Parasitus: Ninja Zero

You know what I love about Parasitus: Ninja Zero?  It feels like a Super Famicom game that just now got translated for North America to be on the Wii’s Virtual Console.  There are a lot of titles on the Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace that try to feel like a 16-bit era release, but there’s always something a bit off about the presentation.  Something undoubtedly modern and out-of-place.   Parasitus is the first game I’ve seen that completely captures the look and sound of that era, as if it fell through a wrinkle in time.  It’s too bad it dragged the gameplay of that era with it.

In Parasitus you play as a sword wielding dude who runs around slicing up various mutant thingies.  That’s pretty much all I got out of the story.  There is a scene early on where the dude spins around while he gets sucked back in time, Buck Rogers style. The gameplay consists of slicing up a few baddies, walking forward and slicing up a few more baddies, then walking forward a little more and slicing up some more baddies.  It’s totally repetitive, sort of like this paragraph was, but the feel and style of the game make up for it.

You use the A button to jump and the X and Y buttons to pull of various combos.  Every so often you’ll learn a new one, which breaks the flow of the game as the graphics and frame rate grind to an awkward halt.  The new button combos appear on-screen for about a second, then disappear.  Weird, but whatever.  You can still pause the game to bring them up.  But don’t bother with that shit.  Sometime during the second level you should learn the quadruple-X combo, which is all you need to know.  X four times, bam, mutant genocide.  William Stryker never had it so easy.

Going back to the graphics, they’re really awesome.  If this had come out in 1993 it would have been hailed as a technical marvel and praised for its lighting, shading, and camera-shaking effects.  The cool part is they are done with such flare and style that they still dazzle today.  Yea, I used the word “dazzle.”  Sue me.  The music is really great too.  The sound the effects on the other hand, fucking yikes.  There’s some big, scary looking skeletal thingies and some flying, er um, whatchamathingies that dive bomb at you.  Frightening stuff, but the fucked up thing is when you kill them they sound like kittens being run over by lawnmowers.  That’s not me trying to be funny.  That’s actually what it sounds like.  It’s so wrong and out-of-place that it took me out of the experience.  The game looks cool, so it’s wrong to laugh at it, but that’s what I did a lot.

By the way, don’t bother asking how I know what a kitten being run over by a lawnmower sounds like.  Long story involving a six-year-old me, a John Deere riding lawnmower, and a calico kitten named Mrs. Flufferstein.  Sigh.  It haunts me to this day. Talk amongst yourselves for a bit.

Where was I?  Ah yes, Parasitus.  There’s five levels to play through, with only a small handful of sorted baddies.  This is exactly the type of game I normally would hate, but I really enjoyed it.  Yea, it’s just the same shit over and over for an hour, but it’s done really well.  The game moves at an extremely fast pace.  Your guy runs at a speed usually reserved for men trying to defuse a bomb surgically attached to their scrotum.  The level designs are cliched and at times kind of dull, but they zip by so fast that you don’t really have time to get bored by them.  And the combat is really well done.  Despite the fact that I treated Parasitus like an X button calibration tool, I really never got tired beating up the various monsters that it tosses at you.

So basically what I’m saying is Parasitus is worth your $3.  It’s old school done right.  It retains the look, sound, and feel of a game from that era without actively poaching any one title.  Yea, I’ve busted on other titles for doing the exact same thing.  What can I say, I’m a hypocrite.  Maybe it’s because it’s not aping a genre that was done to death during that period, like the platformer.  I can’t explain why, I just know I really liked Parasitus.  So party like it’s 1993!  Let’s all smoke crack and listen to Ace of Base!

Parasitus: Ninja Zero was developed by H.A.M. Games

240 Microsoft Points opened up their eyes and saw the sign in the making of this review. 

Note: Parasitus was apparently patched sometime before I purchased the game.  Previous reviewers likely covered an earlier version of it that had a glitch/bad design choice relating to the damage done on the enemies.  The patched version doesn’t seem to have that.  If you did review it, don’t be a bitch, redo your review.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

One Response to Parasitus: Ninja Zero

  1. Pingback: Doc Logic « Indie Gamer Chick

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