Sad Clown, Dead Clown: Ninja Clowns Review

Last week we started look at weird Arcade games with Ninja Baseball Batman! Since I still had some fight left in me I decided to look at what else could be Ninja’s I know turtles could but Clowns was new to me! After playing this game I am not sure if clowns make great Ninjas , but apparently they DO make good zombies……..and tornadoes .. but that’s another story.

<Disclaimer> All Experience with this game are based on a single player experience with no prior knowledge of the game, any opinion I give of it will be done from this angle and this angle alone….why am I even defending my opinion of Ninja Clowns?! <End of Disclaimer>

Ninja Clowns was a 1991 arcade game created by Strata, who at the time was better known for their arcade cabinets Time Killers and Blood storm! In this game you take on the role of a clown. Another clown.. but an evil one by the name of Twisto has decided to turn the world into evil zombie clowns! This creates a dozen of enemies for the player to fight which are sometimes tied to the circus and sometimes to the city. For example there are cops who roll exploding donuts at you but also bearded ladies who vomit at you and of course there are a lot of zombie clowns! Luckily you as a random unnamed clown got something they do not have! You are a Ninja as well. Where Ninja Baseball Bat Man gave you access to some ninja techniques though their game, Clown here keeps the fact that he is a Ninja very well hidden. There is nothing remotely ninja about this clown neither in move set nor design! He has a connection with god though or so it seems.

While it can be quite fun to fight against Elvis who tries to beat you up with an accordion or a french pantomime who drops pizza’s each time you hit him this game thoroughly lacks the fun factor that good Arcade games has.. and that is only one of it’s problems. While it definitely is weird and random.. and in that matter is right up my alley the game is very forgettable. This clown in design is the most generic standard clown you can think off.  At least give him a ninja mask?! Or make it a clown suit but with Ninja Colours?! A bandana, a sword? A Ninja walk cycle?! A very cool stern look?! I don’t know but I just spend 30 seconds coming up with ideas and even one of those would make him feel just a bit more like a Ninja. It is a cute clown..i’ll say that but put it to next to 4 other video game clowns and ask me to choose the protagonist of Ninja Clowns and I would struggle big time.

The vomiting bearded lady  the egg farting buff chicken lady with big boobs, the balloon animal spawning flask of helium  and the purple cabbage spider filled with popcorn are visually interesting enemies to fight  they are nothing more than that description about them that I just gave. Plenty of Beat ‘em Up had at least a name and health bar for their enemies.  It resulted in Poison becoming the known character she is for example or Abobo! This game lacks anything of the sorts Bob the Elvis impersonator, The Amazing Bunny the magician or anything of a name would already have made this experience so much more memorable.. but instead it just meanders on. Keep pressing the buttons until you die, Keep feeding quarters into the machine until it is beaten.  Whatever is in your way does not matter.

While there are two cut-scenes  they aren’t very funny either! Just a fake ending with more enemies beyond.. which was so clear because of the level progression screen.. and and ending screen that has the normalised version of the characters saying goodbye to the still nameless clown as he scoots off in a tiny car. As a result  this game is so un-noticeable that THAT is the most ninja about it. Other than that, there is NO tie in to eastern stealth warriors at all, not in story, not in elements, not in techniques, and certainly not in hero design! That doesn’t really have to be bad.. a beat them up named Clown Clowns could still be fun but I expected a hilarious hybrid between two clashing worlds like with my beloved Ninja Baseball Bat Men I reviewed last week! Now I got the hand buzzer of disappointment…and the game has barely begun!

For about 45 minutes out of the hour that it took me to complete this game, I found this game to be aggressively boring. Only after the first stage I realised.. I want to be done with this game and it would go on for some painfully long and uninteresting stages. While this game does have children and woman who just want to make out with you to beat up , Elvis and Orcs on Unicycles this game is a total snooze fest. Which is in it’s own quite an achievement!  How do you make a game where you fight a purple spider with a cabbage body, which holds popcorn.. boring?! The answer unfortunately is in every single way imaginable. I am honestly searching for positives here but I could not find one except for the enemy design.. and after two stages most of the enemies loop!  Not even in colour variations either.. the exact same plumbers and ring masters. Over and over and over again. None of them have very interesting mechanics. Except for the bearded lady who projectile vomits at you! The rest..just punches.

There are pick ups in the game which consist of come iconic clown weapons, such as the spray bottle, a tomato and a gun that shoots a fists. There’s also some water balloons but they are the same as the tomato and the boxing glove pistol really isn’t good as it’s a melee weapon and you don’t really need something to punch harder with. I could say that they at least tried but these are literally the first things you name when thinking about clowns they did not try that hard.  You can punch kick or block.. i think .. but the last technique is useless.. it will just toss your item is you have anything but those items get used up so fast it hardly even matters.  Just like how you attack something.  Where it could have been fun to use the kick to attack lower enemies such as wind up teeth and the punch for higher enemies  both strike center torso so if an enemy is smaller than you, you’ll have to finagle about to get yourself into an opportunity to kick it.  As a result the moves don’t really feel diverse.. just  like an alternative visual to the same thing. Since you can’t combo either it’s just very bland experience.

The most boring part though is the backgrounds. These loop so fast  everything feels extremely small. In the fun house.. the loop might actually be shorter than your actual screen in one area.  The colours of the game also feel super desaturated , it’s like looking at a picture of a sad clown we can tell something is off and it  doesn’t feel good. I literally can’t remember the backgrounds 20 minutes after playing the game. Except for that weird loopy one and the average city!  Clowns shouldn’t be this boring. There is so much you can do with the clown zombie concept as well. Like electric zappy things in the background turning people into zombies, bright circus colours. Animals breaking out?! There is just so much possible and while this arcade game was indeed early.. it still feels like it could have done way better. Just put something interesting there at the very least not just buildings or exit doors. It is unfortunate but you can see the lack of passion that went into this game.

That is a shame because the guys who build this really can make games. Time Killers was pretty nice. However this game  feels like a paycheck throughout. This is also shown in the music and the sound effects which are the worst thing off all. The circus music that plays is annoying and worst.. doesn’t play during the actual levels in circus themes but in the cities.  Their renditions are bad as well. Turtles in Time for example gets you excited when playing through the stages because it has some excellent music in this I felt shame.. hoping my neighbours did not hear me! And I am not ashamed very often. It has that  “my first Midi” with some annoying sound effects vibe. Blegh! I considered muting the sound but that would have caused me to fall asleep! At least this way I got a bit frustrated and it allowed me to slip into an “get it over with” mentality! I would not have beaten it otherwise!

The worst part was the enemy sounds. Some enemies like Elvis and the Hippies talk. It’s  hard on the ears to hear elvis go  ‘Uh Uh..oh.. Thank you Very Much.. I am out.’The order never changes. The hippies keep going ‘Woah Man’ or ‘Wood stack Man’ and they nearly made me quit, and in truth I should have because it never got any better. After the popcorn spider thing, enemies become much more bland and we lose the only thing this game had going for it. The interesting bosses and enemies are no more.

The end fight with Twisto is weird but for the wrong reasons.. he is just a dragon like now suddenly. I don’t get it it.. I never will. It doesn’t look like this guy was in the cutsceness! When he is defeated he looks different as well. If the zombie clown machine made things mutate why did nothing else I mutate?! Why am I thinking about a game named Ninja Clowns! I really wanted to give this game a fair chance and say something nice about it because every game does deserve a fan. Maybe if you really like clowns though this can be your jam! I hope that there is a clown aficionado out there who is like “this game is my jam”. I do doubt that is any of you guys though. But do let me know in the comments and will find a clown game for you I like!

For the first time in a long time I will have fairly short blog because I could nog on about specific cases of the points I made, but with graphics , sound,  story, and gameplay being devoid of any joy I don’t think there is any reason to. There is nothing redeeming about this game. If I really forced it I could say the difficulty is okay.. it was a fairly sizable game and I only used 20 quarters. Mostly because you can cheaps-hot your enemy.. still those 20 quarters better spend elsewhere. With that said I have to give this game my lowest score possible! I do not want to play this again, nor do I think any of you would enjoy it. At least the screenshots are memorable so we always have those! Keep in mind that my score doesn’t mean it is a 1 out of 10 game.  It just means I got no joy out of it. I can see this being fun for people if… they never played a beat ’em up before or…..if you want to beat up girl scouts and bearderd ladies? Maybe if you are into bland midi music and clowns as well..but that one would be a 50/50!

Do you know of a weird game I should play?! Let me know in the comments and who knows I might review your game soon! Weirdest and most random suggestions take precedence! So let’s get funky!
Also please let me know if you enjoyed this game or if you are a clown expert I would love your take on this game!

Pinkie Plays a Sports-Game? Ninja Baseball Bat Man Review

When you read this title you might think about the caped crusader playing a sports game against his enemies the league of Shadows… kind of like Mega Man Soccer for example. However if you read close you see it’s Ninja Baseball Bat Man not Batman and not Batmen either. However the Bat Men in this arcade delight are in a way Batmen! You see the story of this game is something along the lines of Roger, Ryno José and Straw were relaxing one day when suddenly a golden statue of their coach got stolen.. Six separate items. Now these four heroes have to travel through America and fight powerful baseball and Japanese themed foes ..also sometimes other stuff like crying airplanes or smiling orbs of nothingness,  to get these six items back before the evil villain can use them to conjure up the almighty King Babe .. with them.. which he then controls! So yes.. the biggest enemy in this game is Babe Ruth.. legendary baseball player.  

A batman in the english dictionary is described as a soldier who works under a superior as a servant. In a way these Ninja’s work under their coach and they retrieve a statue instead of doing their regular job so I guess in a way that would make them batmen. So if this game ever gets a sequel.. and I REALLY hope it does I suggest  the title Ninja Baseball Bat Man Batmen! As you may have guessed this game is rather zaney! Combining Ninja culture with the american sports culture leads to some very interesting scenarios in this beat them up that I would describe as a relatively easy adventure across  seven stages.  I spend 23 quarters on this game.  Well I would have if this was the old arcade days! Since this is actually my first time beating an arcade game I am not sure! We will find out in the future! Anyway as far as beat em ups go this one is really amazing! I just felt like a kid again! I played this game by myself so it was actually a bat woman not a bat man.. neither was it bat MEN. I played for myself so I would not be a batman either.. I think.. Brain ouchies!

Choosing one out of for Bat Men you move across west coast of america and make your way up to the east coast.. kinda!  We get stages like Las Vegas, Texas and Chicago all ending with a big showdown in New York. I kinda forgot where the first two stages are set. It doesn’t really matter anyway because aside from Chicago and Vegas they aren’t very recognisable.  The first stage is some kind of giant airport.. so I would assume it is LA based on what I know of the city. Giant halls and such. Then we get a stage aboard a big ship and a battle in the harbor.. so San Francisco maybe?!  Vegas we fight our way through a casino and in texas we visit a haunted mansion. Chicago has a lot of gangsters, New York a lot of building scaffolding.. It kind of reminded me like that stage in turtles in time.  A LOT! In fact?

In this game you can take on the roles of José the leader of the bunch who fights with average stats. He has a cool personality.. stern but fair! A good leader.  Then we have Ryno.. he is the stormy one of the group.. using his two tiny bats, he attacks super rapidly but his attacks are super short range.. he is the most rash of them all!  Then we have Roger. Roger is the big guy in yellow, his club has been made into a maze by fitting a baseball on it. He is slow but he has a breakdancing like move and he loves to eat , mostly pizza. Straw is the guy who attacks with the longest weapon almost a staff. He is the most chilled out guy of the group.. not as zany as the others. He just gets the job done.. he walks slow as Fudge though. While there are some special moves that show up as ninja abilities such as Ryno summoning storms and some other stuff that is a bit hard to explain..  These guys usually stick to their sport moves for the majority of the game.  Ninjutsu is possible.. but tricky at times.

What is great is that every fighter feels unique and all of them had their moments where I found them more usable than the others. For example Ryno performs really well in bigger packs with low HP while  Straw is really good at the later stages of boss fights and slower beginning of stages.  Roger is great for the final tougher enemies prior to a boss and of course for pummeling the boss itself.  Jose finally is good against armoured enemies, and in general the tougher stage foes. Still I am pretty sure these guys aren’t humans so they must be mutants… hmmmm I heard this before. Not sure where but for some odd reason I feel really like dining on baseball soup tonight! Gross!

I was really amazed how different characters felt from one another and this kept my adventure fun! Which was needed because this is a two button arcade cabinet. You have your directional keys, your hit button and your jump button. By pressing both jump and punch you can use a special moves but there are also some hidden behind some streetfighter like combo’s I think which I could not figure out how to reproduce.  Each are character unique though.  For example Straw can attack an enemy on the floor , Ryno can leap into the air and bounce of enemies with a homing like attack and Roger hits REALLY hard.  This guaranteed that I needed quite a few continues as some characters are very poorly equipped against certain situations..but it also meant there was some depth to this. I liked it.. losing a live in arcade games is ..inevitable.. they are designed like that, the ability to switch character on a game over keeps the game fresh and fun! 

The enemy design and stage design really contributes to that as well. So much is done to keep things fresh. While like traditionally a lot of enemies make their return in later stages they either get new mechanics, like turning invisible for a brief moment when you hit them in the haunted level. Other options are that some of the items the enemy carry varies.. thus is looks like a new enemy. For example there are some crushers that in earlier stages drop a Mani Neko.. which gives a small chance for an item drop I think (Not sure because I’ll be honest I never hit with a lot of them)  and in later stages they come equipped with a Tanuki statue…which I never once hit… (I think), It ain’t much but still I never felt like … blegh it’s THAT enemy again. Other examples include that we get other methods to deal with enemies. Later in Chicago for example we get the baseball bat enemies from stage 1 again. but this time we drive around in a small car to run them over.. or get bombs that deal fire damage and if bats gets set on fire they instantly die, screaming.

A lot is happening in the stages as well, in the background baseball people hang out and play, in the foreground cheerleaders pop up shooting laser beams or throwing around food for you. In the haunted mansion level when you reach the dining room, you can eat all the food on the table..because obviously you could.  It doesn’t always make sense either. For example in the New York Stage you keep seeing a stadium in the background.. at one point you see it  sprout turbo rockets as it flies up towards you.. dropping of a fresh batch of new enemies.  It really is a spectacle to behold and that is what makes this beat em up so much better than most arcade counter parts. It doesn’t get boring because you never know what you get to expect. From a boat you could suddenly be lifted up by a giant arm that brings you to a factory where Giant Baseball shaped machines crush Mane Neko in the background and the casino is always super vibrant. You never know what is next! A big plus in the genre.

What I really loved was the bosses!  They are so creative and random! If you didn’t know yet I love randomness! The first boss fight is the windy plane ! A airplane you fight… INSIDE a PLANE! If you beat it enough it becomes a crying unicycle! So sad! I wish I did not have to put it down! I tried sparing it .. but it kept driving over  WHACK! I had to put it down! It’s a fairly straight up fight! But a very solid first boss! Straw is a really good match for it.. I think! I worked really well when I re-encountered it again!  Straw is really a good shout out for the first stage in general.. I’d say over all he was my favorite bat man!

In the second stage we fight Mad Lax.. which is two Lego coloured baseball people sitting in a pink female-ish monster truck like  buggy. Said buggy can obviously summon some wind up crocodiles toys..which are bright blue.  Since this boss spawns a lot of adds I suggest taking Ryno into this fight. He can quickly deal with those pesky adds and is quick enough to catch up with this fairly fast enemy.  Oddly Roger is quite good as well.. using his special move he can quickly pick off some tightly packed crocs! Blimey! This boss fight doesn’t do all that much special things either but it’s pink so that’s already amazing.

The third boss is the Deffending Slotmachine and no that is not not a typo, that’s actually how the game spells it so that’s his name. This fight is rather random. Ideal you step in first with Roger and finish him with Straw but if you want to save on quarters I’d say that Jose is actually best equipped for this fight. He is a bit of everything so no matter what this boss throws at you you can counter it. This boss mainly fights using stage hazards so the two I pick are kind of a hassle to use. I really lucked out with Straw getting him into a stunlock like state and finishing it without to much quarters relieved from my fictional pants.  Wait.. I meant fictional quarters… darn it.. you are going to use that against me aren’t you?.

We then get to my favorite boss! The Ghost Buffalow of Texas.. he is a possessed refrigerator with a buffalo head mounted on top.. giving himself a chicken body by possessing a shield, two violins some chandeliers a carpet and some swords. Roger is your friend here because you want to get in those heavy hits. But in its second phase it has some pretty wide AoE attacks so switching to Straw will almost be mandatory. I couldn’t do a thing anymore.  Still ever since I was a kid I dreamed about fighting my refrigerator with an animal head made into a turkey! Now I finally did!

Florida the fifth stage ends off with a showdown against the mechanical alligator. A bit of a generic boss that reminds me of Leatherhead of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.. .. wait.. is THAT the franchise that’s like this game? I am sure it isn’t ?! He is very big and one of the most tricky bosses out there! His tail can detach and become an powerful enemy itself. However Jose and Straw really do the trick here. I clobbered him with  Roger at first but that got me nowhere fast.  Wasted 3 quarters on this man!  I could have bought some soda for that!  Luckily when he is defeated he turns into a crocodile leather purse so that makes up for things!

The second to last both is the gangster boss of Chicago! This is a menacing god father who has two Kawaii twin tails sticking out besides his fedora.  If you manage to get around his attacks and beat him up a lot you can reveal that underneath the hat is yet another tail! Triple Tail! Kawaii as Heck! He just wants to be loved and look cute! .. But unfortunately for him I really got good at playing as Straw.. so I whacked him until he was not cute anymore. This boss-fight was a bit of a deception.. kind of a push over. Using Straw’s basic special move i would whack him to one side of the screen then piledriver him and rinse and repeat until the chicago mobster was no more! I really liked his name and gimmick though!

The  final stage is a quarter devourer.. we get a lot of Umpire enemies (which are like double shielded ghosts that drop bomb enemies when their two shields are broken)  there is a small boss rush before the final fight.. and then we fight The King Babe! This boss ate 5 Quarters! Jose is definitely the one you should use here. My usual suspects were just too slow to deal with those charging attacks. Eventually I got unlocked Ultra Instinct on Straw though (Not an actual unlockable) and I piledrived this guy into oblivion! He is just the meanest baseballer you have ever seen! I did not know Babe Ruth was this evil .. but I am glad this game showed me! I wouldn’t know who the guy is though.. so unless he looks like a video game boss I have a problem still!

This game is amazing, the combat feels a bit floaty if I hit air.. but weirdly in a nice way. If you play Turtles in Time.. hits feel to not do anything they just pop enemies.. Final Fight for example has really connecting hits. While I would have preferred Final Fight I liked this sensation as well. It felt as if I was making attacks.. but they did not really hit.. still I got the sensation of swinging. The weirdness and the tempo make it less serious and viceral which improves the atmosphere. The special moves DO have that nice WHACK! Sensation to it.. which makes me want to use them more and fight a bit more diversely.. which games like these need to stay varied.  The special moves also do not take away HP which is a godsend and a rarity in this genre. The game can be finished in about the same time  as watching a movie so it’s also a nice thing to just pick up and play. Perfect for people like me who want to show you what kind of weirdness there is in the world of video games. This is a wonderful time and with a friend to play with you it will even be more wonderful! If you can get it.. it’s certainly worth a try! As far as arcade games go, this sits among the best I have played! (Right now at least) So since it now is a favorite of mine……

Do you know of any (preferably short) but weird games I can play?! Have you ever played this game?! Next week i’ll stick with the same genre and look at other weird things that allegedly can be Ninja’s but after that I am still looking for ideas!