Monday, March 8, 2021

Matter of Import 047: Sasuke vs Commander [SNK 1980]


Sasuke vs Commander is a 1980 fixed screen shooter from SNK. As in the last game we discussed – Indian Battle – the player controls a character, not a ship or a canon – you're a ninja protecting your Daimyo from enemy ninja.

In the first part of each stage you need to fire what I assume are shuriken up at flocks of ninja soaring from tree to tree overhead as they throw stars back down at you. First, there's a wave of red ninja, then a larger flock of green ninja that, for some reason, remind me of frogs.

As an interesting wrinkle, if you manage to hit a ninja they fall from the sky to hit the ground – and you will lose a life if they collide with you.

After eliminating both waves of ninja you're taken to a boss stage, where you have to contend with the powerful magic of a ninja boss – the first shoots gouts of flame, the second creates copies of himself, the third throws bolts... and then it's back to the waves of ninja again.

That's the flow of the game – it's challenging enough, and a unique theme in the games we've covered so far, and the falling corpses adds an unexpected element. Visually it's quite nice, too – the sprites are full color, if yet small, except for the larger bosses.

I give Sasuke vs Commander a B ranking.

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