Kasumi Ninja [Jaguar – Beta]

Kasumi Ninja [Jaguar – Beta]

As we can read on Wikipedia, Kasumi Ninja is a 1994 one-on-one fighting game developed by Hand Made Software and published by Atari Corporation for the Atari Jaguar. The game 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. 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.

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.

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. Video from viMasterJag’s YouTube Channel!

Thanks to Adam for the contribution!


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7 thoughts on “Kasumi Ninja [Jaguar – Beta]

  1. Ross Sillifant

    I’d wager the revisions in part were due to feedback on early screens (took flak for looking bland etc) plus producer Ted Tahquechi pushing for a larger cartridge than Atari originally planned?.

  2. Ross Sillifant

    Comment from Rob Nicholson regarding compression issues K.N and Doom had on Jaguar:

    To get all of Doom into a 2Mb cartridge, compression has to be used (bit
    like PKZIP). Data has to be decompressed into RAM at the start of each
    level. This takes time – even when using the Jaguar’s GPU. Kasumi Ninja
    has the same “problem”.

    Regards, Rob @ Hand Made Software Ltd.

  3. Ross Sillifant

    Wikipedia is kind of correct saying game is named after it’s setting..Kasumi Island.

    HMS went with the name Kasumi as it’s based on
    the Japanese definition:

    Mist depicted in various types of *yamato-e やまと絵 usually spreading horizontally in bands. Kasumi appears not only as a pictorial element but has definite functional purposes. In landscape painting, kasumi can divide the foreground, middle ground and background to create depth. In narrative painting, particularly in *emaki 絵巻, kasumi can suggest changes of scene and passage of time. In Heian style works, kasumi had a soft and transparent quality, lightly colored in indigo blue. From the 13c artists began to depict mist bands with a cleanly rounded head, often crisply outlined in white or black ink *sumi 墨. This kind of mist is called suyarigasumi すやり霞 or yarigasumi 槍霞, lit. spear mist, to differentiate it from the amorphous and translucent kasumi. The tendency for stylization and decorativeness accelerated from the Muromachi period, reaching a peak of resplendence in the Edo period when gold pigment and gold foil were used in abundance to depict mist and clouds (see *kinji 金地).

    The island is obscured by mist..Cue Kasumi Island.

    This came from HMS themselves.

    Really shame they ran with this game.

    The ideas and plans they had for other Jaguar projects, not well known could of fared so much better.

  4. Ross Sillifant

    HMS did consider a Jaguar CD version of the original Kasumi Ninja.

    Here’s HMS discussing the merits of Cart Vs CD on Jaguar :

    HMS: KN, everything is stored on cart in compressed
    format. We decompress and download everything into RAM. We’re just using
    the ROM as a form of disk. The only difference between a CD version of KN
    and the cart version would be a) longer time to load in each level and b)
    lots more backdrops and characters.

    Jeff Minter discussing the game when he saw a preview of it:

    There are *definitely* gonna be some ultraviolent death moves. I saw
    the same version of KN at Devcon, the programmers were there and for some
    reason the Fatalities on the ECTS version were disabled. Apparently
    there’s this scene where someone’s head explodes; there will certainly
    be good fatalities in the game.

    Reassuring the gore-fans,

    — Y a K

  5. Ross Sillifant

    More Minter:
    Just got back from Devcon… AVP is looking very-nearly-there… saw an
    early JagDOOM version, better colour than the PC version for sure, slow
    at the moment (just a quick port to get it in the Jag, doesn’t use any
    special Jag features yet, mostly running on the 68K alone) but should be
    25fps when finished… yummy.  Kasumi Ninja looks good, I like the way
    the spatters of blood which fall on the floor stay there and don’t just
    disappear, the whole round; there’s a cool backdrop of Arizona-type mesas
    which scrolls in parallax.  Also saw a demo of Jag FMV – bloody hell!  3
    minutes of the climax of Jaws, where he blows the shark up, excellent
    quality, 30FPS, and takes about 300K!!!  And this is *without* MPEG!

    Cool, cool, Atari are getting things right!


  6. Cid Gus

    a pesar de su argumento inicial . el juego fue una mala copia de mk . ubicado en las listas de los peores videojuegos realizados . por su horrible grafica y jugabilidad ademas de detestables y desagradables ataques muy grotescos

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