There’s a sealed copy of Ninja Five-0 on Ebay right now, arguably the rarest/most expensive game for the GBA. It’s from the same guy that had the sealed copy of Shantae recently.
CIB copies seem to go for $40.00 – $75.00. If this is one of the rarest games (I`m waiting for a GBA collector to weigh in – please do so if you can) than it`s pretty cheap to pick up at the moment, and relatively easy to find a copy.
The game itself is actually amazing. IGN even listed Ninja Five-O at number 23 in their list of the top 25 Game Boy Advance Games of all time.
Think “Shinobi meets Bionic Commando”. Seriously, no joke.
Designed by Hudson and released by Konami in mid-2003, Ninja Five-O went entirely unnoticed by pretty much everyone and disappeared from the store shelves almost immediately. It was released also in Europe and Japan under the slightly better name Ninja Cop (complete with slightly better cover art.)
Various bad guys are committing crimes all over town, and taking hostages! The police are scared and all of the ninjas are busy crying to the their mamas. As Joe Osugi, specialized anti-terrorist ninja, you’re the only man for the job. In the beginning, you can choose from three stages (each with three sublevels and a boss), with more opening up when you complete those. You make your way through classic terrorist situations like banks, airports, harbors, caves, and finally the super secret base.
Instead of being a strictly linear affair, Ninja Five-O puts you in a series of gigantic, interlocked rooms. In each level, not only do you need to rescue all of the hostages but also find the colored keys to unlock the various doors in each level. Don’t worry about going on long hunts to find these things – despite the nature of the game, you won’t get lost or end up going in circles, and there’s always plenty of action.
Like most ninjas, Joe is equipped with an unlimited supply of shurikens. Finding power ups will let him shoot fire (!!) and lasers (!?!), but getting hit will decrease your weapon level. You also have a sword – used with the R button – which lets you slice through enemy defenses. Toss in two kinds of ninja magic – one to become invulnerable and one to kill all of the enemies on screen – and you’ve got a pretty complete arsenal. Hell, they even added in a pair of binoculars that lets you scope the surrounding areas for bad guys. But the coolness doesn’t stop there.
Joe’s most useful item is a grappling hook that lets you swing from platforms to platform. It actually feels quite a bit like the grappling laser from Super Metroid, in that you can latch on hooks and swing around and around until the dizziness forces you to stop screwing around and play the game properly. You can’t use it to climb through ceilings like you could in Bionic Commando – rather, you have to go to an edge of the platform and flip around. It takes a little bit of getting used to, as it’s easy to misjugde what direction you’ll fly in when you let go, but once you get the hang of it it’s insanely fun. Enemies are rarely placed in a place where it’s easy to kill them, as they like to hind behind crates or attack from an unreachable platform. Flying through the air, leaping up behind these goons and silencing them with a spinning sword flip – these are the joys of Ninja Five-O.