You thought I forgot, didn't you? Or, perhaps more accurately, you didn't remember me saying anything about doing TG16 games or weren't aware in the first place. Well, I stated in my 2013 Resolutions blog that I would break out and beat a Turbografx-16 game every month this year for a bit of retro Turbo action as a way to address my unfortunate unfamiliarity with NEC's 8/16-bit hybrid console, since it skipped Europe entirely back in its heyday. I've mentioned the site a few times, but the very excellent internet documentary/entertainment series Chrontendo has been experimenting with a spin-off feature called Chronturbo that details the early games and history of the maligned console and I've rediscovered an interest in going back and playing a few of its best received titles.
For the record, I've been purchasing these games for the Wii's Virtual Console with all these free points I get for Club Nintendo from buying new games (though my new copy of Pandora's Tower didn't seem to come with a scratchcard Club Nintendo slip, so maybe they've stopped doing the points thing over here?). I'm still holding out for an official TG16 compilation though, possibly like the ones for Mega Drive games on Steam since that'll make it way easier to capture screenshots. Let's pretend we all live in that world, so I don't have to explain where all these pictures came from. Yes? Agreed.
My first game for this feature, tentatively dubbed TurboMento-12 (because, you know, twelve months in a year), is: Ninja Spirit, Irem's Arcade game answer to Ninja Gaiden which received its best home version on the TG16. It got a few releases on home computers too, but we all know how ass those tend to be. I know I do; I owned a damn Atari ST. Try playing anything originally from the Arcades on that business and see how much fun they are (N.B. The Amiga/Atari ST had a lot of strong points, don't get me wrong, it's just Arcade ports were not one of them).
Anyway, enough digressions. I'ma briefly take you through the entire game just below. It's... it's not a particularly long game. The Ninja Spirit that burns twice as bright burns for half as long, or something.
C'mon, Give This Feature a Chance! Where's Your Christmas Ninja Spirit?
After Mummies Alive! is comprehensively turned into Mummies Not Alive!, the dog (or wolf, I guess) changes back to its animal form, its task complete. His ninja master is avenged and only half a million other ninjas had to die in the process.
That's Ninja Spirit: It's a lot of fun, and hasn't aged to become this hard-as-nails completely inaccessible 8-bit game like so many others of its era. You have infinite continues (one of the few Arcade games to graciously leave that part in instead of imposing a hard limit) and its more difficult sequences just take a bit of trial and error, or luck. Sometimes it's as simple as trying a different weapon or not just wading through everything with your clones. Overall the game took about an hour to complete, so maybe don't rush out and spend $30 on it (though if anyone out there is actually charging that much, you can feel free to kick them in the teeth) but it's a worthy purchase consideration for the Wii Virtual Console or that aforementioned hypothetical Steam compilation I hope someone gets around to.
What is Irem even doing these days? Oh, they've gone back into full-time Pachinko machine production. Figures. Well, you have my assurance that at the very least this particular Irem product isn't completely balls.