#361 – The Legend of Kage

This legend’s on lock.
The Japanese Barber’s Guild takes no prisoners – or bowl cuts.
There are those “ninjas” I’ve heard so much about.

PLAYERS: 1-2 alternating



GENRE: Action

RELEASE DATE: August 1987

I love the freewheeling spirit present in The Legend of Kage, but am still not sure whether such mindless ecstasy deserves to be praised or judged harshly. As a shuriken-throwing, forest-jumping ninja warrior determined to get back his beloved, you bound across treetops, castle walls and moats, destroying a milli other generic ninjas. Imagine Kung Fu, except not every level looks the same and you can jump fifty feet high into the air. It’s really quite thrilling to hack endless waves of enemies to bits as you run through the forest, but beware, for the ominous one-hit kill lurks behind every stray shuriken. The Legend of Kage is such mindless fun while it’s happening, that it’s a shame the game’s over so quickly. If you’re quick – and it’s hard not to be – you can beat the game in ten minutes. At least in Kung Fu, the sheer simplicity of the game dictated the game’s shortness. But with this spiritual successor, I felt that, perhaps there should have been more to do than just hack, slash, and avoid enemy projectiles. It’s cool to be able to climb trees and jump super high, while throwing out shurikens in four different directions, but if those features don’t add anything to the game besides just being cool effects, why give players the option? Despite the initial thrills and the piles of ninja corpses left in my warrior’s wake, I wanted more.


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6 replies on “#361 – The Legend of Kage”

I love your opening, because it’s so accurate. There’s such a ridiculous sort of freedom of direction to this game. It was one of the first NES games I played, mercifully a rental since there really wasn’t much to do really with the limited levels.

Kage, Demon Sword… it is a little too bad that games of this type are simply not made anymore.


Loved this. To this day, I don’t know what made the bosses appear.

The first time I ever beat one was purely accidental. That boss was just one more guys to slash/throw shurikens at.

The powerups were also pretty cool. Now that I think about it, Kage and Mighty Bomb Jack have that much in common : jump to crazy heights and the color of their suits change as they power up. In fact, they have the same powered-up colors.

Bought this game not so long ago in a game shop in Toronto. Finally gave it a go and was surprised at how short but fun it was. When I did some research I found that it was an arcade port which makes sense when you see how it all plays out.

At least the levels change seasons as you repeat them so it adds some flavour.

C+ is a pretty fair score

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