Any Way You Slice It | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Any Way You Slice It

How to kill a ninja:

You can always kill a ninja with a flurry of indiscriminate sword-swings. But ninjas are resilient little suckers-almost as durable as you are. It can take a lot of sword-swings, which just isn't practical when you're facing a whole pack. If you really want to put a ninja to rest quickly and efficiently, you'll want to bisect them.

In order to bisect a ninja, you need to Focus-a state of existence in which everything slows down and shifts to black and white. While Focused, you are free to do extraordinary feats such as deflecting bullets with your sword or attacking opponents in a more balletic manner. (Think Michael Jackson in the days of the big nose and hair.)

Once you're Focused, decide whether you want to bisect your ninja vertically or horizontally. Aside from personal preference, much depends on the ninja. Some ninjas leap up or crouch down, causing a standard horizontal swipe to hiss through empty air. Other ninjas lean toward one side or another, making vertical slashes useless.

Observe your ninja, and see how he moves. If you're having trouble tracking him, a swift kick to the face should stun him. You can also distract him by slicing at his face with a few twitches of your sword tip. With skill and practice you can even kick him up into the air where he's in a perfect position to be bisected before hitting the ground.

For those pesky, dodgy ninjas, try lowering your horizontal strikes, or swerving your blade left or right. With a little practice and some discerning swordsmanship, you can even lop off a hand, a foot or an ear. Send flesh flying and have some fun with it-you're the one behind the blade!

Don't forget to watch your back. Any ninja who is out of your field of vision will be able to knock you out of Focus. Remember that you can always leap over your opponent's head or flip backwards out of the range of his sword. He'll be so surprised after you land that you'll have a moment to attack.

Once you've made your killing swipe, enjoy the resulting carnage. Watch how a vertically bisected ninja peels into two bloody pieces. Marvel at the Rorschach blot of red that sweeps out of a horizontally bisected ninja's torso. Bisecting ninjas isn't just a means of survival-it's an art.

THE GOOD: Samuel L. Jackson narrates and provides the voice for several of the characters, and the music is supervised by The RZA. Music and voice-acting don't make a game great, but they make it a lot better when they're this good. Along with the game's hand-drawn-looking graphics, Afro Samurai sets a slick new standard in production values.

THE BAD: Afro Samurai is short, with linear levels that don't require or reward more than a cursory exploration. It's all about combat, in one cluster of opponents after another.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The combat is elegant, furious and the focus of this stylized spinoff of the popular anime.

Top Selling Games for the Week of Feb. 7

Title                    Sales

Wii Sports        115 318,863

Wii Fit                267,922

Wii Play            120,598

Mario Kart       107,476

Afro Samurai    59,879

Source: VG Chartz

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