Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
34 Theme Songs of Christmas
Theme - Ninja Spirit (TurboGrafx)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 16, 2012   |   Episode 25 (Show Archive)  

It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
Ninja Spirit
[ Company: Irem | Year: 1990 | Console: TurboGrafx-16 ]
Synopsis: Even with all of the competition, Ninja Spirit managed to stand out. More exciting than Shinobi and less wordy than Ninja Gaiden, this Irem arcade classic remains one of the best ninja games ever made. Today we're looking at the TurboGrafx-16 port, one of the few games to receive a perfect 10 from Electronic Gaming Monthly. Does this theme song deserve a perfect 10? Find out below ...

There's something about this Ninja Spirit theme that makes me uneasy. The song starts out upbeat, full of quick and playful notes. But then then comes in the other part, a haunting sound that sends shivers up my spine. It's not that different from the ninja-centric films from the 1970s, but the TurboGrafx's limited hardware can't quite duplicate the sound. The result has an interesting ring. It simultaneously sounds like a perfect fit, while sounding completely wrong at the very same time. For whatever reason it makes me wonder what the Inception score would sound like if it was recreated by classic NEC hardware. In any case, this theme ends right as it's about to get good. I can't help but feel like I'm left hanging; always wanting more.

A lot happens in a very short period of time in Ninja Spirit's theme. It's very hard to tell what's going on in this song simply because it's so busy. I may not normally be a fan of steady root note bass lines, but I feel like this track could use one, just to hold down the rhythm and give me something to go on. The drum beat is not consistent enough to anchor things, and the melody is all over the place. Additionally, there are some odd volume swelling sustained notes that don't feel quite in sync with the rest of the song. I'm not even sure what instrument is supposed to be playing them. I suppose the song does fit a ninja: it's in and out quickly, and leaves you confused. Unfortunately, I don't think that's ideal for a theme.

What's Next? Tomorrow's game may have garnered good reviews at the time, but its theme song is an utter failure. It's three minutes of torture. And to make matters worse, it's completely inaccurate. Just awful. You won't be able to stand it. So yeah, that's what you have to look forward to.



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