The Last Ninja / System 3 1987
Screenshots: play/stop

The secrets of the Ninjitsu way had been jealously guarded for centuries, only once every decade were the scrolls seen at the ritual of the White Ninja. None coveted these secrets more than the evil Shogun. Seizing the opportunity of the ritual, he sprang a fiendish trap that destroyed the brotherhood, except for one... You. The Last Ninja.

Your sworn oath is to recover the scrolls, you travel to the mystical lands of the Shogun. Already his guards are mastering the ways of the Ninjitsu. To reach the Shogun's Palace, you must use all your weapon craft and fighting skills as you travel through dangerous wastelands, magnificent gardens then decend into the direst dungeons before the final confrontation. You cannot fail. You are The Last Ninja.

The game
After two hundred years of Fujiwara Clan rule, whose lifestyle was the most extravagant of any Shogunate, the farmers and common men decided to leave their homes and travel to the Togakure mountains where they established the Ninjutsu, The Mystic Shadow Warriors.

Four centuries later, the Ninjutsu had become the most feared warriors of their day, feared by even the powerful Samurai. Their mastery of weapon craft and mind control ensured swift and complete victory over their enemies from the years of arduous training that forged mind and body into a death-dealing machine.

Kunitoki, the evil Shogun of the Ashikaga Clan, has long envied the powers of the Ninja brotherhood and would do anything to acquire their knowledge. To this end, he has sworn an oath to their total destruction.

Once every decade, all Ninjutsu must travel to the Island of Lin Fen where they pay homage to the Shrine of the White Ninja and receive further teachings from the Koga Scrolls.

Seizing the opportunity, Kunitoki summoned forth all the spirits from the depths of the Nether World and flung their full force against the amassed Ninjutsu. None escaped the wrath of Kunitoki.

Nothing stood in the way of the Shogun achieving his ultimate goal, the knowledge of the Ninja. He set sail for the Island of Lin Fen with an elite force of his palace guards and Samurai officers to begin the arduous training of his troops and thereby creating a new era of Ninja under his control.

Unknown to Kunitoki, Armakuni, the last Ninja, had escaped his wrath. When all his brethren had left for the pilgrimage, he had been ordered to stay and guard the Bunkinkan Shrine. This tradition has existed since the dawn of the Ninja as a safeguard should any natural disaster befall the brotherhood when it amassed at Lin Fen.

Armakuni was not pleased he had been left alone for he was to be granted the next level of honour at the reading of the scrolls; now he would have to wait.

Word soon reached Armakuni of the unnatural disaster that had slain his brothers and gathering all his courage he swore to wreak a terrible and bloody revenge on the shogun and all his followers.

The Island of Lin Fen is a natural fortress with unassailable cliffs surrounding its coast. Having visited the Island when he was a young acolyte he knew the secret passage that would lean him to the Palace of Lin Fen.

Armakuni's confidence was short lived as he discovered the pathways were not as he remembered them; what unforseen hazards lay in wait for him?

Game controls
The game can only be played using a joystick. This should be plugged into the rear port, port 2, on the Commodore 64/128.

In order to create better player realism in the game, we have developed a 'Relative Movement' technique of joystick control and recommended that first time players familiarise themselves thoroughly with joystick control before venturing too far into the game.






The main movement of Ninja is activated by pushing the diagonal positions Up/Right, Right/Down, Down/Left and Left/Up. All movements are relative to the way the character is facing on the screen, for example, if Ninja is facing away from you (up screen), then pushing up/right will make him move forward. To turn Ninja around, you need to roll through the joystick switches. For example, if you are facing direction up/right and you wish to turn around, then you should move the joystick through positions up/right through up/left to down/left (you can ofcourse go the other way as well), this turns Ninja through 180 degrees.

Should you only wish to turn 90 degrees, the stop at position left/up. Pushing the joystick in the opposite direction to the way Ninja is facing makes him walk backwards. The prime joystick positions up, right, down and left cause Ninja to move across the road. This is used for precise positioning on the pathway.

Following is a list of all joystick functions used in the game:

No weapon without fire button pressed
Relative for- & backward prime movement
Cross width of pathway
No weapon with fire button pressed
Crouch, search and block opponent's blows
Holding staff or sword with fire button pressed
Block opponent's blows, crouch and search
Stab forward with weapon
Slash across opponent with weapon
Slash across neck
Holding numchukas with fire button pressed
Spin 'chucks to increase power
Block opponent's blows, crouch and search
Forward strike with weapon
Slash across opponent with weapon
Holding shuriken with fire button pressed
Crouch down and search
Throw shuriken

Special features
At any time, you can make Ninja somersault in any forward facing direction. To make Ninja somersault, you should press the fire button while running forward. The distance you will somersault is controlled by which forward direction you use. For example, if Ninja is facing direction Up/Right when moving and you press the fire button, Ninja will jump a middle distance. If you were pushing in direction Up, then Ninja will somersault a long distance. Finally, going in direction Right, Ninja will jump a short distance.

It is recommended that players practice the somersault, especially the distances covered by using different positions as mastery of this feature is essential to overcome certain hazards in the game.

With the fire button pressed, the diagonal positions on the joystick have special multi-functions. First, there is the standard crouch. This is used when ducking out of the way or to inspect an area when searching for items. It is also used to pick up things once they are located. To do this, you must position Ninja in such a way that when Ninja's hands is out-stretched, it should be touching the object in order to pick it up.

There are certain hazards that will require you to somersault in order to overcome them, for example, jumping from one log to another. When in this situation, do not move, press the fire button and whilst keeping it pressed, push the joystick in the direction you wish to somersault.

As mentioned earlier, it is important that players become competent with the joystick controls in order to gain full enjoyment from and be successful in this game.

Objects to be discovered in your quest
Pouch: Essential to carry objects.
Numchukas: An essential weapon.
Sword: An essential weapon.
Apple: Gives extra life.
Smoke bomb: There's no smoke without fire.
Claw: Claw your way to the top and down again.
Glove: Be careful with what you pick.
Shuriken stars: An essential weapon.
Amulet: To give is greater than to receive.
Flower: A vase is waiting...
Rope: Could this be the means out?
Bottle: Sleeping potion.
Scrolls: Once found, your quest is complete.
Key: When nearing the end of your tether, opens the door to success.

Game play
Below are some basic hints and tips that will help you on your quest through the realm of The Last Ninja. Remember, as with all great adventures, things may not be what they seem and we have not given away too much.

The following points apply to all the different locations. It is important to make a detailed map of each section. This is essential because of the structure of the mazes and also to keep a record of where you find useful objects.

Finding weapons and objects is essential to your success. You will be told to collect many of the items when you visit a shrine or drink from a fountain of knowledge. When you are told to collect an item, it is usually to be found on the following screen.

To collect an object or weapon, search around the screen by crouching down and trying to pick it up. Once collected, the object can be used at the appropriate time and place. Press F3 and F5 to toggle through the object you wish to use. Press the space bar to select the weapons you have found. Press F7 to pause.

Most locations have a major hazard to prevent you continuing your quest and are usually near the end of a section. Sometimes there might be more than one.

It is important that you search screens thoroughly as there may be objects lying around that you haven't been told to collect, e.g. on top of rocks etc.

Specific features of each location
Wilderness: Many of the objects you will need for successful completion of the game are in this section. It is important that you search all the screens.

Wastelands: More objects are located here and you must also conquer the Lin Fen mountain range.

Palace Gardens: There are quite a few hazards around apart from the ever increasing number and ferocity of guards.

Dungeons: You are inexplicably drawn into this place of nightmares, the worst of which is trying to find your way out again.

Palace, Low Level: Getting into the palace is your first problem, a small problem to what comes later...

Palace, The Inner Sanctum: You are now close to your final goal although it is hidden from sight. Here you can explore the Shogun's private rooms and wonder at the great sights.

Specific features of the game
The status area: This is broken into sections; first - wounds. This shows how effectively you are combating your opponents. Secondly - the collect/found/using display. This tells you what you need to collect, when you found it and, in the case of weapons, the current weapon you are using. In the bottom section of the status area, there is your overall energy reserve. Next to that are the weapons you have available.

Lives: You begin play with three lives for section one. If you manage to find an apple, this will give you an extra life. If you start section 2 with only one life, then you will receive another immediately. You also have the opportunity of trying to find another apple. You will not automatically receive any further lives in the later sections, but there will be apples to be found giving you one extra life each.

Invulnerability: In order to overcome certain hazards, you will have to use Ninja Magic. This takes various forms, some of which you cannot see as they are hidden behind trees, rocks, in containers like boiling pots or they might quite literally be right under foot. This magic is picked up in the same way as any other object, but nothing will be displayed in the found status area. Instead, Ninja may display certain peculiarities but these are only short lived.

Finally, all the guards you will encounter are out to kill you and they will use lots of different weapons. There is nothing to stop you using any weapon in your arsenal against any guard, but your effectiveness is increased if you use the same weapon as your opponent.

Loading instructions
Before commencing ensure that all connections to power and peripherals are correct. If unsure, please consult the manufacture's handbook.

Cassette: Put cassette with label showing 'Cassette one (Part 1)' facing upwards into deck. At the basic prompt on the screen, press and hold down the Shift key, while doing so press the Run/Stop key. The message will be displayed to press the play key on the cassette deck, after doing so, the game will begin to load.

Important: Leave the play key depressed after the first section has loaded as following sections will load automatically. Follow screen instructions when to insert second cassette (Part 2).

Disk: Turn the power for the computer on first, then the disk drive. Insert the disk into the drive ensuring the label showing 'Part 1 Side A' is facing upwards. At the basic prompt, type Load"*",8,1 then hold down the Shift key and press the Run/Stop key. The game will begin to load.

Following sections will load automatically. Because of the size of program, both sides of the disk have been used. You will be informed on the screen when you must turn the disk over, or insert second disk (Part 2). When you have done so, press the fire button on your joystick.

If you experience any difficulty in loading either version, switch off the computer and remove or disconnect any peripherals or cartridges.

This inconvenience is the result of having to increase the level of protection in our software in order to prevent illegal and mindless acts of piracy. REMEMBER! Software piracy is theft and is punishable under law.

Mark Cale - Concept and principle design.

Tim Best - Additional design (logic and mazes) and instructions.

John Twiddy - Programming and additional design.

Hugh Riley - Sprite and background graphics and additional design.

Ben Daglish and Anthony Lees - Original music.

Mark Snowball - Data entry.

Produced by Mark Cale and Tim Best.

© 1987 System 3 Ltd. All rights reserved.

The future
System 3 Software are creating a new era in home and personal computer entertainment software by combining the excitement of dynamic arcade action, breathtaking detailed graphics, thrilling original music and adventure style puzzles and problems into one great interactive action fantasy.

The first in this long line of games is The Last Ninja, where you take on the character of the last of the invisible warriors out to wreak a terrible revenge and regain the foundation of your brotherhood.

We hope that you get as much enjoyment from playing this exciting new product as we have had in creating it for you and we look forward to entertaining you in the future.

Mark Cale and Tim Best

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  The Last Ninja
System 3 1987
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