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Last Ninja 2: Back With a Vengeance

DOS - 1990

Also available on: NES - Commodore 64 - Amiga - Amstrad CPC - Atari ST

Alt name The Last Ninja
Year 1990
Platform DOS
Released in United States
Genre Action
Theme Martial Arts, Puzzle elements
Publisher Activision Publishing, Inc.
Developer System 3 Software Ltd.
Perspectives Bird's-eye view, Fixed / Flip-screen
Dosbox support Fully supported on 0.70
4.42 / 5 - 19 votes

Description of Last Ninja 2: Back With a Vengeance

A great sequel to one of the best Commodore 64 games ever made that failed to attract attention of PC gamers. The Last Ninja 2: Back With a Vengeance offers more of the same addictive gameplay that made its predecessor a classic, plus a few new features that will please both longtime fans and non-action gamers alike.

Although you still control Armakuni, master ninja from the first game, the plot is no longer set in 9th-century feudal Japan. Armakuni was plucked from his own time by a mysterious pulsating light that deposited him in 20th-century New York City. As he struggles to make sense of his surroundings, one thing remains clear: he must try to find his arch-nemesis, Evil Shogun Kunitoki, and vanquish him once and for all.

The game is played from the isometric perspective, like its predecessor. In addition to new weapons and terrain hazards that must be negotiated, designer Mark Cale added interesting adventure-style puzzles that are seamlessly integrated into the game, and elevate it above the mundane kill-everything-in-sight exercise to an adventure where brains are required to succeed. Most of the puzzles are physical, i.e. they require manipulating the environment, although a few are items-based.

This extra layer of challenge doesn't mean the action focus is weaker, though. On the contrary, you can execute a wider range of movements than ever, and that somersault action is much smoother, thanks to improved graphics. There are many new enemy types, as well as useful items (such as a map that will briefly show items of interest on the level, including hidden ones). Armakuni still can't swim (no time to learn, apparently), but at least the water-crossing sequences are few and far between this time around.

With great gameplay, imaginative level design, fun interactive terrain, and many hidden surprises, The Last Ninja 2 surpasses its predecessor with shining colors. Highly recommended!

Review By HOTUD

Comments and reviews

BenRedic 2018-05-31 0 point Commodore 64 version

Can't believe nobody has commented on this game yet!

This was probably my favourite game back on the C64. Me and my pals played it through a number of times, making maps, finding all the secrets, doing speedruns and whatnot. The first game was also great, but this one was the one we spent a lot of hours with.

And the music. The loader music for the first level hit me square in the chest the first time I saw this game loading, and has been with me ever since. Back then I even taped all 13 songs to an audio tape and used to listen to it on a walkman. Oh, and BTW, I met Matt Gray (who did the music) at a local retro gaming fair only last year :-D

Although if you want to experience the full music, you need the tape version, not the disc version which is here. Or get the SIDs somewhere, and play those. Or for a more up-to-date rendition, check out Reformation, which contains some of Matt Grays music (including LN2) remade by the man himself on modern studio equipment.

But now a little rant: When I upgraded my C64 to an Amiga this was a game I was also sure to get, but I was thoroughly disappointed. The 16-bit conversion is simply not as good as the 8-bit original. It's not the same team that did it, the job was just handed down to some kid for a quick cash grab based on the success of the C64 original. No wonder this game "failed to attract attention of PC gamers" as the HOTUD review says. One time when playing the Amiga version I even dug out my C64, connected it to the TV and played both games at the same time for a side-by-side comparison. There was no doubt. The C64 version was superior. Especially the gameplay. Controls where tighter. Screens, items and features were omitted from the Amiga version. Even the graphics and music appeared to be worse. But don't just take my word for it: Compare the graphics above from the C64 version to the 16-bit conversions. Especially the face in the bottom right corner. Granted, a 16-bit port of a game that was a technical achievement on an 8-bit platform does not have to be a technical achievement on the 16-bit platform, but it should at least be a faithful reproduction of the original, with maybe some added bells and whistles made possible by the stronger hardware, but with core gameplay intact. Preferably made by the same people that did the original. Compare this with games like IK+ and Sentinel, which I loved on the C64 and kept loving on the Amiga. The 16-bit port of Last Ninja 2 is just... bad. The C64 version is where it's at, period.

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DOS Version

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Commodore 64 Version

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Game Extras

Various files to help you run Last Ninja 2: Back With a Vengeance, apply patchs, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.

GuideEnglish version 3 MB

Amstrad CPC Version

Atari ST ROM

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