Ninjas

        Ninjas are some of the more cliché enemies you can add into a video game, comparable in frequency to skeletons or zombies. However, sometimes they come off as more unique and impressive, despite just being a mere minion that you have to cut through. Today I’ll be talking about the ninjas from Muramasa: The Demon Blade.
        Muramasa is a fairly simple game in execution- you play as one of two characters, though in combat they both work about the same. They both have access to three blades at any time, and can switch between them when they are damaged or broken. If you wait long enough without using it, a broken sword will fix itself. You can block or deflect attacks by pressing the attack button as you’re attacked, which in turn damages the blade rather than you.
        Your character is fairly fast in battle, fast enough to outmaneuver most enemies if you’re especially good at it, though you’ll likely spend more time blocking than dodging. This speed does help, however, in juggling the enemies, allowing you to get in attacks and hopefully defeat them while airborne, aided by the fact that the end of most, if not all combos launches your target into the air, though not every enemy can be launched.
        In any case, the very first enemy you’ll run into, regardless of who you play as, is the ninja. The apprentice ninja specifically, who wears black clothes and has the least health and combat ability. Despite being the first enemy, they are far from the weakest you’ll run into, and they can provide a challenge even later into the game.
        All of the ninja varieties come in different roles. The usual variety are equipped with shuriken, which they either throw straight, or jump and throw down at an angle, and a sword, which they will slash you with if you get too close. However, some of them will breathe fire instead, and one of the more common varieties will use their sword, but replace shuriken with bombs, which they lob at you from off-screen if possible.
        The bomb ninjas will also drop three bombs when you knock them into the air, which is obviously an issue. If you hit a bomb however, you can knock it away from you, and once deflected the explosion will hurt the enemies rather than yourself. However, that doesn’t mean you can underestimate the bombs- a explosion will certainly do a lot of damage.
        Rarely you might find ninjas using a sickle and chain. They and the bomb ninjas generally stay in place, and all of the stationary ninjas will teleport back to their starting position if knocked away. The sickle users are very annoying in that the chain they spin can keep you from actually hitting them, and will do a lot of damage to your blade. Therefore, the best strategy is to let them attack, dodge, then strike.
        After apprentice ninja there are the blue ninja, which are stronger. They come in all of the same varieties as the previous kind, but they also can ride on kite, hovering over your battles with other ninja. From there they toss down shuriken and bombs. Of course, you can jump up and strike them, but kite ninja always explode on defeat, meaning they may break your blade or do a lot of damage to you as a parting gift.
        Then there are the white ninja, definitely the strongest of the bunch. They’re enemies you won’t run into until very late into your playthrough, and while they won’t ride on kites, they will hide on the ceiling and snipe at you from there, and once they drop down they take up new weapons. White ninja also have a new tactic where they use giant shuriken, tossing them across the screen to hurt you. In addition, these white ninja will not be knocked off their feet most of the time, allowing them to keep striking you from their positions. In addition, all white ninja explode shortly after they die, a serious danger when you have virtually no long-range capabilities.
        In addition to all this, Muramasa does have leveling up, but due to level scaling, there’s never really a sense that you’re overpowering your foes, and no matter how strong you become, they will always remain a fair challenge. Well, unless you’re trying one of the Demon Tree challenges scattered throughout the game, at which point it’s quite unfair most of the time, and the advised level becomes rather mocking.
        Yesss, it’s made for level 9 players, that’s why they can beat me up at level 34. Not to say that I don’t enjoy it regardless- if anything, the additional challenge makes me want to beat it more. I just find the advised level part a bit silly when the enemies grow stronger as you do. In any case, I’ll be cutting this article short, but you can expect more soon, my dear readers.

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