Klei Entertainment’s Mark of the Ninja for the Xbox Live division of Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 is a top download title that infiltrates agile stealth gameplay in multi-tiered 2D levels.

In Mark of the Ninja, users take control of a ninja who’s clan is becoming extinct. Users must employ stealth capabilities like instant kills and sneak attacks to take down gun-wielding soldiers that are ordered to kill on sight.

Control is tight and straight-forward. Users can attack, jump, perform instant kills in close-combat, hide behind objects or in doors, grapple to swing and perch on tall objects, and dump bodies for extra points.

In addition, users can stop time and highlight certain objects that can be targeted for projectile attacks. For example, the ninja can target a street light to distract a guard prior to kill execution.

Enemy AI is smart and will react to any sight or sound within a visible radius. Alerted enemies will trigger an alarm and extra soldiers to take down any careless players.

Level design is well-constructed with a variety with outdoor and indoor tiers. Ninja can sneak into indoor passages to find extra items and perform optional tasks like rescuing NPCs for point bonuses.

The graphics engine is solid at 60 frames-per-second. All characters are cel-shaded to relay an episodic cartoon feel that coincides with the titles cinematics.

Mark of the Ninja is a smart platform title that employs 2D stealth tactics not seen since the original Metal Gear Solid. The instant takedowns and agile platforming control with pristine precision that would make any ninja proud of their clan.

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