Game of the Month March, 2004:
Inindo: Way of the Ninja

System: Super NES Developer: Koei
Inindo, like many of Koei's games, is set in medieval Japan and features the infamouse Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga as the main villain. However, it is not based on actual events; it is, in fact, a retcon: In reality, Nobunaga died in the attack on Honnoji Temple in 1582. In this game he survives, giving the Iga Ninja one last chance to take their revenge. Revenge takes the form of a traditional Final Fantasy-style RPG, but Inindo has a few unique twists. As one of the few remaining Iga Ninjas, you must recruit up to two other party members and embark on a training mission to prepare for the final showdown with Nobunaga.

But I'm not here to entertain you, I'm here to CRUSH you!

Such is the power of the Ninja that he can jog across all of Japan in a few days time. Inindo's battle system is very similar to that of the Final Fantasy series, except that you can move your characters around a grid system. You must be adjacent to your foes to attack with close-range weapons like swords and rods. From a distance you can only attack with bows, guns, or magic. This forces you to use a little bit of strategy for battles, but the same one will work for most situations. Your training mission involves completing a series of dungeons filled with traps, random battles, puzzles, and confusing mazes. These dungeons are rather fun to navigate and one of my favorite aspects of the game. You'll receive new special magic spells and skills for each dungeon completed. There are also optional dungeons where you can find good weapons and fight bosses (strangely, a lot of boss fights in Inindo are optional).

In addition to having traditional battles, Inindo also features war strategy battles in which you help a ruling Daimyo attempt to conquer a territory of Japan. This was one of my favorite parts of the game, and it is also necessary to enter the final area. Although these battles are fun (even moreso than the traditional battles), I discovered that using the Blaze spell can guarantee a victory every time. Koei really should've thought out this part of the game a little more! Another area that needed more work was the character class system. While you can choose from a wide variety of warrior, ninja, sorcerer, and healer classes, I see no reason to use anything other than a Samurai and a healer as your backup party members. The replay value could've been phenomenal if this system had been balanced better. Inindo's graphics and music are also downright ugly and don't even seem like they belong on the Super NES. But if you can look past that, you'll find that Inindo can be quite an enjoyable game.

Dragon breath!

Although Inindo is a game I may never play through again myself, it's definitely worth trying at least once. I liked it quite a bit the first time I played through it.

Inindo: Way of the Ninja Links

  • My Inindo: Way of the Ninja Review - A complete review of this fantastic game.
  • Oddities 27 - My Oddities page explains a little about some "hidden" music in Inindo


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