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Nightshade (Kunoichi)

This is the sequel to the PS2 Shinobi game. The game feels largely the same, with familiar controls, but a few things have been changed- you now have more moves, and you no longer have to kill enemies continuously or lose health.

At first glance, the game doesn't seem that impressive. Graphics are nice but nothing special. The enemies don't have the personality of a game like Devil May Cry. The more I played it, though, the more I got into it. The fun doesn't lie in killing individual enemies. It lies in stringing together chains of kills to form a "tate" - kill at least four in a row to achieve one of these, and you're rewarded with a small but oddly satisfying cutscene and a bonus. The gameplay is *extremely* frantic, demanding, and challenging if you attempt to string together kills in this way- the sort of gameplay where you need a break after a level, although it's actually slightly easier than Shinobi was.

I'm still looking forward to Ninja Gaiden, but it's a shame that Nightshade won't get much attention in the shadow of that other remade 1980's ninja game. This is a unique title that's definitely rewarding and fun for the hardcore gamer. A lot of people will hate it, but I give it...


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