapeshifted quickly through multiple forms and I had to stop him when I spotted his true form.

I actually considered just leaving him here like this.

Escaping from combat also works slightly difference from the norm.  Instead of just a straight chance of fleeing or not, the check is done against each individual monster.  Most of the time, there will still be some monsters left to fight.  I treat it more like a Turn Undead ability, especially since all the initial monsters are skeletons.  I work my new power (which is totally NOT running away like a coward) whenever I'm exploring or trying to force my way through a dungeon.  In addition to the regular enemies, dungeons (the first one anyway) have a good luck and bad luck encounter, based around gold.  Good luck gives me a roulette chance to win between 0 and 99 golds whilst the bad luck takes away gold (but only by a tiny amount).

You know what?  You've earned that one gold you ate.

My first run-in with good luck I was indeed lucky, managing to get a whopping 93 gold.  I then promptly lost it by dying after the next few fights *cough*.  I haven't found good luck again but I have seen jackass up there about ten times.  I eventually make my way through the cave and arrive at Star Town, where I find the first of five special scrolls I need in order to defeat the Skull Shogun.  The scrolls had been hidden by the legendary ninja Rahoi due to their insurmountable power.  Just as with the tengu, I must participate in a reflex-based mini-game; this time having to hit a baseball pitched by the most surly NPC I've ever come across.

Put a scotch neat in that hand
and you've got Grandpa Nung.

So here is definitive proof that baseball was not invented by America but by the Japanese sometime during their feudal period.  This scene also showcases the translator's efforts to localize some of the baseball player's original Japanese names to their American counterparts.  What really strikes me is that they went to the extra effort to use players that were popular in 1990 when the game came out.  This is great as I don't follow baseball at all, but I do remember some names from that time, as I had friends who were sports guys (hey, I needed someone to play Baseball Simulator 1.000 with).  The translators also attempted to keep intact the wordplay that I'm sure existed in the original game as well.

I was a big fan of Wayne Boggs (mostly because
of the moustache) until I found out years later
that his name is actually Wade.  True story.

Soon after that fun little scene, I have my first encounter with a master ninja who teaches me a Jutsu ability after I defeat him in combat — this one being the oft-coveted healing spell/technique.  It's not long before I get a few more techniques, always by battling similar-looking ninjas dressed in outrageously unstealthy pastels.

Napalm Ninja here wins Best in Show.

I'm always excited to come upon any new town or village, for I know that there is going to be lots of jokes contained within — some good, and some bad (but in an eye-rollingly good way).

This one breaks the fourth wall while
still delivering a solid punchline with
razor-sharp comedic timing.

Of course, with such a jovial tone set, it's no surprise that there is a certain amount of hand-holding going on; Ninja Rahoi! really just wants to be your friend.  For example, whenever I'm poisoned or near death, not only does the text box borders change colour, but the very ocean itself alters its visual spectrum just to make sure I'm aware of my injuries.

Either that, or it's the fastest cyanobacteria
bloom I've ever seen.

Storywise, I've just found out that I'm the son of the fabled Rahoi (it was pretty obvious) but I've still got a long journey ahead of me and many new Jutsu techniques to beat out of garishly dressed ninja.  Until next time, I leave you with these words of wisdom from stoner bro.

I think I'll call him Dimebag Daichi.