Review: Ninja Gaiden (NES)
Ninja Gaiden is not only remembered for how hard it was, but also for it’s incredible gameplay, dark storyline of many twists and turns, and a lot more that there is to remember. This game first introduced Ryu Hayabusa, who started in Ninja Gaiden, and then appeared as a playable fighter in Tecmo’s “Dead or Alive” fighting series of games. Upon it’s release, Ninja Gaiden has left a great legacy behind spawning sequels, and even an anime. Now it’s time to review this great classical game.
Plot. The story begins with Ryu’s father Ken, challenged to a duel by an unknown assailant, and he is killed in action. Ryu Hayabusa, then journeys to America to avenge the death of his father, and then finds himself involved in a sinister plot to take over the world. After the duel, Ryu finds Ken’s letter instructing him to find an archeologist named Walter Smith, but he is found by a woman and is kidnapped. When he wakes up, the woman hands him over a demonic-looking statue before releasing him. Then he finds info about it by Walter Smith. Now, Ryu must fight against those who want the statues of Light and Shadow, and save the world from destruction.
Gameplay. Players take control of Ryu Hayabusa, in which they must guide him through six acts, comprised of 20 different levels. Ryu attacks enemies with his Dragon Sword, and also has various secondary weapons such as throwing stars, boomerang like shurikens, fire arts, sword arts, and so on.
Ryu has the ability to jump on and off ladders and walls, he can also climb up and down by presing up and down on the directional buttons. But unfortunately, he cannot attack while he’s on walls and ladders, making this even more tougher than I thought.
Concept. Players guide Ryu Hayabusa throughout 20 different levels, most of these levels are very tough and excruciating. And the bosses become even more difficult to defeat, while at the beginning they are very slow.
Design and Development. The graphics are rendered in sprites and in 2D. The game was developed by Tecmo, known for developing games such as Tecmo Bowl, Rygar, and the Dead or Alive series of fighting games. The game was remade for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and re-released with Ninja Gaiden II and III, named as Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, with updated graphics and gameplay.
Memories. I remember when I was a child and I played this game. A family friend brought it to the house, and we spend hours of fun and excitement. Years later, when I played it on an emulator I played it again, where I laughed, ranted, and more. It was back in the day, when video games were much more challenging and tougher.
Legacy. Ninja Gaiden was an instant success that it spawned two sequels for the NES: Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos and Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom. Even Game Boy, Game Gear, and the Sega Genesis joined in the action by having their own Ninja Gaiden games. This game was criticized for it’s unforgiving difficulty, but it remains a classic. After the Handheld and Sega Genesis versions, Ninja Gaiden was slowly becoming forgotten, but fans rejoiced when Ryu Hayabusa appeared in the fighting game “Dead or Alive”.
In 2004, a reboot of the franchise was released for Microsoft Xbox, Ninja Gaiden. The two remade versions of the 2004 game, which are Black for the 360 released a year later, and Sigma released on the PS3 in 2007. In 2008 Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, and Ninja Gaiden II were released. Dragon Sword was for the Nintendo DS, while NG II was released for the 360 and Sigma 2 for the PS3. Ninja Gaiden also spawned and Original Video Animation, which was successful, and made an appearance in the 1989 cult film, “The Wizard”.
Rantings. My greatest ranting of this game is the birds. For years, the birds would easily get on a gamer’s nerves and causing them to break their controller by throwing it against the wall. Not only the birds, but the enemies that charged at you, were troublesome as well, but the worst ones were the birds. My rant of this game is the unforgiving difficulty, and the difficulty of the Sega game Chakan: The Forever Man, was a day at the beach next to this one. What bother’s me is that Ryu can’t block, I know most of you would tell me: “But Giancarlos, this is an old game, cut it some slack and show some respect. Blah, blah, blah!”
Good Aspects. The storyline was incredibly well written, and also astounding. I really enjoyed the grim and dark theme that Ninja Gaiden had, which makes this game unique in it’s many good qualities. The game has moderately high replay value, and it is a must have if you got a Nintendo Wii. You can download this on the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console for 500 Wii Points. I also really liked the Castlevania-like concepts such as health of both the player and the boss.
Overall. This happens to be one of my most remembered childhood games of all time. Also I really enjoyed seeing this game in the 1989 movie “The Wizard” starring Fred Savage, Jenny Lewis, Christian Slater, Beau Bridges, and Luke Edwards. I really like this game, and I have it on my Wii. If you have a Wii, then you can go ahead and download this game, if you have the guts to take the challenge of this incredibly difficult game. This game gets a 8 out of 10.