Kasumi Ninja Review(Atari Jaguar)
Kasumi Ninja is a 1994 one-on-one fighting game developed by Hand Made Software and published by Atari Corporation for the Atari Jaguar. It is an original fighting game that was released for the Jaguar home console system, with other games being Ultra Vortek, Primal Rage, and Fight for Life, and sought to capitalize on the success of ultra violent fighting games started by Midway's Mortal Kombat. The game features a large number of dynamic, three-dimensional battlegrounds using parallax scrolling technology.
In single mode, the player is initially only able to choose between two characters (Habaki and Senzo). Other characters are unlocked progressively at the successful completion of each stage. The game is named after the game's setting, a mystical island called Kasumi Island. The objective of the game was to kill the game's boss, Gyaku, in his true form: a demon. Only when Demon Gyaku was killed one gets the best ending.The game was given a "Mature" (17+) rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board for its graphic violence and gore.Kasumi Ninja was one of the first video games in history to allow parents to censor the level of violence allowed in the game by using a six digit password (by using the Jaguar's 12 button keypad). When the parental lock is enabled, a code is needed to select the "Gore Fest" gore level. The possible gore levels are: None (no blood), Combat (small amount of blood, but none from swords), Disturbing (more blood than Combat, and blood dripping from the swords), and Gore Fest (the only mode with death moves, the most blood, and it has to be unlocked with a parental lockout code).
Kasumi Ninja went through several changes before it was released to the public. Kasumi Ninja was previewed approximately 8 months before its original release by a virtual game magazine distributed via CD. In this preview, Kasumi Ninja had a very heavy story element to it. Players were represented by a guardian spirit of Kasumi Island and could only begin the game as Senzo or Habaki(who originally was represented by the Gyaku character sprite). The spirit would take possession of either Senzo or Habaki, and during the main game's storyline, Senzo and Habaki would have to do battle with the other champions of Kasumi Island in order to free their spirits, enabling them to do battle against the evil polluting Kasumi island. Beating the game with each character would produce a specific key which, when combined, would unlock the gates to the final confrontation with Lord Gyaku.
This method of gameplay would have required the player to invest more time in order to complete the story mode. Players would have to navigate the labyrinth to find their opponents, and characters would be unlocked for play only as they were defeated by Senzo and Habaki. Players would subsequently have to play through each character and defeat all others as they became unlocked. Many of the backgrounds and character designs went through several revisions. For example, Alaric's default outfit had red trim, as opposed to blue. Habaki was garbed in black, but this was changed to represent Lord Gyaku. A fourth palette-swap ninja, garbed in blue, was seen in previews but apparently never made it to the final game. This blue ninja was thought to be either Gyaku's original outfit, or the "unknown disciple" mentioned in Senzo and Habaki's character profile, possibly featured as a secret character yet to be discovered.The final game became a rush job. Pressuring the development team to get Kasumi Ninja out in a "timely fashion" (holiday season 1994), Kasumi's story mode was dropped in favor of the fighting concept sans storyline. The labyrinth exploration and key gathering concept was condensed, but the character unlocking system remained intact. Players were not required to use unlocked characters to defeat every other character before opening up another character for play, however.