Retrospection: The Legend Of Kage NES
What is it with princesses and getting kidnapped? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think they enjoy getting snatched up by the baddies and tied to something rigid for half the game. Video game princesses must all have daddy issues. Right from the beginning of The Legend of Kage the princess is gallivanting about in the magical forest of Japanese redwoods, practically begging to get abducted, when BAM! She gets noob scooped away by a passing member of the Blue Man Group. As the title suggests the player must now leap into the protagonist shoes of the Beatlejuice-sock-wearing girly man Kage, the ninja, as he dismounts his tree branch and sprints into battle! Ready to save his woman!
What baffles me in games like this is how many enemies just appear out of nowhere. It’s like a suicide booth in New New York. They just line up to get frappéd into bright red slurpies by the hand of the hero. What’s even better is Kage has all the same weapons as the derps that are after him: A sword and shurikens. But he can use them. Besides the hightend level of skill, there are various scattered power-ups that appear when you do something special. When you kill a number of enemies, they poop out the little methamphetamine pills Pac-Man loves so much. They just change your chromatic scheme, engorge your throwing stars and give you body armor. Every once in a while little legged spam sandwiches walk across the top quarter of the screen that you can snatch up like a reverse falcon and masticate on like a thing that masticates.
I can only assume they contain TMs as if Pokémon items were making a cameo appearance. One teaches you double team, which effectively makes you untouchable. Another makes you throw ninja stars in all directions, gutting anything stupid enough to get in the way that isn’t already a ghost type. I’m pretty sure this is hyper beam because it is so pwn. Last but not least there are “scrolls.” They look like little microscopic pixel discolorations but the power they hold is inversely proportional to their size. Like a smurf fart. ^_^ Grab this little nugget of glory and the fun begins. Kage slaps his hands together and calls upon Nyan Cat: God of Aneurysms to smite his enemies. The screen erupts into madness as if Detroit’s entire gang population were to have a mass suicide. Crips and Bloods rain from the sky in a holocaust of ninjas. Sadly the bosses cannot be killed by this attack, but anything else is murdalized.
This being said, this is anything but a walk in the park. The game makes me want to headbutt a watermelon open at times. Some particularly fruit splitting times come when you meet what I like to call flaming diarrhea breath men, or the bosses I mentioned earlier. Not only do they come out of nowhere like the other gang-bangin’ baddies, but they fire rounds of pure hellfire into your ample bosom incinerating your torso and leaving nothing but those splendiferous stripy socks I mentioned earlier, AKA the-one-hit-kill-you move. Avoid it with your life. Kill the bastards FAST. Because of all the damage getting slung around this game is unimaginably hard. Not only do you have to battle your way through waves of shank-wielding criminals to save the princess, but when you finally save her she gets snatched up again right after you cut her restraints and jump off the building. This woman must have a BS&M fetish, I swear. In the end you spend three seasons trying to resave this woman who you obviously can’t please with conventional methods.
“No, no, I love spending time with you, Kage! The time we spent falling to our deaths but miraculously living due to lack of fall damage was the best time of my life. That’s why I made you do that with me three whole times before the game was over.”
Right… Like I’m that dumb. We all know you are getting… cake…
This game can be beaten in minutes if you know what you are doing but for me it took hours to even get past the first fourth of the game. The controls are a little unintuitive, as you press UP to jump because A is “swing sword” and B is “throw death wrench like a Monty Mole,” which gets a little annoying at times…. The enemy density is scrumptious, though. I love a game that never lets up. It gives me an excuse to whine about my carpal tunnel. It is addicting even at it’s advanced age, 26 years, and still fun. Try it out. You will like it.
On eBay, a Nintendo Entertainment System runs for $20 and Legend of Kage runs for $5 in auction. Or, if you’re a Wii owner, the game is available in the Virtual Console for 500 points ($5).