So here's a game that's caught my attention, and it's actually been out for a while. Ninja Syndrome is the sequel to another obscure game, SF Ninja, both by the legendary GMSpectre (formerly known as MAXIMOFF). This is worth a download for anyone; as it combines awesome gameplay, unique hand-drawn (or hand-edited) sprites in the style of Street Fighter, the storytelling that made MK famous, and the creator's own distinctive sense of humor. All the characters fall into one of three categories: male pallette-swap, female pallette-swap, and robot pallette-swap (better known as the cyber-ninja). Like its predecessor, the game's main theme is how many pallette-swapped characters there are in the MK universe, although much more than just that is parodied here.
Right from the get-go, there are 12 playable characters: Classic Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Mileena, Kitana, Ermac, Reptile, Cyber-Smoke, Jade, Tremor, Rain, Sektor, and Cyrax.
The upgrade has 20 characters from the get-go, adding to the roster Noob Saibot, Human Smoke, Reiko, Frost, Chameleon, Khameleon, Grandmaster Sub-Zero, and an MK1 (Human) Reptile that utilizes both Sub-Zero's freeze and Scorpion's spear.
There are more hidden characters available, including Hydro, Erinmac, and the boss: a souped-up Chameleon that goes by SF Ninja (heh).
The bios and endings are well worth checking out, and are a treat for all MK fans both old and new, as references to all generations of Mortal Kombat can be found within. Why is it that Khameleon can only be found on Nintendo consoles? What if MK1 Reptile (human Reptile), actually was a human, and a complete and totally separate character from the raptor that we know from MKII onward? What would happen if there were a portal through time that transported MKII Smoke, Jade, and Noob Saibot as well as MK1 Sub-Zero to the time of Armageddon? Do Akuma and Chameleon rival each other for the spot of #1 hidden character? All these questions and more can be found throughout the game's bios and endings.
Another cool detail, is that after the fights are over, the players taunt each other ala Street Fighter. Some of these can be quite comedic as well.
One of my favorite parts about this game is the backgrounds. Some of them have been altered in ways that result in hilarity. I don't want to spoil all the jokes found in the game, but check some of these out:
All in all, I think this is a fantastic game that any and every Mortal Kombat fan should check out. The custom sprites inspired by Binho, the storylines, the jokes and dialogue, everything is just about perfect. My only real criticism of the game is the way some of the special moves were implemented, that could be due in part to the way the UFGE (Universal Fighting Game Engine) is coded. For example, Sub-Zero's freeze doesn't turn the character blue, characters seem to recover from Cyrax's net even while it's still around them, and Scorpion's spear doesn't pull your character in quite close enough for an uppercut to connect – though this last one can be remedied by walking towards your opponent before uppercutting them. There's also a couple of 100% combos in the game, involving Chameleon's Lightning anywhere on the screen or Sub-Zero's Floor Freeze being done in the corner.
The upgrade addresses some, but not all, of these issues – for example, the spear now pulls the opponent in close enough to uppercut them right away without having to step closer. Another nice thing I'd point out is the cool battle animations that happen before that battle begins. For example, Reiko's Shao Kahn helmet flashes on and off, Smoke arrives in a puff of Smoke, and Cyrax explodes into view ala his teleport move.