The Snake Becomes The Key

Retro Gaming Humour

BMX NINJA:”The Ultimate BMX Contest” – Apparently….

Words:Stuart Hunt

After the surprisingly enjoyable experience Chris and I had playing Ninja Scooter Simulator, I almost felt excited rummaging through our huge box of old tapes, looking for the next game to review. It wasn’t long before I discovered another title whose use of the term ‘NINJA’, rested debatably on its box. Oddly, it was another racing game – what’s the deal with that?

Now imagine if the kid from Paperboy still got his BMX for Christmas. Imagine he fell in with a crowd of two bit, 8-bit ninjas (who looked suspiciously 2-bit). Imagine, tragically, he looked and moved like he had been repeatedly run over by a truck and this whole scenario was crammed onto a cassette tape.

I’m beginning to realise that there’s a significant correllation between bad loading screens and bad games. In BMX NINJA, we’re treated to a picture of a guy on a bike, who looks like every jerk BMX owner that takes riding the thing a little too seriously. He’s sporting a paintball mask and a pair of red overalls – hardly the clothing a reputable ninja would be seen causing death in; but then again, assuming you bought this game believing ninjas actually ride around on BMX’s, I figure the games creators felt they could push against the boundaries of ninja preconceptions a little.

bmx_ninja-load.png
Santa decided to ditch the sleigh this year

The menu screen is equally confusing, for reasons I can’t even begin to understand or would want to for that matter, the creators decided it would look cool to show a picture of a 1940s gangster holding a Tommy Gun. His presence in a game about peddle pushing ninjas makes no sense whatsoever. It’s so random that my brain is unable to generate a fictional occasion that would find two such characters crossing paths.

To accompany the ganster, whizzing across the top of the menu screen (intentionally fast so you can’t read it, probably) is some weird message outlining what to expect from the BMX NINJA experience. I have taken the liberty of repeating this wise ninja proverb to you:

BMX NINJA, THE ULTIMATE BMX CONTEST.USE YOUR CYCLE ‘NINJA’ STYLE TO FIGHT SKATEBOARDERS, BMX RIDERS AND SCOOTERS. A TEST OF ENDURANCE AND SKILL USING BUNNY HOPS, WHEELIES AND BACK FLIPS TO BEAT YOUR OPPONENTS.

They get four words right in that whole passage: “A test of endurance”. It took only one minute of this game for my endurance and I to fallout. After my first full peddle rotation he had packed his bags and was threatening to take custody of my confidence. Jerk.

So it’s at this point, feeling ill-equipped for the challenge that lay ahead, I made up with my endurance and we left our home, setting off on a spiritual journey to help prepare for our next encounter with skateboarders, BMX riders and scooters. We spent two weeks meditating on the top of mount Snowdon, four days uppercutting a waterfall and finished our training outside Halfords, sleeping as close as possible to the bike section. Enlightened, cold and wet, we then returned home for a test of might that would make snapping diamond slabs with bare fists look as hard as playing Deal or No Deal with a pair of X-Ray specs.

So the game starts and in pedals your ninja. Confusingly, he isn’t wearing red getup, or even a paintball mask for that matter, so instantly, I’m left questioning who the militant looking dude on the loading screen was. Your guy is one colour: yellow, with some black detail used for his shading, spokes and tyre grips, all lazily burrowed from the darkness of the road. He also looks identical to the evil ‘Ninja’ BMX riders that you’re trying to fight, which turns out to be really helpful during a fight.

bmx_ninja-game.png

We obviously find our ninja in the early stages of his training because so far he’s only manage to master one move – a ridiculous looking handle bar spin, which seems to randomly decide whether it wants to detect collision by rolling an invisible dice. If you actually succeed in hitting someone, they react by realistically vaporising into a cloud of dust; the only (and I use the term very loosely here) ninja stereotype this whole game displays. Ironic I think, as dust is something this game collects plenty of, I’m sure.

To put the experience into context; imagine if Capcom made Street Fighter 2, decided to base it around one character, clone him, have you fight him continually, then stingily give you one move to kill each other with, and not even a good move like the fireball or dragon punch; a shitty one like the light jab or the block. Welcome to BMX Ninja, welcome and goodbye.

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February 9, 2007 - Posted by | Racing, Stuart Hunt

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