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About the Story
You are a lone ninja, protecting a shinto shrine of Japan. Your goal is to avoid capture by the Evil One, a deft ninja from a rival shrine. He is nearby, but you don't know exactly where. And it is dark outside, with only your senses to trust...
36th Place - 10th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2004)
A very short game, with the main challenge of making the parser understand what you actually mean. The bad quality of this work might be deliberate; however, even if it was, this fact wouldn't add anything to the game's charm (or its rating, for that matter).
-- Valentine Kopteltsev
You start in an ungrammatical, boring room, which includes a shrine that you cannot enter and mountains that are too far away even to be examined. Aside from various peculiarities of syntax and parsing, there is one painfully obvious puzzle to be solved.
-- Carolyn Magruder
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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
It's just really not good at all. But there is a way to enjoy it, at least for me. See, I like to think that there exists a tiny sliver of possibility that Panks is actually just a satirist with a very, very, very dry wit. I mean, really -- if IF were a Christopher Guest movie, Panks would just have to be a character. It's almost as if he's playing a character all the time in his postings, and this game works perfectly as reductio ad absurdum interactive fiction. Look at it as a parody, as perfectly straight-faced and utterly ridiculous all at once, and it may provide a moment's entertainment. Of course, that doesn't mean you'd give it a high score in the comp or anything.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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Ninja is very brief text adventure by Paul Panks, who was apparently a rather notorious creator of interactive fiction. The game appears to have been programmed from scratch in BASIC, which probably explains why there are some issues.
The writing is very minimal. The objective of Ninja is not explained to the player in the game; but the game consists of only four simple rooms (that I could find), so it wasn't hard for me to figure out what was going on. It seems an idol must be taken from a rival clan's shrine and placed in your own shrine. The game features one simple puzzle (besides figuring out the main objective). It also seems that there is some janky random combat, as I was killed instantly by another ninja on my first attempt to take the idol (I never encountered an enemy again on subsequent playthroughs). There are a couple of glaring errors in the design (some text appears in a room description when it shouldn't, and an important item can't be examined), but the game basically works.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend playing Ninja unless, like me, you find yourself wondering "Who was Paul Panks, and why were his games so infamous?" I'm not sure Ninja answered my questions, but I have at least been given a small introduction to the works of Panks.
In this game, you play a ninja who has to retrieve a golden idol.
It's super short, with only 3 or 4 activities you need to execute.
I'm giving it 2 stars because the writing is descriptive, and because the small writing that was there did give a nice atmosphere.
But otherwise, this is tiny, with poor planning decisions and an obnoxious parser (it commits that horrible offense of understanding a command, telling you it's wrong, and telling you what command you should type instead).
Short BASIC game about a ninja who must do something to someone, but ends up moving between two or three underdescribed locations and winning the game for no apparent reason. Probably contains less words than this review. Extremely buggy.