Old martial arts sidescroller Kung Fu, which many NES veterans look back on fondly (if never wish to revisit), was more a display of primitiveness than an instance of effective concept implementation. The simplicity of the affair worked in the game's favor, as it gave the repetitive beat 'em up ("beat 'em up" used in the loosest sense) a certain charm that fancier visuals may have negated (try to paint a prettier picture of the third-stage behemoth and you'll wind up with a generic Final Fight big man, while the wily old magician may have seemed more laughable than elusive had he wielded "Mode 7 magic"). Most subsequent punch-and-kick affairs traveled the correct route by surrounding their violence with adventures that went beyond Kung Fu's "walk down the hall" layout; those that chose poorly and polished the surfaces of KF's remains are widely looked upon as fighting-game laughingstocks (think Vigilante). Naxat Soft's Kaze Kiri, a Super CD adventure that has wrongly garnered the reputation of being a Shinobi slayer, stands as the exception to the rule, advancing the premise of single-strip, platforming-devoid action with elements of speed, technique, and aural excellence.
As Kaze makes his initial raid on the enemy's fortress, arrows with blazing tips rain down upon him. It makes for a neat scene visually, but just imagine if those missiles could actually strike and damage our speedy warrior. Instead, they simply fly straight through him and bury their tips in the ground. Later, as Kaze makes his way through an underground tunnel, loose stones fall from the ceiling. They work to create a neat scene when, if Kaze actually had to fear and dodge them, they could've made for an intense one. The monotony that the game ultimately treads through might have easily been alleviated.
We're eventually treated to a brief interlude that shows Kaze tossing up a rope and scaling a steep wall. Why not allow us to play through this scene rather than having us watch it? Have some of those kite-riding foes assail us. Diverge from the standard run-and-slash action.
Throughout the quest, doors in the background leading to adjoining corridors and openings in the ceiling leading to goodness-knows-where are clear in view, yet we cannot enter them. These images simply reinforce the desire to indulge in a little platforming and exploration a la Shinobi III and secret-laden Aladdin. How about a labyrinthine sequence reminiscent of Musashi's late-stage exploits or a few simple puzzles along the lines of the ones that Joe is typically forced to solve? (Heck, even Kung Fu forced us to think a little when the magician seemed impervious to our attacks.)
Kaze must duel with one particularly crafty ninja numerous times throughout the game. Mightn't some intermediary cinemas serving to explain and heighten the rivalry between the two have made the confrontations that much more dramatic?