Review by MFields1978
A Gloating Ninja
I remember seeing Ninja Gaiden arcade at a carnival when I was young. I also remember not liking it because it was nothing like the NES version. Some years later, I bought it on the Virtual Console. It’s not as bad as I remember it but still not as good as the NES one.
The NES one was pretty story driven and not hard to follow. Ryu travels to America to avenge his dad and finds a conspiracy involving resurrecting a demon. The arcade? Ryu gets into a fight in Tokyo with Jason Voorhees and decides to beat up everyone in America and come back to gloat about it. This is what I got out of the game. I can’t think of it being anything else.
You start off in the streets beating up gangs. You soon come across a sumo wrestler who threw someone out of the bar. Ryu beats him up and turns into a tornado out of the stage. We then see Ryu having sushi. The next stage has him fighting on a highway. This stage is actually pretty cool and a real quarter muncher. The boss here are two big guys during the music of Iron Man by Black Sabbath. This was omitted on the Virtual Console.
Each stage you see Ryu jump and chop the glass of your monitor, and then we fight Double Dragon style across these stages. He has the kick and sword moves but my favorite is when he flips the enemies over. You can toss them into pits which is actually quite fun. You can also jump onto bars and kick as well though you could be prone to damage. Throughout each of the levels you knock or throw enemies into tables or things that can explode. It definitely adds some fun to the game.
And what is up with these Ryu photos between stages? Ryu reading the paper on a train as natives are at his window? Ryu gambling with bunny girls? Hanging off a skyscraper as he gives a thumbs up to window washers? That’s the arcade equivalent to the cinemas seen in the NES versions, I guess.
The stages themselves are alright. Most of them are on the streets with some pretty cool graffiti in the background. The least interest stage is the mountain later on. It’s a hard game though and if or when you die, you start back on a checkpoint rather than the spot you die.
The arcade is pretty funny but really hard. You’ll get more out of the NES versions but if they had that flip move that throws enemies, they would be perfect.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Ninja Gaiden (US, 12/31/88)
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