The Last Ninja for NES is a port of The Last Ninja 2 for the C64. It is a much jankier version, with the music dumbed down and backgrounds missing. Features an isometric view, worthless combat, and hamburgers. The goal is to reach the end of stage 6, where the evil ninja Kunitoki needs to be defeated.
The movements are going to look different in 30 and 60fps, truly a deep game.
- Emulator used: FCEUX 2.2.2
- Aims for fastest time
- Manipulates luck
- Avoids damage (except where required)
The game boils down to taking perfect lines to get the necessary items and move from screen to screen. Some screens have an enemy. These suck. Luckily there is never more than one at the same time, likely because the NES would explode. The enemies are extremely aggressive, and just from a glance at any screen with one, you can see their movements are erratic. When an enemy attacks you, Ninja gets frozen in place and bonked in the head. There is a huge frame window to avoid damage every time by kicking or swinging your weapon in sync with the enemies attack, this results in no damage for either. However it takes 32 frames to attack, so it was almost always better to avoid this.
These rooms with enemies basically became an input puzzle, trying to find which directions let you by as soon as possible. If actions in a room look weird, well, they are. But it's the fastest solution to the "puzzle" I could find.
Only two enemies get attacks off. At the very beginning of stage 4, the guy is on top of you, so it was best to sync-kick with him. The final boss does a completely unavoidable hit as soon as you spawn him, as far as I can tell. (And it does just under 50% of your life!) Some enemies throw ninja stars when you get far away, this is preferable to having them close enough to attack. Though this always causes a lag frame or two.
Jumping into screen transitions sometimes saves an extra frame. Sometimes it doesn't. I don't know. In theory it's because you move marginally faster in the air. However, during normal movement this is pointless because of the landing animation. It's important to note I abuse this animation to get some enemies off of me. Another note about jumping, it barely works when enemies are around. If even a pixel of one gets in the way your momentum completely stops.
It should be noted that 1-frame zigzags and similar movements that I do are the same speed as moving in straight lines, so it's purely for entertainment while not losing any time at all.
Stage by stage comments
Stage 1: Central Park
A common theme you'll see is doing a bunch of seemingly random junk and picking up whatever is in sight. It's all necessary. The spider-looking thing on the ground is the ninja stars, an item required to beat the final boss, and only found in the initial stage. They one-shot enemies, but you only get 9. Yes you can reach the end of the game without them and be screwed. The stick is required to activate a boat, and open a gate in a later stage. The boats are completely insane to get across, the hitboxes on them make no sense at all. Of course, Ninja can't swim and you lose a life.
Stage 2: The Streets
Pretty boring stage, collectathon and killing time. The flower pots dropped from windows kill you in one hit, but moving in a straight line ensures they always miss. The bottle is required to beat stage 3. The first streetlight that I pass is on some sort of global timer. If the light is green, a motorcycle comes by and instakills you. There is absolutely no way to avoid this, believe me, I have tried. The second stoplight isn't on a global timer at all and I have to wait. One more pixel to the right would have got Ninja killed.
Stage 3: The Sewers
At this point some enemies start to move faster than you, such as the cop in the room with the first key. This is a major problem, and requires more complicated inputs to get by them. This stage has the pinnacle of game design, doorways that lead to death with no indication at all. The gator has to be set on fire. There's an invisible wall behind him until you do.
Stage 4: The Office
The best way to get by the beginning dude is to kick in sync with him. That's life. To get by the panther guard (?) you have to grab the chicken (??) and coat it with suddenly green opium (???), or cocaine (????), don't ask me. It's required in this stage to grab a code from the terminal. As far as I and my crack squad of researchers know, any code from 0000-9999 is possible. You have to enter this code in the final stage to spawn the final boss. The best code is 0000, it takes 1 frame to input at the end. I tried manipulating this code the best I could, wasting a few frames got 0800, which is extremely lucky. This code only takes 4 frames to input at the end. Waiting an extra frame outside the code room generates a whole new set of codes to test, but none ended up as good as 0800. A miracle, really.
Stage 5: The Mansion
Lots of enemies here. You have to take this really slow-looking route to complete the stage. The key unlocks a door with a precious rope inside. You need this to enter the dumbwaiter shaft (??) to the kitchen, which leads to the room that had the key. Despite the door being open, this is the only way. I don't know. The room after the kitchen is the worst room to tas in the entire game, that guy is unbelievably aggressive. The dark room at the end of the level has spike walls everywhere that you can't see cause I skipped the light switch.
Stage 6: The Final Battle
You have to switch to ninja stars at some point, so I do it immediately in order to take out the idiot guard who lags the game when alive. Ninja was a pacifist for 5 stages, but not anymore. The final boss is one of the craziest concepts I've ever seen. He has to be knocked out (only possible with ninja stars) inside the star, and then all five candles need to be lit before he recovers. If he gets up, all the candles go out. Any you light before spawning him go out upon the spawn as well. The hitbox on him being considered inside the star seems to be generous at the top (where I kill him), but the bottom is another story. See here - http://i.imgur.com/Y23XChT.png This does not work. This game sucks.
Anyway, after Kunitoki explodes into fireworks like most evil ninjas, Ninja escapes through the safe (?????????) and the game is over. Last input at frame 29854. Cut the 30k. Nobody thought it was possible.
I love quirky short NES games, and this fit the the bill perfectly. It has some weird charm but doesn't overstay its welcome. I've been running this game RTA for a while (that line hurt to type) and since there was absolutely nothing TAS related, I thought I'd give it a shot as my first one. Was a lot of fun since most of it was simple. A good experience.
Thanks and shoutouts to magmapeach, Megiddo, Jadian, and Fatalis for researching the safe code generation more than any human being should have.
I had the chance to run this game at Awesome Games Done Quick 2015, as part of the awful games block. Not sure why it was in that block, but I'll take it. Check it out if you enjoy dry humor - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Cqcz7TpDVk
I like frame 17717 of the movie the most. Good screenshot.
On a final note, I leave you with the silliest death in the game - http://i.imgur.com/Vfm012c.gif
Nach: This game looks awful, yet the TAS makes quick work of it. I don't know why, but I even found some of it entertaining. Good response, accepting.