Review by Vegita

Reviewed: 04/14/00 | Updated: 04/14/00

An amazing work of art surrounding a story about Ninjas and Demons? All right, break out the nachos!

Ratings:

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 8/10
Music: 9/10
Play Control: 10/10
Challenge: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Group Enjoyment: 8/10
Single Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 9/10

Ninja Gaiden (pronounced ''guy-DAN'', not ''GAY-den'') is the story of a 13-year-old boy who has set out to find out what has happened to his father. His father, an expert Ninja, was apparently killed in a duel with another Ninja, but our hero, Ryu Hayabusa (pronounced ''ree YOO'', not ''RYE-yoo''), has set out to find out the truth. Armed with a letter left to him by his father, the family's Dragon Sword, and his Ninjitsu skills , can Ryu discover what happened to his father, and what his father was doing that marked him for death? Or shall he just perish when that same @)(&$ing eagle keeps reappearing in the arctic wasteland, hitting him off the same %$)&ing cliff until he's out of lives, and is forced to continue from the beginning of the entire stage?

Good Points:
This game sports amazing graphics. The game is played out in ''acts'', like a play, where each individual stage is the action, and afterwards, conversations take place in - get this - cinematic sequences. I'm not talking about ''Final Fantasy IV'' cinematic, where your characters walk around, and there are paragraphs when someone talks. I'm talking about comic book-styled artwork in letterboxed scenes.

The music and sound are also great. The music is still some of the catchiest and most memorable music I have ever heard in any video game, and the sounds are great, for their individual actions. The challenge is also great, ranging from pathetically easy in the beginning to maddening at the end. Perfectly set.

Bad Points:
Well, to be honest, there really aren't any. The plot, while great, doesn't explain some of the enemies and bosses you have to fight, and some of the stages take you to some REALLY strange areas. One minute, you're running along the edge of a lake, and the next, you're in a frozen wasteland! What happened, did he climb a mountain? And if he did, why wasn't that part of the game?

General Ratings:

Graphics: Wow. From the beginning sequences to the ending, the graphics are just great. Ryu is animated fairly well, and there is a large abundance of enemies that aren't just palette-swapped versions of previous enemies. No, this game has originality in it's graphics. Not to mention the cinematic sequences...

Sound: Also great. The only thing that stopped this from getting a perfect is that before I owned this game (for the Nintendo; I'm well aware of the Arcade version), I owned Tecmo Bowl. If you've played that game, then you'll immediately notice some of the same sound effects. Not that this is much of a problem; they don't detract from the gameplay at all.

Music: Wow. I don't know a single person who owns a Nintendo who doesn't know the music from the first stage. The music is wild and diverse, and (surprisingly enough) quite the interesting mix of techno. From the driving music of Ryu reclaiming the statues to the mysterious music played in the presence of the ''Jaquio'' (pronounced ''ZHAK Kweo''), this game has great music. The only downgrading came from the fact that they used some of the music over for latter stages. Oh well, I guess you can't complain. Personally, I LOVE Foster's music.

Play Control: Holy cow! You move in this game, and Ryu moves VERY well. You can control your jumps very well, and the sword work, while not spectacular (if he could swing more than 1 way) is still pretty good. The special weapons, while used in the same way as Castlevania, are very easy to work with. Finally, Ryu can wall jump, which becomes a very important skill in later stages. Heck, if you're good enough, you can wall jump of the same wall!

Originality: Wowie. The only thing that brings the originality down here is that this came from an Arcade game, and the special arts usage reminds me of Castlevania. Everything else is just great, though. I mean, come on!

Enjoyment: You have to enjoy this game. I can actually get people interested in watching, because it's fun to see who can survive certain stages without taking a hit or while using a certain Ninja Art (or without using a certain art!). The plot and gameplay can easily hold a single player's attention, too. I just wish there was the 2-player feature from the Arcade. I just wanted to be a Red Ninja, but I guess I get my wish in Ninja Gaiden 2.

Challenge: This game's challenge is perfectly paced. The first stage is a basics course, where you learn how to use Ryu and his special weapons, and get a general feel for the enemies you're going to be facing. The boss of the stage, Barbarian, is easy if you know what your sword range is, which is probably exactly what you're meant to learn from the encounter. The final stages really put your learning to the test, though, as you have to wade through enemies leaping and flying at you from all sides, while others are hurling projectiles at you. The final bosses are insane, since you not only have to figure out how to hurt them, but you have to do so without dying from the multitude of jumps and traps they set up for you. Here's hoping you have mastered your art, my son.

Ending: Perfectly wrapping up the story, with a Castlevania-esque bit of graphical work. Wow, I love this game.

Overall:

This game is absolutely amazing. The play control is stupendous, the plot is engaging, the music astonishing, and the graphics are captivating. I'm running out of verbs, so I'll be brief: If you do not have a Nintendo, and are considering getting one, then this game should definitely be in your collection. You don't have to take my word on it, but I definitely suggest you at least look at it for 5 minutes.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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