#373 – Little Ninja Brothers

Size doesn’t matter!
Yes, yes, yessssss!!!
Fighting pink triceratops men in a forest… ah memories.

PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous

PUBLISHER: Culture Brain

DEVELOPER: Culture Brain

GENRE: Action/RPG/Track-and-field

RELEASE DATE: December 1990

Little Ninja Brothers might be the most ridiculous one-to-two-player action/RPG/track-and-field game you’ll ever play for the NES. It’s full of ridiculous stereotypes (Chinaland? Cilli City?), the story rips off of “Dragon Ball,” and the over-consumption of food is prevalent! It also happens to be related to the slightly above-average button masher Kung-Fu Heroes, though I declare here and now that Little Ninja Bros kicks the crap out of that game. BUT WHY? For starters, the integration of the different genres is incredibly well-done. Venturing from town-to-shrine-to-boss-to-town across a huge overworld is as 8-bit RPG as it gets, but once you encounter an enemy, you enter into a square-shaped environment and face off against the enemies, bare-knuckle style. The fighting is almost exactly like Kung-Fu Heroes – punch/kick re-generating guys until battle ends – but the battles aren’t nearly as long, thus making them more enjoyable. Again, like Kung-Fu Heroes, items like shuriken or bombs can be obtained by breaking rocks, skulls, and other environmental objects within the battlegrounds. The track-and-field mini games can often be found in different huts within each town or at shrines placed within the map. Their purpose is to teach you new moves or to learn how to use new items, and they’re a fun distraction. If all of the above sounds like an action/RPG striving for Olympic glory, you’re absolutely wrong. Little Ninja Brothers can’t possibly be contained within your definitions of “what it is” or “what it should be.” Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind, man.


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