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Video Game / Super Chinese

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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 Game Pro 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.

The series consists of the following games:

  • Chinese Hero (1984, Arcade)
  • Super Chinese/Kung-Fu Heroes (1986/88, FC/NES)
  • Vs. Super Chinese (1988, Arcade)
  • Super Chinese 2: Dragon Kid/Little Ninja Brothers (1989/90, FC/NES)
  • Super Chinese Land/Ninja Boy (1990, GB)
  • Super Chinese 3 (1991, NES)
  • Super Chinese Land 2: Uchū Dai Bōken/Ninja Boy 2 (1991/93, GB)
  • Super Chinese World/Super Ninja Boy (1991/93, SFC/SNES)
  • Super Chinese World 2: Uchū Ichi Budō Taikai (1993, SFC)
  • Super Chinese Fighter (1995, SFC): A Fighting Game spinoff.
  • Super Chinese Land 3 (1995, GB)
  • Super Chinese World 3: Chō Jigen Dai Sakusen (1995, SFC)
  • Super Chinese Land 1-2-3’ (1996, GB): Comes with a patched version of 3 with tweaked gameplay balance.
  • Super Chinese Fighter GB (1996, GB): A port of the original Super Chinese Fighter.
  • Super Chinese Fighter EX (1999, GBC): A colorized version of the above with new features.
  • Super Chinese 1+ 2 Advance (2004, GBA): Includes Suchai Labyrinth, a Maze Game.

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lin-Lin, notable for being the only female main character in the series.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Planet Angels in Super Chinese Land 3, led by recurring character B.B. Virgo/Virgo Vixen. One member bears a striking resemblence to a certain Pretty Soldier...
  • Animal Jingoism: Vigilante Dog and Vigilante Monkey's 9,999,999-year-old rivalry.
  • Badass Adorable: Jack and Ryu, of course. Don't you just want to pinch their cheeks?
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jack and Lin-Lin have the beginnings of one, for example her Super Chinese Fighter GB ending where he pouts over having lost to her. They do get along outside of the fighting scene, though.
  • "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.
  • Captain Ersatz: Super Chinese Land 3 introduces four bosses who totally aren't Fei Long, Dhalsim, Chun-Li and Billy Kane.
  • Chef of Iron: Don Chūka, who also has elements of Evil Chef.
  • Chinese Vampire: Kyonkyonshī in Super Chinese Fighter.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Game Pro magazine once ran a short comic series to promote the release of Little Ninja Brothers, the last of which can be found here.
  • Defeat by Modesty: How the Evil Queen in Little Ninja Brothers is defeated in the comics adaptation: Ryu shreds her dress and she runs away in embarrassment.
  • 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.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Single-Minded Twins Jack and Ryu began to develop a Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic and a handful of unique moves during the SNES era. It was bad enough that you couldn't tell which one was talking. (Chances are it's Jack, since Ryu's The Quiet One.)
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Aside from the obvious Chinaland, there's a representative for damn near everything under the sun.
  • 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.
  • Genre Roulette: A number of dungeons in the series are in the style of a Platform Game, and boss battles are often turn-based, like a typical Eastern RPG.
  • Giggling Villain: Robo-Doc and his "EEHEEHEEHEE!" in Super Chinese 3.
  • Global Currency: All of the games use Sen except for Super Chinese Land 2, which uses "Star" instead. Sen actually exists as a unit of currency in Japan, making up 1/100ths of a yen.
  • God Was My Copilot: Late in Little Ninja Brothers, it's revealed that Mentor is a heavenly being called Ten-Jin The Great.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Type A. Cosmic Keystones come in sets of seven or eight!
  • 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."
  • Guide Dang It!: The manual of Kung-Fu Heroes does not tell you how to equip the Sword once you find it (it's A+B with any d-pad direction held). Since some enemies can only be killed with the Sword, meaning you most likely need to use it to finish the game with your sanity intact, this is quite the glaring omission.
  • 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.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Robo-No-Hana's dream is to become the main character by defeating Jack and Ryu.
  • 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.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Tub-A-Tummy kidnaps some people from Deli-Chous to fatten up and later eat them; he plans to do the same to Jack and Ryu after turning them into still-sentient meat buns.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Culture Brain had some problems with this for certain characters' names.
  • James Bondage: Poor, poor Emperor Chin.
  • Last of His Kind: Shubabān is the sole remnant of the Shubaban Empire, which once ruled the galaxy with an iron fist. (And was possibly a Planet of Steves.)
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: There's also aliens, robots, and even a guy with a water jug for a head.
  • The Man Behind the Man: It took until Super Chinese World 2 before we see Gingara-Maō, the REAL leader of the Galands.
  • Mirror Boss: Super Chinese World 3 has one where you face copies of either Jack, Ryu or Lin-Lin.
  • Multiple Endings: Super Chinese World 3 is the only title with multiple endings. There are at least 5 total, though most of them consist of mode-specific variations involving Shubabān and Shun.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: The series runs on this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Dimetron in Super Chinese World 3, within Leah's Aura Pendant.
  • She's a Man in Japan: "Mistress" Banko in Little Ninja Brothers and Serpent Medusa in Ninja Boy 2.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: In Super Chinese World 3, Jack and Ryu's grandpa cracks a joke about Lin-Lin and Leah being their wives. Jack blushingly protests that they're too young to be married.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Little Ninja Brothers has the heroes eat drugged food prepared for them by the mayor of Deli-Chous (actually a disguised Tub-A-Tummy). This may also happen in Super Chinese Fighter's Adventure Mode by means of paralysis-inducing ramen, leaving only Robo-No-Hana usable for the following battle.
  • 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.
  • Tagalong Kid: Prince Bonbon/Bokuchin in Super Chinese 3 insists on hanging around Jack and Ryu long after the capital city is saved, much to their chagrin. Most of his attacks are ineffectual and he tends to cause trouble, but every so often he does something right. At least he's treated as the series Chew Toy.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Keep in mind that neither player is Friendly Fire Proof... It's fun to toss enemies into enviromental hazards such as lava and spikes, too!
  • 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).
  • Western Zodiac: There's a 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).
  • Your Favorite: In the opening of Super Chinese Fighter, Lin-Lin prepares mapodōfu with egg foo young for Jack and Ryu following their sparring session.