Considering that the game before The Legend of Kage was Kid Kool, one of the worst games I’ve ever played, my bar was set low for this game to be a fun or rewarding speedrun. So this comes off with some bias, but this is a remarkably fun little speedrun! It has the perfect amount of challenge, RNG, skill, and length to be a great time-waster of a run, with an addictiveness that makes me want to play it more and more!
The game is set in feudal Japan; you play a hero warrior set out on a quest to save the Princess, who has been kidnapped by an army of ninjas and monk sorcerers. You must use your superhuman abilities to leap, slash, and ninja star through the forest, a moat, scale a wall, climb a tower, save the Princess, and take her back to the forest… only so she can be captured 2 more times! The gameplay is simple; you can take 1 hit and you have 3 lives. You can power up with an orb with makes your weapons stronger and you can take 2 hits; get 2 orbs and you can move faster! Every enemy dies in one hit and they can appear almost anywhere.
The graphics and sound are simple, but for 1987 this is actually a quite attractive game for the NES. The controls are fluid, with no dropped inputs or lag, and even with the floaty, uncontrollable jumps, you still feel like you have some input on your fate. This plays quite well, against all odds; casually this feels like an awful game, but once you understand the mechanics, this is a well-constructed port of the arcade game. You must kill a specific number of enemies in specific sections in order to proceed. The gameplay is frantic and fun, and addictive; the speedrun is so short that even a bad death late in a run is just a reset-mash-clunk away from another go.
This is without a doubt one of the most surprising speedruns in the Trials thus far. I highly recommend you give this one a go! I learned it in a short 20-30 minutes thanks to SpaceColonizer’s tutorial (you can view it here):
Give it a go! Save the girl and enjoy a nice fun run!