Set eyes on Red Steel 2’s ninjas, however, and you’d be quite proud to hear your voice spilling from their mouths, or rather, masks. Decked out in cold metallic visors and what appear to be grey jeans (heaven knows how they get their denim so flexible – the chafing must be obscene), they’re fast and come kitted with dual katanas, machine gun pistols and Vega-like ninja claws. “No game is complete without a ninja in it,” says Vandenberghe.
They block bullets, never let down their guard and can use flash bombs to flank you in an instant. One moment you’re staring them down, the next they’ve got a blade at your spine and you have a split second to hit the Z button to turn and block (Z flashes whenever an enemy is about to murder you from behind). Vandenberghe promises a challenge: “When they turn up you’re like ‘oh shit!’ It’s a real ‘Oh Shit Moment.’” Much like a magic moment, we suppose, but stabbier.
In a sneaky way, ninjas force you to draw out the best in Red Steel 2. Unlike the Jackals – hoodlums met early in the story – they can’t be clubbed down with your best caveman impression – they need outfoxing. What seemed an indulgent catalogue of attacks before suddenly makes more sense. Mastering the blade and bullet won’t cause the average Wii gamer much grief, but working to marry the two sees the game shine.
Leaving sore-armed, but definite converts, we asked Vandenberghe to indulge in a bit of Red Steel nostalgia. Our lasting memory of the first game was fighting Power Rangers in a Japanese funhouse – any chance of a cameo for our rainbow rivals here? “Those Power Rangers grew up, trained up and became the ninjas,” Vandenberghe reveals. “That’s the official back story. Well, it’s not, but you can say that’s the official back story and I’ll back you up.” So there you have it. And people said no good would come of Red Steel…
Sep 21, 2009