News Article

Last Ninja 3 Pulled From European Virtual Console

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Bye bye, broken Commodore 64 game

Bringing an end to a long-standing issue with the download release of the Commodore 64's Last Ninja 3, Nintendo has pulled the game from the European Virtual Console. A bug present since release was never fixed by Commodore Gaming, and those who have purchased the game will be receiving a refund.

Nintendo Life had raised the issue with Commodore Gaming when the title was released in December 2008 and was assured a patch would be made available soon. Needless to say, that never happened.

One of our very own community members, Betagam7, has kept up the fight ever since. After badgering customer service reps since the broken game was released, Betagam took it a step up and reported Nintendo to the UK's Trading Standards Institute. Today Betagam received the following email from Nintendo Customer Service:

Dear Betagam7

I apologise for emailing you directly, but we have today received confirmation that “Last Ninja 3” will be removed from the European Virtual Console service. Any consumers that have purchased this title will have the Nintendo Points value refunded to their account. Once again, thank you for providing information regarding this title.

Kind regards,

Jackson Davies
Customer Service Team Leader
Your Nintendo Team

Score one for being heard!

The bug in question appears after completing the first stage, after which the screen would freeze blue and prevent players from advancing.

[via Topic: Last Ninja 3 being removed from VC service: refunds given]

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User Comments (32)

Betagam7

#2

Betagam7 said:

I've emailed them back asking if a fix is still planned, the problem is that Codestorm who run Nintendo's UK customer service line are a third party so its kind of a three way process with me contacting them then and them having to get a reply from NOE which takes a while.

I too hope there is a fix eventually though. This has got to be a first for the VC, not only does Europe get no releases this week but we (albeit rightfully and not before time) have a game withdrawn.

Here's hoping Nintendo can make it up to us soon with some of those VC titles its been holding back on.

Ricardo91

#3

Ricardo91 said:

There's a few Europeans gamers that should be quite happy about this.

And BTW, nice job on getting them to listen to you, Betagam! Now let's see if you can tackle that 50hz problem!

Ristar42

#4

Ristar42 said:

Remarkable that trading standards had to get involved (talk about listening to your customers), well done though - I get a refund! Never got past the first stage to check it but the game isn't as good as two in my opinion anyways. Since it takes this to make them pull a broken game, a 60Hz option is likely to never happen!

Betagam7

#5

Betagam7 said:

@Ristar42

It can be infuriating but what this shows is that it is possible to make a company listen with the right level of persistance and nobody should ever give up on their greivances.
We are Nintendo's customers and its good practice for them to listen to what we want.
I believe that Nintendolife changing their review score to 1/10 also was significant in getting across the point to them that the game really was broken after they initially refused to believe what they termed "third party forums". As you say though, its a pity that even after recognising the fault it took Trading Standards to get them to do the right thing.

On the subject of 60hz, Damo actually asked me to pen an article on that a while back which is currently 3/4 complete as I've been snowed under with work for months but I'd like to complete it eventually as we've already shown here that websites and the vpoice of consumers can cause Nintendo/Sega and others to sit up and listen to their audiance.

Like you I doubt we'll get change overnight but with the right level of dedication I believe that eventually the message can get through.

WaLzgiStaff

#6

WaLzgi said:

I don't see how Nintendo can fix this. This isn't one of their games

jangonov

#7

jangonov said:

Betagam7 you are an inspiration that the consumer's voice will be heard eventually with persistence. Thank you

Betagam7

#8

Betagam7 said:

@IZ2010 You are right Nintendo can't fix the game but they shouldn't be hosting it knowing it is broken either, hence why they needed to take it down and have finally now done so.

Commodore Gaming are the ones that promised to fix the game and the ones that need to fix it, however they seem to have gone incomunicado along time ago and havn't updated the US release section of their website in over a year even when new games have come out.

Link79

#9

Link79 said:

I hope this gets fixed somehow. It would be a shame if it never got released in the U.S. Seems Commodore doesn't care much to fix it. Lets badger them until they do. I really wanted this one too.

colmtheperson

#12

colmtheperson said:

This should have been pulled 10 months ago! The games been out for over a year! Why did Nintendo give them so much time to fix a bug?

MayhemStaff

#16

Mayhem said:

@andol123 - that's my post over there. The original disks DO have a copy protection system that lets you play the first level but then crashes when trying to load level two. I can't believe this would actually be the case here, but you never know...

I'm glad the game IS finally off the VC and people will be refunded because it should never have gone up in the first place like this.

timp29

#18

timp29 said:

About freaken time. And I still can't believe they claimed it was fixed and working along the way.
I have always wanted to play this game in the ninja series... it's the one I missed out on as a kid.

@betagam7 I'm looking forward to your 50/60Hz article. You've been vocal about it for a while and I've always wondered what I have been missing out on :p

thelight

#19

thelight said:

Whoa. I am in another one of my C64 moods and was just about to splurge on a load of C64 VC games this weekend. I had never heard of this problem before but am glad it's now pulled before I bought it. Thanks Betagam7 for keeping up the pressure and giving the VC 1 less shoddy port.

andol123

#21

andol123 said:

@Mayhem - I bet that is actually the reason for it not working on VC.

Hopefully they'll release Last Ninja Remix (Last Ninja 2 with different graphics and music). I remember buying it hoping it would be a new game, only to return it because it was Last Ninja 2. But now I'd really like to have LNR on VC. The music by Reyn Ouwehand is really great.

Betagam7

#22

Betagam7 said:

Tony, you could well be right that it might have hit other territories despite being acknowledged as broken. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened with a game.

Many years ago an N64 game WWF: No Mercy appeared in North America with a glitch that randomly erased the game's memory. Despite this being raised as an issue by consumers it didn't prevent the publisher THQ from releasing it several months later in EU territories with exactly the same glitch. The game was eventually recalled but only after months of THQ and Nintendo stubbornly refusing to admit the game was at fault and blaming everything from 3rd party controller paks onwards.

Similarly with this game the attitude of Nintendo's UK customer service team Codestorm in ignoring/discounting consumer feedback for so long is truly baffling as is Commodore gaming's seeming inability to get the game working properly in over a year.

My point to Nintendo was always that while the game remained available for download the incentive for Commodore gaming to fix it simply wasn't there. Then there is the moral issue of knowingly selling broken software.

The initial responses I got from Codestorm were along the lines of "everything Nintendo ever does is perfect so there cannot be a problem with this game". They refused to take complaints on forums seriously and it was only when I showed them the review score on this site that they began even accepting that I might have a point. Even then they couldn't promise to take the game down, hence why I involved trading standards.

Pj1

#24

Pj1 said:

Got nothing to do with it I know, but Nintendo should have allowed keyboard play too. This is part of the big N stamping their seal of approval, GOOD!

Link79

#26

Link79 said:

How do we know the same thing won't happen with future commodore releases? They should fix Last Ninja 3 and put it back up before adding anymore Commodore games to VC.

Betagam7

#28

Betagam7 said:

The game was officially removed from the shop channel with this weeks update giving us the first ever minus VC week!

Those who bought the game will have had there license to play it disabled and a 500 point refund from Nintendo.

No apology or direct acknowledgement has yet been offered to those who were affected by this.

SKTTR

#31

SKTTR said:

@ Dragoon:

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES) was removed, but because Nintendo made a test with limited availability just like the WiiWare-demos. It was re-added a year later.

Family & Friends Party (WW) was removed because of glitches and freezing and was re-added 3 weeks later in the same damaged form. I'm screwed with this game as they didn't seem to find the errors in the game code.

I got a refund of 500pts now for Last Ninja 3 (C64), and it was removed from my Wii Shop account. The Last Ninja 3 icon can still be selected in the SD card menu, but as I tried to start the game and play a little more stage 1, the same message appeared as when you try to start a game that was downloaded on a different Wii. So all that's left is that icon.

I really hope Last Ninja 3 gets fixed and re-appears on the Wii Shop. I would spend 500 points on it again as I really like Last Ninja 1&2 (I beat them both on VC) and beat Last Ninja 3's first stage over and over again.

gojiguy

#32

gojiguy said:

Good job Betagam7!

Now if only we could do the same for the Fatal Fury Special control issue. It's really bugging me and the game is unplayable.

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