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Ninja JaJaMaru-kun makes very unlikely 3DS re-appearance

You'd need to be a lover of very obscure game trivia to be familiar with Ninja JaJaMaru-kun. Originally released for the Japanese NES system in 1985, the Jaleco-produced game starred a cute little ninja attempting to rescue the kidnapped Princess Sakura from an evil catfish monster and his never-ending hordes of Oriental ghouls. It was never released outside Japan until 2007, when it made an unexpected appearance on the Wii's North American Virtual Console lineup.

Like a lot of other dinky old NES launch-window games, JaJaMaru was a huge hit in Japan, turning into a multi-game series that eventually sold over two million copies over there. That must be why Hamster (the Japanese publisher who currently holds the rights to Jaleco's old franchises) decided to resurrect the guy for Ninja JaJaMaru-kun: Sakura-hime to Karyu no Himitsu, a brand-new Nintendo 3DS title with a new look straight out of kids' anime.

This week's issue of Famitsu magazine has the first preview of the game, which looks like a 2D side-scroller that'd be right at home on the Super NES. Five chapters and 15 stages of fun await our ninja pal, who's joined this time by the alluring female ninja Shizuha as he tries to save Sakura from a fate worse than death yet again.

The game's due out April 25 in Japan at a retail price of 4980 yen.

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