Super Chinese (known as Ninja Boy outside of Japan) is a little-known series of games developed by Culture Brain, starring young martial artists Jack and Ryu in their quest to protect their home of Chinaland, the world, and eventually the entire universe with the power of kung-fu and the help of an oddball cast of characters.Super Chinese 2 introduced the unique gameplay that the series is known for, making it one of the earliest Action RPGs in existence. Eventually more Fighting Game elements were brought in with Super Chinese World 2, culminating in an update to the battle system, a VS. Mode, and eventually a spinoff. Super Chinese World 3 had the ability to select from "Command RPG" and "Action RPG" modes, which changed the plot in certain ways. These were also some of the first multiplayer RPGs in existence, with player one controlling Jack and the other playing Ryu.The games were the subject of a comic series that ran in Gamepro magazine in 1990, as a promotion for the NES version of Super Chinese 2 (called "Little Ninja Brothers" in North America.) The comic gained a small bit of infamy by adapting the entire story of the game until just before the final boss battle, where it abruptly ends with a message telling readers that they'll have to buy the game if they want to see how the story ends.Sadly, Super Chinese ran out of steam at the end of the 90's, and Culture Brain has moved on to the Casual Video Game market. The future of the series is uncertain, though there is the faint hope that the company's decision to develop games for the Nintendo 3DS will lead to a revival.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: Lots of it, one example involves the words "Psychic" and "Psyche" being mistranslated as "Scichic" in Super Ninja Boy and "Psyky" in Ninja Boy 2.
Bowdlerise: Quite a lot. Notable examples include the Tiger Tank enemy in Little Ninja Brothers originally having a Nazi motif (they're even called "Hittora"), Bongoman in Super Ninja Boy turning the male population of Edo City into Crossdressers instead of just "idle men," and Miss Finny from the same game would send Jack and Ryu to Marshmallow Hell.
Bring It: Jack's opening taunt in Super Chinese Fighter.
Calling Your Attacks: In EVERY RPG battle. In Super Chinese World 2 and Super Chinese World 3, this trope also applies to regular battles.
Comic Book Adaptation: GamePro magazine once ran a short comic series to promote the release of Little Ninja Brothers, the last of which can be found here.
Difficulty By Region: The difficulty of Super Ninja Boy is toned down considerably from the original Super Chinese World. For example, one had to go through a Special Stage in order to get to Notruedamus (who is simply right next door to Emperor Chin in the English release); the area in question was relocated much farther along in the game.
Dummied Out: Two weapons called "Lee's Punch" and "Jacky's Sword" exist in Super Chinese 2's code. However, Little Ninja Brothers renamed the latter as a duplicate Hawk Sword, thus removing the Continuity Nod to the previous game.
Eastern Zodiac: 12 characters were introduced in Little Ninja Brothers with this motif - Savior Mouchee Mouse (Rat), Moo-Man/Ragyu (Ox), Savior Rogee Rabbit (Rabbit), Rick/Ryuhi (Dragon), Cheerful Snake Brothers (Snake), The Wise Stallion (Horse), The Wise Ram (Sheep), Vigilante Monkey (Monkey), Princess Leila (Rooster), Vigilante Dog (Dog), and Ms. Oinker/Sweet Lady (Pig).
Western Zodiac: There's another set of characters with this motif who made their debut in Super Chinese 3 - Dr. Justice (Aries), Oldman Taurus (Taurus), Ninja Gems (Gemini), Kanimaru (Cancer), Ikōga Shishi-no-Shin (Leo), B.B. Virgo/Virgo Vixen (Virgo), Gangu-Ō (Libra), Samurai Scorpio/Samurai Happy (Scorpio), Chief Arrowhead (Sagittarius), Sheriff Baa (Capricorn), Fortune Teller (Aquarius), and Merman (Pisces).
Everybody Must Get Stoned: A recurring minor plot in the series that started with Cilly City in Little Ninja Brothers, where a town becomes affected by a spell that makes its inhabitants gibber nonsense.
Evil Knockoff: Robotic Jack and Ryu clones appeared in Super Ninja Boy to terrorize the populace of Athletown. They copy whatever the originals say.
Mirror Boss: Super Chinese World 3 has a literal example, where you face copies of either Jack, Ryu or Lin-Lin.
Fan Translation: Super Chinese Fighter EX was translated by the group SGST back in 2000. Their homepage is gone now that Geocities went under, but the patch can still be obtained if you know where to look.
"Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Early in Super Chinese 3, Jack and Ryu must enter Prince Bonbon/Bokuchin's body after he accidentally ingests some mind-altering bacteria that Dr. Justice had in his laboratory. Naturally, solving the problem involves beating up a bunch of bad guys.
The Four Gods: May be another source of inspiration for Jack and Ryu's names aside from the Named After Somebody Famous example below. They're written in kanji as 雀 and 龍, both characters used for the names of Suzaku and Seiryuu in their native Chinese. Their Elemental Powers also correspond with the affinities of the two gods (Fire and Lightning). Byakko and Genbu don't seem to have representatives.
Frothy Mugs of Water: The "Pop" you're required to exchange for the Talisman-γ in Little Ninja Brothers is actually booze.
Game Over Man: Only happens in Little Ninja Brothers, where Mentor would give you the option to continue, get a password or know how many experience is needed to level up. The rest of the games simply send you back to the last Convenience Store visited.
Gratuitous Foreign Language: Gratuitous Chinese is used exclusively in Super Chinese 2. It's most apparent with the shopkeepers, who greet you with "Ni hao" and thank you for your patronage with "Xie xie."
Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Ryu is supposedly said to be tone deaf in the instruction manual for Super Chinese World 2, even though he's always had the exact same voice as Jack when applicable.
Honest Axe: Little Ninja Brothers plays this straight, where you can obtain the Golden Claw at the town of Shorin. You have to throw the Iron Claw into the lake twice, however - it gets stuck in the Wise Ram's head and then returned to you after the first attempt.
Hopeless Boss Fight: The first Nargi encounter in Super Ninja Boy and Shubaban's surprise attack at the beginning of Super Chinese World 2.
Humans Are the Real Monsters: The initial mindset of Princess Animal in Super Chinese 3. Luckily, she softens up after the heroes prove themselves by saving Animal Town.
Hyperactive Metabolism: Sweet Buns (anman) and Meat Buns (nikuman) are the staple HP-recovering items in the series. Little Ninja Brothers takes this literally, as the heroes are capable of stuffing themselves silly and only require a little bit of walking to return to their normal weight. The remake has a weight-lifting minigame instead, but it's still a speedy process.
Identical Stranger: Leah in Super Chinese World 3 is the spitting image of Lin-Lin, which becomes a minor plot point early on when the latter is mistaken for the former.
Naked People Are Funny: The mayor of Cilly City and his subordinates strip nude as a result of the Evil Queen's curse. In Super Chinese 2, they wonder what Jack and Ryu think of their bodies instead of making animal sounds like in Little Ninja Brothers. (For example, the woman refers to her "impressive jugs.")
Named After Somebody Famous: Jack and Ryu are named after Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee - the latter by way of his nickname of "The Dragon." There's also Jacky and Lee in Super Chinese.
No Communities Were Harmed: The map of Chinaland in Little Ninja Brothers closely resembles that of real-world China, to the point where the locations of cities are practically identical. Hynen corresponds with Hainan Island, Deli-Chous is Guangzhou, Cilly City is either Shanghai or Hangzhou, etc.
Oh My Gods!: Prince Bonbon/Bokuchin in Super Chinese 3 would exclaim "Oh my Buddha!" if you lost a boss battle.
Older Alter Ego: Jack and Ryu acquire the "Hyper Chinese" ability in Super Chinese World 2, allowing them to temporarily become more powerful teenagers. Also counts as Next Tier Power-Up because it's obtained at the beginning of the game, the only requirement being at level 3. The Hyper Chinese form is the default in Super Chinese World 3, but it's still not permanent.
Portmanteau Series Nickname: "Suchai," which is actually used in official material. It also pops up in Super Chinese World 3 as the name of the dojo run by the heroes' fathers.
Power Fist: The main weapon of choice, though swords and other miscellaneous temporary weapons can be used. Later games added equippable shoes that increased the power of kick attacks.
Public Domain Soundtrack: At least three have been used - The "Infernal Galop" movement of Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld (popularly known as the "Can-Can"), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and even United States patrotic song Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.
Recurring Riff: Let's just say that the series liberally makes use of this trope; the biggest offender being Super Chinese World 3, with only about three tracks unique to it.
Recursive Import: Culture Brain USA's decision to change Jack and Ryu into ninja for Little Ninja Brothers and Ninja Boy somehow led to the Japanese branch keeping the design up until Super Chinese World.
Rivals Teamup: Shubabān will join the party in Super Chinese World 3's Command RPG Mode. He still becomes a party member in Action RPG Mode, only under the guise of Shun.
Schrödinger's Player Character: Before Super Chinese World 2, playing solo would essentially remove Ryu from existence unless he gets called on to assist in boss battles. References to him are still made within the dialogue, causing some awkwardness.
Stay in the Kitchen: Jack and Ryu attempt this approach on Lin-Lin in Super Chinese World 3 when she tries to join them in Action RPG Mode. Ryu ends up accepting her help more readily than Jack, who breaks the fourth wall by complaining about his main character status being compromised. This doesn't happen in Command RPG mode, because they witness her strength first-hand.
The Stinger: Super Chinese World has a short scene involving Gingara-Maō's theft of the Auraballs and Marvel Box (leading to the events of the following game), which was removed from Super Ninja Boy.
Warp Whistle: The Whirly Bird in Little Ninja Brothers could take you to any previously visited town. Subsequent games replaced it with the spells Magiport (which only returns you to the last visited Convenience Store) and Magidoor (allows a quick escape from dungeons).
What Could Have Been: Super Chinese World 2 was set to be released in English as Ninja Boy: Galactic Defender, but was canned due to Culture Brain USA closing down sometime during the 90's. The only remnant of its existence is its box artwork◊.