View Single Post
Old 05-02-2003, 10:10 AM   #162
Deal with it.
Icarus4578's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,550
Two ninjas, dueling in the shade of the moon....

Ninja Gaiden - NES - Rating 8
Forever a classic, Tecmo's grand series Ninja Gaiden has stood the tests of time because of not only its unique presentation and singular flair, but because it was the first such game for a home console to actually have challenging gameplay and great design to fit in perfectly with its inherently cinematic getup. The third Ninja Gaiden was a tremendous letdown, but the first and second were nothing short of greatness.
$60. That's how much Ninja Gaiden costed when it was first released on the NES in America. Everybody knows Ninja Gaiden's story by now. All sorts of people, from the old-school gamers to the newer swarm of go-getters, hell, even people living on the plains of Africa have heard the legendary tale of the Hayabusa clan's struggle to keep the light and dark statues apart. Ryu takes up the Dragon Sword to avenge the sudden death of his father Ken who was killed in a duel. But before he can avenge his death he must find out why his father had to die. Ninja Gaiden opens with a cinema, ends every stage with a cinema, and of course ends the game with a cinema. A whole community of parties get involved in the story throughout the game. The cinemas are done very well and display some of the best graphics seen on the NES. Animation wise, they're sparse. But what do you expect? This isn't a CD/DVD cinema; this is a video game. The stages are very well designed and will test your innermost game performance to the max with split-second timing on jumps and wall-latching, challenging enemies made more challenging by their often awkward placement around the often difficult to transverse stages (plus the age-old problem of reappearing enemies), and the bosses, particularly the battle with the sinuous bastard Jacquio - all adds up to one feisty challenge that will rock even adequately experienced gamers to the core. If you lose to the end boss even once you'll have to repeat the entire last stage, which is long and duly difficult. Good luck.
The gameplay is terrific for an action game, and whatever difficulties you may face with controlling Ryu only punctuate the neccessity of you playing with a higher purpose. You want to win. The game pulls a cheat on you sometimes but you learn to overcome it like everything else. You can jump and hang on walls, and you'll have to learn how to do small jumps off of walls and land on the same wall to keep going higher so that you can then jump onto some other ledge. And of course you can duck, attack with the Dragon Sword, and obtain weapons and useful items like invincibility and 1ups. In the event that you have to continue within a stage, you will have to return to the beginning and do it over again. Sorry, no instant gratification here. If you want to beat this game you'll have to earn it.
Ninja Gaiden boasts one of the most memorable soundtracks to come out of the 8-bit era, and indeed is better composed music than any game to come out over the past couple of years (aside from a select few, like Dragon Quest VII). Every single piece fits the game perfectly and helps accentuate the drama of the moment wherever neccessary. Even the sound effects are memorabilia in and of themselves. I can stay away from this game for several years and still remember how it sounds. You know it has a personality all its own.
I don't know if Team Ninja has what it takes to muster the creative level on par with the first (or second) installment of Ninja Gaiden for Ryu's X-Box debut, but whatever the case, you cannot afford to miss this genuine classic.
For those of you with a SNES, you can try and locate the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy cart which has all three NG titles (with very slight graphic/sound upgrades) on one handy cart, but it's rare. Good thing I've got a copy.

Here's a site with a couple of photos of NG ~
Here's a site with the front/back of many NES games, including NG ~
Here's in-game sprites ~ Go figure.
And here's a listing of in-game sprites for other titles ~ Enjoy.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 03-22-2004 at 10:34 AM.
Icarus4578 is offline   Reply With Quote