( Yo! Noid )
Game Cover
仮面の忍者 花丸
©1990 Capcom
Release: 1990-03-16 (¥5800)
Cartridge CAP-JE

American Version
Released in America as
Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru is a side-scrolling platform game by Capcom. Hanamaru, a ninja boy in training, is sent on a mission to investigate bizarre happenings and disappearances. In a local theme park called Leisure Island, children have been mysteriously disappearing and these disappearances are being attributed to a ruthless rival gang of ninjas. Equipped with his red mask and a mechanical hawk, it is up to the brave Hanamaru to journey throughout the park's fourteen areas and to rescue the captive children. The young ninja can run, jump or allow his hawk companion to attack enemies at long range. He can also collect special scrolls to increase his magic powers and cast various spells (press Down and B to activate them) - they range from lightning attack (kills all enemies on screen), ground shake (kills all enemies on the ground), Fire Hawk (unleashes the hawk super dive attack) and super jump (increases jumping speed for a short amount of time). Various special items are also available throughout the game, such as extra lives, invincibility and battle cards. Battle cards are a very important part of the gameplay - every now and then, Hanamaru encounters a boss that he must fight in a really unusual way (and apparently loosely based on the traditional Japanese disciplines of Ninjutsu). Boss battles are round based, and the player must pick a card with a higher face value than his opponent, and the difference represents how much damage the player (or the boss) takes. Thankfully, Hanamaru can collect special battle cards along the way - some can double or triple the face value of a card, whereas others prevent the boss from being able to attack for a round, or help Hanamaru regain some life. Although most of the game offers traditional side scrolling platformer action, several levels try out very different gameplay styles (Hanamaru can ride a Skateboard in some stages, or fly through the air with the help of his hawk companion).
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Kamen no Ninja Akakage Hanamaru shares a striking resemblance with Akakage (aka Red Shadow), a popular Japanese ninja who also wears a similar red mask. The character was originally created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama in 1967 (better known for his works Tetsujin 28-go or Giant Robo), and was featured in several manga, anime and movies (the ninja also starred in its own Famicom game called Kamen no Ninja Akakage and published by Toei Animation in 1988!). Fortunate coincidence or incidental inspiration ?

Yo! Noid The American release of Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru was drastically different from the original japanese version. The game was actually tied in with Domino's Pizza (one of the largest pizza chain in the United States) and most of the graphics, sounds and musics were changed to accommodate the product placement. The game was renamed Yo! Noid and starred 'The Noid', an odd gnome looking character in a tight red rabbit-ear suit (Domino Pizza's mascot in the 1980s, picture on the right). The unique mechanical hawk and Hanamaru's companion was replaced by a Yo-Yo, enemies (and some levels) had to be edited and all references to the original Ninja theme was entirely removed (the evil ninjas were turned into fishermen, guards, clowns or football players). The story was also altered - the action takes place in New York and the player must stop gangs and hooligans (or 'wild creatures' as described in the introduction sequence), led by his duplicate and arch-enemy Mr Green, before they wreck the city. Boss battles follow the same basic formula first laid down by the original Japanese game, however they were turned into Pizza Eating Contests and the player only competes against other look-alike 'Noids' (instead of fierce master Ninjas).

Teaser text copied from the American version:
Or, How a Yo-Yo Saved New Yoik!
Who's got floppy ears, a furry suit and a toothy, hilarious grin? It's Yo!NOID, the yo-yoing, pizza-chomping funny man from those wacky Domino's Pizza TV commercials. He'll need every trick in this fuzzy hat to out-prank the scamps who are overrunning New York with monkeyshines and shenanigans! Yo! NOID skips, skates, and scales the skyscrapers, bonking out an ever-changing gang of rascals! A mysterious NOID look-alike is behind the tomfoolery, and the real NOID's got to stop him! What could make the rollicking NOID get so serious? The reward is a lifetime supply of his favorite food!


Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru manual
Click on picture to enlarge

Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru - hidden bonus stages Hidden bonus stages:
Four different 'whack-a-mole' bonus stages are hidden throughout the game. To unlock them, the player must jump on specific areas of the background - they are located on stage 2, 6, 7 and 9 (marked on the pictures on the right). These bonus stages award Hanamaru with extra continues and warp him to the next level - as long as he can manage to whack enough enemies on the head though, and will be sent back to the beginning of the level in case of failure!

Add your Pov here !

Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru is a fun little ninja game with some interesting and unique ideas sprinkled throughout. The first level is a prime example of that - although the ocean level goes up and down (and can drown the player), Capcom decided to keep it static on the screen and to move the playfield instead. This is quite hard to describe, but it is a brain twister for sure! Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru has some pretty decent cartoony graphics, the animation is smooth and nice, levels are really varied with fourteen different locations to visit, and the controls are responsive and get the job done (except maybe during the flying sections). The game is pretty difficult to master though, you die in one hit and start with a handful of credits - but there are ways to earn more continues so the picture is not that bleak. Only the boss battles are a bit of a let down - the battle card formula is interesting and not a deal-breaker by any means, but I feel that it disrupts the flow of the game... traditional action based fights would have been much more appropriate. Finally, I personally prefer the original Japanese version - backgrounds look a lot cleaner, the soundtrack is better and the bosses are a lot more varied than different colored 'Noids' (well, I hate the Noid, what a creepy mascot that goblin was). All in all, Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru is a decent platform game with some nice (and unique) touches and is definitively worth picking.

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