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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Tanji

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

March 29, 2005

 

 

- Sexy character has potential
- Great if you don’t really think fun is necessary for a videogame

 

 

- Camera is all but broken
- Ninja game conventions aren’t implemented very well
- Most of the game can be blasted through with one weapon
- Twitchy control

 

 

Review: Ninja Gaiden (Xbox)

Review: Otogi 2: Immortal Souls (Xbox)

Review: Dead Rising 2: Case West (360)

 

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Red Ninja: End of Honor

Score: 4.5 / 10

 

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Red Ninja: End of Honor tries hard to be a good stealthy action game but it falls shorts – and way too short to resemble anything close to fun.

Playing as the well-endowed Kurenai, a ninja driven by revenge for the murder of her father (surprisingly not out for revenge against the costume designer that game her the ridiculous outfit). That’s pretty much it in terms of story development – 95% of the game is spent dishing out bloody violence to anyone that gets in her way.

And of that 95% you’ll spend a great deal of time battling the horrendously twitchy camera that does a great job positioning itself at the worst possible angles. Think of other ninja games like Otogi 2 or Ninja Gaiden. Neither had perfect cameras but

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in comparison to Red Ninja… let me put it like this. Red Ninja is a sloppy drunk trying to tap dance; Otogi 2 is a pair of ballroom dancers, dazzling us with the choreography, timing and not-so-subtle sexual tension. But the in-game camera isn’t the only strike against Red Ninja – there are at least two others that make playing a chore or too easy.

The first is that Kurenai’s main weapon,

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the tetsugen, which is basically a dagger on the end of a long string. It makes dispatching enemies a very quick and simple procedure (sometimes cutting them in half to boot). It has two upgrades which make life even easier and opens up the ability to swing from some objects.

 

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Kurenai can wall-run but actually mastering the technique is night impossible. Wall-running is one of those moves that has become a required aspect of any third-person action game – Prince of Persia, Shinobi, Ninja Gaiden, it goes on – so when it’s not done well it really shows. Besides the sensible way of dispatching enemies either by hammering on the A-button or winging the tetsugen, Kurenai can also “seduce” enemies, which basically works to lure over a lone guard so he can be killed with a swift slash. Kurensai is a sexy character in videogame terms so it’s a shame there aren’t more seduction animation. (Disappointingly, there’s no Mardi Gras move.)

The presentation side is – as they say in the game reviewing biz – serviceable. Although Red Ninja is okay to look at on its own, it pales when put alongside Ninja Gaiden or Otogi 2. Also, because of the camera I never got the feeling of “being” in the space – it was always Kurenai and the immediate surroundings. What voice acting and muse there is also average, at best.

How can anyone justify dropping $50 on a ninja game with a broken camera, un uber weapon that makes most of the game a cakewalk, some twitchy control and only a so-so presentation? I certainly can’t.

- Omni
(June 6, 2005)

 

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