Review by MisterConan90
Brutal. Just brutal.
I think I can safely say to make a good video game, it needs to be challenging. I mean challenge make a game fun. But there is a difference between a challenge and torture, and Ninja Gaiden crosses the line. Don't get me wrong; it's a good game, and it does a lot of things right, but at the end, it becomes so brutal, you just wonder why something like this can be so cruel.
STORY: The story is you are a ninja and you go out on revenge and save the world. It's a bit more complex then that actually. An amazing story for an NES game.
GRAPHICS: I can safely say that this is one of the best looking games you will ever find on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The levels have great detail and are well done. The sprites look good. And don't get me started on the cutscenes. Yes this game has cutscenes. They look great. They have anime-style and like I said, the graphics are a perfect ten.
MUSIC AND SOUNDS: The music in this game is good. It's not the best I've ever heard in a game, but it fits well here, though all you will ever hear is the life lost music, but I'll get into that later. The sound here is also fine.
CONTROLS: Good controls here. You got your jump, your attack, your movement. Plus if you push up and attack, you use your ninja powers. Also you can jump walls by holding the jump button and left or right. That takes a bit to master, but it's not bad. I do have one small gripe here: When wall-jumping, you can't really jump up. You have to inch your way up, and that's a little annoying.
GAMEPLAY: It's great, then goes downhill. You are a ninja and you fight enemies. You collect powerups such as throwing stars, flame that shoots upward and a jump and slash technique that can be a lifesaver. You go to platform to platform, wall to wall and on a time limit. The game is divided to six acts. You play through 2 or 3 levels per act and at the end you fight a boss. The game gets challenging as you go along, but here lies the problem. Starting on 6-2, you get bombarded with enemies. Nothing wrong with that by itself, but here are where the problems persist. First, when you get hit you jump back. Now that's annoying for a few reasons. The obvious one is if you're on a platform, and you get hit, you fall to your death. You will do that several times when you play this game. But it's not just that. Say you're fighting several enemies. You get hit and you fly back, and then an enemy hits you, you fly back. The whole thing repeats until you are dead. The problem is recovery time. You get a second. Actually when you're flying you flicker, then you land and you're back to normal. But when facing groups of enemies, you don't have time to think; you just get batted at and batted at by enemies until you are dead. It's like a game of fast-paced volleyball, and you are the ball. The problem can be fixed if you had just a little bit of recovery time so you can take a couple of these guys out or even better, don't fly back when you get hit. And another gripe is respawning enemies. No big deal early on, but on later levels, problem. You will die several times because enemies respawn. It gets ridiculous to use up a 1000 lives. All I can say is thank God for unlimited continues. Otherwise the game would be unplayable. And to add to a bit of this craziness, on Act 6, you fight 3 bosses and if you die, you have to go through act 6 again. Before, you die and you start off at a certain level, but here you have to go through it all again. This game is so brutally difficult, it would make a masochist kill himself.
So my final thoughts: Ninja Gaiden, up to 6-2, is a near masterpiece, then it get extremely hard. I will say it's worth giving it a go, but after playing it, you will need a lobotomy.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Ninja Gaiden (US, 03/31/89)
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