This is a piece of news that hit on April 1st so I took it with a grain of salt until a little later – as it turns out, it was not an April Fools joke but something that gamers can actually look forward to playing in the near future.
Those familiar with Japanese game developers will likely recognize the name M2. They have been around since the late 80s/early 90s, creating games for both arcades, home consoles and mobile platforms. They often work as a “2nd party” developer for companies like Konami, recreating some of Konami’s classics with the ReBirth moniker behind them. You can visit their website here.
M2 announced on April 1st that they are in the process of developing a new vertical shoot ’em up by the name of Mononoke Ninpo Book / Ninja Soldier. When you look at the game, you might think it looks just like a game of this style from the late 80s/early 90s and there is a reason for that beyond tapping into nostalgia:
As it turns out, this game is based upon an original but never completed arcade game design from 1988. M2 is resurrecting the design and turning it into something for modern audiences to enjoy. They made an official website for it and interestingly enough, it’s in Japanese and English, hinting to us that Westerners may be playing this one too. M2 released this trailer which also discusses and shows the original design documents that were discovered last year:
For the story, it’s a bit strange, dealing with ancient Japanese legends of the ninja and their dog companions the Inugami as they do battle with the evil Youkai. That said, they’ll have to really increase the weirdness to live up to bizarre titles like PuLiRuLa, if strange is what they are aiming for. 😉 4Gamer has more details and images for those interested; we’ll be keeping an eye on this one for details as to any Western release and what platform it might be releasing on.
What do you think about it from the details so far?
I really had a lot of those horizontal/vertical scrollers around 1990. This time is gone, I don’t want more of those stuff. But I’m always open for old and unusual (!) concepts.
One of the backgrounds is stolen straight fom musha aleste. Another looked like it was taken or traced over from KiKiKaiKai.