Review by shneepshnop

Reviewed: 03/18/04

Note to Tecmo. Less frustration more fun in games.

When the new Ninja Gaiden game was released for the X-Box I wanted 2 play it very badly. And I would have except for one little problem, I don’t own a X-Box =(. So naturally I did the next best thing, went into my closet and looked through my library of old school NES games where I unveiled, dun, dun, dun, dun, Ninja Gaiden the original. I would imagine a lot has changed in 15 years but I still wanted a Ninja game experience. So here goes…

Gameplay – 20/30
Remember those other games called Castlevania (say yes) well Ninja Gaiden is very similar to those. Now that I think about it I am surprised Tecmo didn’t get their rear ends sued over the similarities of these 2 games. For example The whole upper part of the screen is almost identical to Castlevania, It displays the players life in little bars, the enemies life, the stage, score, time, lives, etc. all exactly like Castlevania. The gameplay is also similar. There are little blobs floating around that when attacked drop different secondary weapons, like fire shield, shuruken’s, etc. These are used as secondary weapons just like in Castlevania. You get ammo for your secondary weapons by picking up certain power-ups, similar to the hearts you get in Castlevania. I’m not trying to hate on either of these 2 games I am just trying to bring something into light that I fell is important.
In Ninja Gaiden you are a ninja (gee no s%@$, eh) you kill your foes by attacking them with your sword, or throwing secondary weapons at them. A very interesting feature is you have the ability to cling to walls. This helps you avoid some enemies and provides an interesting new element into the side-scrolling genre. Ninja Gaiden is a good game, up until about the 4th level. There on out it gets extremely difficult, and in order for you to finish the game you need a lot of patience. There are 2 flaws in the gameplay that I feel could have been removed, thus creating a more pleasant gaming experience. #1 is that every time you walk past a spot where a bad guy spawns, so that the spot exits the screen, then walk back to it a new bad guy will appear. So if you run into a bad guy you don’t want to fight and back track a little bit, then return to the same spot, there will be the bad guy you originally ran from and a new bad guy. This may not seem like a problem, but later in the game where there are multiple bad guys, and you are nearby a cliff, it will get rather hectic. This leads right into flaw #2. There are many, many cliffs in this game. That in its own is not a problem, but when there are 39 baddies on the screen, and every time they hit you, you are knocked back about 4 spaces. Meaning if you are on a ledge, by a cliff you will fall off the cliff. This is extremely frustrating, and it gets so annoying that you will probably just stop playing. A good feature here is that you have unlimited continues, and you will need them if you plan on finishing this game. There are only 6 levels but overall the game is not short considering all the times you will be dieing and redoing levels. Overall the gameplay is good, but it is really just a clone of Castlevania so that makes the score significantly lower.

Funfactor - 19/20
Nina Gaiden is a lot of fun. This is one of the best side scrollers on the NES, some may even argue it is the best. You really feel like a ninja while playing this game, and that makes it more enjoyable. The only reason why the score isn’t perfect is because the difficulty gets downright annoying after about 4 levels.

Control – 14/15
Controls are excellent. The game responds to my button inputs perfectly and flawlessly. The only problem is that when you jump backwards you don’t have the same agility and mobility that you normally have when jumping. This is annoying and got me killed frequently.

Graphics – 8/15
The graphics here are bad. Considering the game was made in 1989, they aren’t very good. The graphics are plain, everything is detailed but it is just done poorly and out of focus. The backgrounds range from good to non-existent. The bad backgrounds usually only consist of 1 or 2 colors stretched across the whole screen. The whole game looks like you are peering through a camera that is constantly in need focusing.

Music/Sound - 6/15
Nothing spectacular music wise. The music is actually down right boring. The sound effects are as well. You will be hearing the same couple of sounds over and over again.

Story – 4/5
Ryu’s (the main character) father is killed and he must go find out who killed him. This is not interesting. There will be a few plot twists thrown into the mix before it is all said and done, but this is not the interesting part. The interesting part is that the story is actually present throughout the game and not just quickly written about in the manual. The story will progress a little bit after every level. It will be displayed using text and short cut scenes, which are more interesting than just displaying it via text.

Replayability - +0/5
Hey guess what? Just like all NES games there isn’t any.

Conclusion - 71/100

-Very fun
-You get to play as a Ninja and actually enjoy it

-Insanely difficult
-Annoying glitches like respawning enemies

When its all said and done Ninja Gaiden is a great game. It is great but not the best in the NES series. I believe the second Ninja Gaiden is the best. However, the first is still good. I would recommend this game to anyone, since I have never met someone who didn’t like it.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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