Reviewed in 2015 by Tibe

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The Power of the Ninja Nanar

by Tibe (2015)

When I first heard about Ganryu - it was a least ten years ago from here - I thought it sounded pretty cool to have one more platformer on the Neo Geo. Indeed, the Rolls Royce of home systems wasn't too lucky with this gaming genre, with only five titles total released in a fourteen years career. So in Ganryu, the action takes place in the medieval Japan, at a time when samuraï and other ninjas were ruling the place. Your beloved was kidnapped by an evil sorcerer, and you'll have to battle against hordes of evil enemies: ninjas, demonic Bosses, ninjas, wild eagles, ninjas, and then also some ninjas. Sure, some of them are throwing stones, others arrows, others shuriken, other don't do anything... But this makes me believe that the whole Tokyo was occupied with ninja, back then. Finally, it's the view of Visco, isn't it?

So as the game still weighs 178 megs and it was released in 1999, that is, remember, the same year as Metal Slug X, The King of Fighters 99, or Garou: Mark of the Wolves... So we legitimately are allowed to expect from Visco a beautiful, impressive Giga-Power Neo Geo game. Well, you can sit back and relax, because if we already knew that the company never invented the arching bananas machine, now we also know they were not too good at creating games of platform! Within the first seconds playing, you can feel that something is wrong: difficult to say whether you are facing a large videogame turnip or a real great platformer with a huge life, many levels, surprises, incredible Boss, fast-paced action with varied enemies... and after a few more minutes, we can understand that no more than two persons were involved in the development of Ganryu. It's so bad, that I don't even know where to start... I propose that we go crescendo, so let's start by the realization...

One can be fond of the japanese atmosphere, with beautiful wooden dojos, ancient trees of nippon forests, undergrounds with their traps, the cherry blossoms... But there is no reason to tolerate such a lack of creativity and above all, such a mediocre result on such a powerful 2-D system! The graphics are between what could have been a NES and a Super NES game. Even if the game was released in 1990, it still won't have been looking good: so imagine in 1999! The backgrounds are mostly bland and outdated, while the enemy bestiary is woefully monotonous. The animation is fluid, but not particularly detailed: the stages are static and poorly animated, and collision tests terribly imprecise. You can't perform attacks neither up nor down, or diagonally, and the enemies spawn anywhere, ejecting you fifty yards away at the slightest touch: congratulations to the ghost play-testers! The soundtrack is monotonous at will, with totally crappy and uninspired themes, in short, a big shit. The sound effects are 100% ripped from other games but really unadequate. Graphics, animation, sound: Visco has botched the job down the line, we are in the most total crapness.

As you can guess, the gameplay and life of Ganryu aren't fabulous too. The game lasts thirty minutes total, through five boring and monotonous levels, it does not have you coming back for more, you can't play two simultaneously, and above all, the flawed gameplay makes it so boring. If our heroes have different weapons, can catch on different elements with a grappling hook, can slide, hang, jump, swing, etc... the action is no less daunting and unattractive. Enemy ninjas arise anytime anywhere, collisions eject you in random mode, the weapons are not accurate, ditto for the jumps and other moves... In short, the fun factor is totally killed by all these bad things. It surely comes from the absence of play-testing before the release. Nevertheless, the players were to expect much better from a Neo Geo game, both in terms of realization, gameplay and lifespan. So I have just three words for this incredible piece of shit : PUT TO GARBAGE!



Not bad for a NES! Ah wait, it's a Neo Geo game? More seriously, the medieval Tokyo that takes place here is pretty poor, with one-screen backgrounds coming back regularly and always the same enemies. Let's not even talk about the few manga "arts" between stages... Pathetic!
It's fluid for sure, but how poor this is! Visco made the bare minimum, and it shows.
Sound is really shameful for a Neo Geo. Apart from the effects taken from other games, we note a total absence of vocals and very shitty musics.
With only five stages that are not too interesting and a life of about thirty minutes, that's not a big deal. And let me tell you that once the game is finished, it'll be over forever!
Even if there are some good ideas like the grapnel, the slide, varied weapons, a good platform interaction... the inaccuracy of gameplay, enemies poping anywhere, approximate collision tests and above all the visible lack of beta-testing before the game release, will definitely kill your will of playing.



Ganryu heroically enters in the Pantheon of "pooh" videogames, with Visco at least managing to produce a real big fat trash.


It was released only for MVS, but you can find converts. That's exactly the kind of "mini-game" you expect to pay 5 bucks on the Xbox Live downloads. And even for this price, it's still too much. So for more than one hundred euros...

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