HOME

Every Atari 7800 Game Reviewed
Articles
Funkmaster V Challenges
Cheat to Win
The List of Lists






SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: 9th Best Official Release

Genre Rank: Hybrid (Fighting/ Sports)

Awards: None
Hi, this page is all about ninjas, REAL NINJAS. This site is awesome. My name is Robert and I can't stop thinking about ninjas. These guys are cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet. Pros: Fun, light-hearted game/ Challenging
Cons: Alone, the Fighting and Golf Portions of the Game are Very Basic
The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.


Overview: Does the Atari 7800 have a "killer app"? That's an interesting question to mull over if you are a Prosystem apologist,
and in my opinion, there are two possible answers: #1) No. LOL... That's probably the short, unsweet, and honest answer, because the system's sales sucked. #2) Maybe... in a weird, falling up the steps way in the new millennium, the answer could be Ninja Golf. This title is one of the "Prosystem Posse" games of exclusive Atari 7800 licensed releases that people grin from ear to ear when they mention it. Aspiring and new collectors ALWAYS say "Ohhh... I need to get that Ninja Golf game!" The title is a silly one: A ninja needs to graduate ninja school, so he's got to shoot a low round of golf while surviving waves of ninjas, sharks, dragons and God knows what else. The game is fun, but I feel its adored in spite of its glaring weaknesses.

Graphics: The best graphics in Ninja Golf are definitely when you make it to the green to fight the fire-breathing dragons. This part of the game has a definite Shuriken flava to it. Another nice touch is when the ninja runs into different terrains. Upon entering a new part of the golf course... like a bunker, water hazard, or the rough, the backgrounds change into new realms. If you have to go through a sand trap, you all of a sudden are in the desert. If the journey to the ball takes you through a water hazard...BOOM! You are swimming with the sharks! All of this may be real corny, but it at least breaks the monotony of running from point A to point B. Overall, everything has a real flat 2-D look to it, except for the green shots, which again, are pretty spectacular.

Sound: Sound effects are minimal, limited to hitting the ball, battle grunts, fire bursts and other quick blurbs. Sometimes there's surprising music interludes. When you go through a sand trap, you are treated to a snake charmer's tune! If you are lucky or skilled enough to beat the game, the Marine's Hymn plays over an otherwise Japanese themed conclusion. That's pretty stupid. Other than that, crank up the stereo when playing this game, because Ninja Golf is sonically bankrupt overall.

Gameplay: The golf part of the game is REAL simple, which is probably OK, because the perils of playing 9 holes of golf is traumatizing enough for some of us, not to mention fighting for your life against hordes of ninjas. Basically a dot moves from where you are on the map out to a spot where the ninja can hit it the farthest. Then, it disappears and starts over. It's similar to a kick meter in an 80's American Football game. You can get the hang of this rather quickly, and after a couple of plays the only strategy to this is whether or not to make the path between you and the ball go through certain realms or not, which can eliminate adversaries if positioned correctly. Since there is no putting in the game, it is rather easy to get the ball on the green in two or three shots and make a great score. In combat mode, the left button jumps...a long slow-motion Jordan-esque jump, that is, and the right button attacks. The flaw here is that many kicks accidentally turn into the throwing of ninja stars and vice versa. Since throwing stars are in short supply, this gets irritating fast. But, the action is more or less fast, furious, and most importantly, fun. It has a real Kung-Fu Master feel to it. And lastly, the fire-breathing dragon stage is very much like the throwing star scene from the game Shuriken. You throw ninja stars at a zig-zagging dragon as he shoots fire balls at you. Gameplay here is smooth.

Originality: Hmmmm.......Ninjas who play golf..........I'd say that's original. 5 stars!

Value: I personally think this game is a hoot, and it's fun to pick up the joystick and try to beat the waves of ninjas and crazed wildlife silly. There's really not a lot of golf here; it is rather simplistic. If Atari's programmers could have combined Mean 18's golf engine and Ninja Golf's fighting engine...now that would have been a game!!! Although the golf part may be simple, you can still get into trouble with water hazards, sand traps, and the woods. This could dork up your score, but it will only cost you bonus points and doesn't effect whether or not you can beat the game, no matter how badly you do. The real drama here comes from the fighting part of the engine, and getting through all 9 holes is quite challenging on any difficulty level.

Overall: This game is unique and a hoot to play. I think it personifies what video games should be...Just plain fun. The Atari programmers hit a hole in one on this one, using creativity to overcome technical shortcomings of the system in the early 90s to make a title people still gush over today. Alone, the fighting part of the game and the golf part of the game are incredibly shallow... but like Basketbrawl, the system's other sports/ fighting hybrid, the genius of the marriage of these two genres is greater than the sum of its parts.



Other Reviews:
The Atari Times: 9 out of 10
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 4.0 out of 5.0 (Very Good)
Atari Gaming Headquarters: 7 out of 10
Video Game Critic: C+
Digital Press: 4 out of 10





Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Mitch Orman, owner of The Atari 7800 Page for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.

Check out this totally sweet ninja site. And I when I say it's sweet, I mean it totally rules.