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Video Game / Inindo

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Inindo: Way of the Ninja (Inindō: Datō Nobunaga) is a 1991 Koei Eastern RPG with Turn-Based Strategy elements, following the travels of a young Iga Ninja.

The game begins in June 1582, when the forces of Oda Nobunaga burn the protagonist's village to the ground, but withdraw before taking his life upon hearing urgent news of an incident at Honnō-ji Temple. Rather than dying at the temple as he did in real life, Nobunaga is merely injured, and somehow comes into possession of mystical demonic powers, and so the main character must go and complete his ninja training and gain the skills to avenge his clan and kill the unstoppable warlord.

This game provides examples of:

  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: One of the most restrictive ever implemented. The game features dozens of recruitable characters, including a number of fellow Iga ninjas who are implied to be friends of the main character from before the beginning of the game, but no more than two will ever accompany you at once. There is no backup party, anyone who is not with the main character resumes traveling on their own.
  • Beef Gate: While some areas are blocked off by checkpoints that won't permit you to pass before addressing the plot, large expanses of the map are barred only by powerful random encounters intended to slaughter you if you show the temerity to explore them out of order.
  • Betting Minigame: There are three Castle Towns that have Bingo Casinos which offer you exclusive prizes if you can win big after betting several chips.
  • Demon King Nobunaga: Duh. Akechi Mitsuhide didn't quite succeed in killing him off at Honnō-ji, considering that Nobunaga got access to mystical demon powers. It's your duty to finish the job.
  • Functional Magic: Ninjutsu, which offers a wide array of apparently supernatural abilities. Other character classes such as priests and mystics have their own magical skillsets which tend to be less versatile but more powerful.
  • Gameplay Randomization:
    • At the start of every month, military movements will occur between the warring states and territories may change ownership after a battle. And because the Oda clan has the strongest army on on the map, they are most likely to engage in aggressive expansion which might complicate your ability to travel across Japan.
    • Characters that can be recruited will travel between towns meaning that they won't stay in one place for too long. And if you rest out in the overworld, characters will either try to rob you or join your party.
    • Even when you've satisfied the minimum level requirement to start taking jobs from castles, the Daimyos are very finicky and will often refuse to accept your services. What's equally frustrating is when Daimyos won't hire you to serve as a military officer to help them take an Oda-controlled province even though your trust is maxed out at 100.
    • If a party member dies in battle or you kill a recruitable character, they aren't gone forever. Rather, the game "recycles" them by giving them a randomly generated name, stats, and abilities.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • Hattori Hanzo. He's an Iga Ninja who is as tough as his legendary reputation makes him out to be. Challenging to recruit but well worth the effort.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The very first battle of the game has Nobunaga send a few of his ninjas to burn down your village. One of the Top Ninjas and his two henchmen bum rush you as you're trying to escape, but you're far too weak to do any real damage to them. The only thing stopping them from killing you right there is the sudden news of Akechi Mitsuhide's betrayal of Nobunaga at Honnō-ji Temple.
  • Ineffectual Loner: It's a mandatory requirement to create a party by recruiting comrades if you're going to have any hope of progressing through the story after completing your training at Mt. Fuji as the game will get progressively harder and harder if you try to travel and fight alone.
  • Relationship Values: There are two stats which are trust and compatibility. Characters will join you when their trust becomes high enough and will leave you when it becomes too low. Compatibility determines the ease at which the hero can build and maintain their trust with a character.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: You can talk to a Seer to find out about the compatibility of your current party members. If they tell you that "You two would get along fairly well." or "You two would never get along." then you've effectively wasted time on trying to recruit them and even more time and money on equipping them since they'll eventually leave you no matter how hard you try to keep them with you.
  • Story Branching: What you do at the hidden dungeon at the north of your starting village will decide the rest of the game.
    • Normal Difficulty Story: If you just casually breeze through the starter dungeon, a cutscene reveals that Nobunaga barely survived Akechi's betrayal and is covered in bandages.
    • Expert Difficulty Story: If you stick around and grind up to Level 11 before leaving, a different cutscene reveals that Nobunaga escaped completely unscathed and now commands an army of supernatural entities.
  • Timed Mission: The game will automatically end by the year 1601, giving you a time limit of 17.5 years.
  • Turn-Based Strategy: Once the protagonist has built up a sufficient reputation, he can sell his services out to daimyos either as a spy or saboteur, or as a military officer. Provinces will change hands and factions can be wiped out, even without your participation. Engaging in the tactical warfare elements of the game isn't strictly necessary until near the end in order to gain access to the final dungeon.