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Friday, September 17, 2010

Ninja Gaiden (1988)


Ninja Gaiden
The last couple days have been pretty crazy and the next week looks to be getting crazier. I'm officially moving into my dorm room and starting freshman year at UC San Diego tomorrow! Among the crazines, I found time to play Ninja Gaiden, a personal request from a friend (and a whole lot of you viewers). I have heard of this game and seen people play the newer versions on the Playstation consoles, but I have never actually played a game from the franchise. From what I saw and what people have been telling me, I was getting ready for a game that could rival Battletoads in difficulty.

Game Commentary: As the I started playing the game, I noticed a lot of similarities to Castlevania, except the platforming was much smoother and I found myself enjoying it much more. I found that I was expecting something much more difficult than what I was playing, but I think the developers made it easier on purpose so that the player could experience the (surprisingly entertaining) storyline. This is the reason I think that modern games use to justify being so much easier than these NES games. The “current gen” games focus so much on storyline that it would be awful for business if most of their players couldn't experience it because it was too difficult for them.
A Ninja Star Boomerang - One of the many secondary weapons

Now that doesn't mean this game isn't difficult. Anyone that has played this will tell you that 6-2 is completely ridiculous. Similar to Castlevania, the first Act was relatively easy only to get exponentially harder each Act. Around the 3rd Act, the game introduces these swooping birds that simply destroyed me (if you've played this game, you know exactly what I'm talking about).

There were several times during the game where the plot threw me for a loop, especially during the last couple minutes of the game. There were so many twists in the plot that I felt like I was watching the end of a movie. Overall, an awesome ending to a really enjoyable game.

Apparently Ninjas can throw fireballs out of their hand

What I Loved: The fighting in this game was awesome. I loved running around slicing up baddies. The platforming was very fun and challenging (I would often find myself tense up when finishing some crazy sequences). The types of enemies varied enough that you had to start incorporating whatever secondary weapon you have to make it past some parts. The bosses were awesome and all made me think of some very unique and inventive ways to kill them.

What I Hated:
Those swooping birds *shudder*. They are worse than the Medusas and Hunchbacks combined. Also it would get frustrating sometimes when you would unintentionally grab the sides of walls.
The man with the sword is the least of your problems

My General Impression: I loved this game. It is my favorite NES game I have played so far. The action was awesome, the story was engaging and has a couple twists at the end, the platforming was challenging yet fun, and the dialog was so cheesy I found myself laughing out loud several times. There secondary weapons were really fun to mess around with (the fire was the best in my opinion) and worked really well with the sword. Overall, Ninja Gaiden is one of the best games I've played in a long time


60 comments:

Alex Raintree said...

I love this game. I agree that the infernal swooping birds are enough to make you want to eat the controller. You have me wanting to play it now. :]

Cheddar Wizard said...

You know what I loved about ninja gaiden? THE MUSIC! so rocking!

T said...

The game that helped kick start my ninja obsession, definitely a good one - and glad you enjoyed it.

Jeremy said...

The bosses had to be tackled with strategy other than "slash them until they die" ? There are only a few bosses that don't just stand there and pretty much BEG to be killed.

Money said...

i love this blog man, I love video games and i always wanted to know more about classics like this that i never got to play. You dont understand how awesome it is reading your blog.

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Scott Lancaster said...

It's very interesting to read your opinions of these games, as your perspective is different to people around my age (30). Hopefully you'll review some Master System titles too, like Alex the Kidd in Miracle World.

Joseph Luster said...

Nice that you could appreciate this despite some of its odd design flaws (like enemies that reappear even more brutally than most NES games). I love Ninja Gaiden, and of course the soundtrack is just explosively awesome.

B. DePasquale said...

Funny actually I was talking to people about classic video games not too long ago, people forget that most of the games we play now originated from back in the day. I just saw an intelevision the other day. I had flashbacks of sliding the little sheets over the controller so you know what does what. Man Classics good post.

Ankiseth said...

Surprisingly, I never actually have played Ninja Gaiden. It looks like a fun enough game, though.

For classic NES games, if you want one that's difficult, try playing Gauntlet. The game was a blast and can last for quite a long while depending on whether or not you know what you're doing.

Billy Apathy said...

My older brother played Ninja Gaiden more than I ever did. I remember it very well though. I might have to go and play it now.

Game request:

1. Final Fantasy - Obviously, the classic that started the whole franchise. It's so ridiculously hard. The monsters are at such random levels of strength you could get destroyed in seconds if you take the wrong turn. But still a fun game.

2. The Legend of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link - I'd be really interested to see what you thought of this one. It's got mixed reactions when I was growing up. It was definitely.....different.

mulberrybracken said...

Request:

StarTropics

My friends always make fun of me for talking up this game, but it's really quirky and the gameplay's a lot like Zelda. I'd love to hear what you have to say about puzzle difficulty and these DAMN ZODA SPAWN.

Nate said...

Looks similar to ninja spirit, so I assume it's just as fun - I haven't played this one :0

idk what year PoP is, but it's a fun retro - are you reviewing that any time in the future?

Patrick said...

Hey congratulations on starting college, I just graduated a few months ago. Have as much fun as you can freshmen year. After that things just get tougher.

Really enjoying your blog, keep it coming.

I'm hoping you'll do some Sega Genesis games as that was the system I grew up with (before there was N64).

Mark G said...

Great idea for a blog mate! Seems like you've got a decent following too...

FutureFame said...

nice classic picks so far as for rescue i hated that game with a PASSION. man what a waste..try looking later into shinobi and castlevania simons quest, double dragon for a quick beatem up xevious for a shooter..

The Clever Pup said...

Get outside!

James said...

Nice blog! I'll be coming around more often as I love to read people's opinions on the classics. Ninja Gaiden is a great game, I managed to beat it one time... just once.

I have to disagree on the best secondary weapon though, I'd take the whirlwind jump over any other ability in a heartbeat, it's especially brutal on bosses (can kill them in one or two swoops, it makes beating this game much easier, don't think I can do it without it to be honest).

Alonzo Orion said...

Haha! So formal, same age as me and your blogs like the anti-Christ of my blog! xD *hides under a rock*

Kapre said...

Great write-up. As hard as the game is, the difficulty curve is at least manageable if you stick to it and understand what the different secondary weapons do. And, oh God, those birds...

Good luck with college, sir. I'm sure you'll have a grand time!

~Q

João said...

As someone who grew up on the Mega Drive (and occasionally played an older cousin's NES), seeing you tackle 80s games for the first time is pretty amusing. Both because you're finding good ol' hard game staples for the first time, and also because I haven't actually played some of them myself :P
I'm actually willing to try those I haven't yet, about now.

As for suggestions... Super Mario Bros. (1,2,3 and even Lost Levels, if you want), Megaman 1-3 (start with MM2, though. MM4-6 are much of the same, though) and Kirby's Adventure are well known.
But I also enjoyed DuckTales, Adventures of Lolo and Solomon's Key (I played those on the Gameboy, so I'm not sure how different are the NES versions).

Speaking of which, will you cover GB games as well? I think that's my childhood console even moreso than the Mega Drive.

Olívia Németh said...

Really cool blog!!

David Davidson said...

I'm requesting Megaman next. Anyone one of them.

Ryan said...

While others have suggested more of the great games, you really have to play some of the *awful* ones to get the whole NES experience. Super Pitfall was the very first game I ever rented, and was far, far worse than the original Atari 2600 Pitfall. Back to the Future is also notorious for its terribleness.

Don't forget unlicensed games! Try Action 52 and imagine how you would have felt paying its original $200 retail price.

roguez4lifez said...

great post!

chrisbid said...

question... are you playing these games on original hardware or through emulation?

Scott said...

I loved Ninja Gaiden as a kid, and I've been playing the old version recently (on the Wii). The later levels are still as hard as ever. I'm still stuck.

Slyde said...

just found your site and i really am enjoying it.

of course, my gaming resume is a bit different from yours (im 40), so i perhaps have a different perspective of alot of these gems. River Raid, for example, captivated me and all my friends as a kid. As for not having a story, really NONE of those games (river raid is older than most that you are reviewing.. early 80's) had one...

Gareth Mensah said...

Ninja is a classic. Def one of the best NES game.

SuperMarioMan4427 said...

dude i loved the awesome music on thus game!!

Omi T said...

Man this was the game back in the day. The cinema scenes were top notch back than and the music was great. I loved all three parts man the good old days.

BluegrassSoldier said...

Some of my buddys were playing Castlevania in my bay the other day. I really miss playing Double Dragon for the Sega if anyone remembers that one.

Heroinfuntime said...

omg, i remember that game, I was so fucking terrible at.

Zero_13 said...

Dude this blog is nicely done. Ninja Gaiden is EPIC!!!

Omnirhox said...

Finally someone makes a blog that is worth seeing, Epic Job!

Cursos Trabajadores said...

Cool!! i remember the game

John Crowe said...

Up with this sort of thing!

J-bones24 said...

have you played the xbox/ps3 remake of this?
apparently its one of the hardest xbox games made!

Wade said...

Hey, this is an awesome blog. It's really interesting to see you playing these games for the first time and I grew up with them. So far, I think the only ones I haven't played are Ninja Gaiden and Rescue. Although, I'll break out my old Nintendo and play Final Fantasy or Super Mario Bros. 3 tonight. Such an inspiring blog!

Chezzy Dezzy said...

Really glad I found this blog, I too play and enjoy older video games. Great site!

Tahj Blow said...

Nice review. Like Alex said; you had me wanting to play the game. Thanks for the post

JD said...

This is a really interesting blog! As I am a gamer, I will keep coming back for more.

Miller said...

Ninja Gaiden hard much?

Dyldog said...

Got to respect the founders.

SuperSpongy said...

TMNT is the next one you're playing, and it will be brutal - especially the dam stage... Kid Icarus would be a good one to try, and the other games in the poll vs TMNT are all good ones to consider. The last boss on NARC? I thought he was invincible when I was a kid.

Lucas said...

Hi!
Your blog is nice! I grew up with a N64 by my side too, and I feel just like you described in your 1st post. Maybe I'll start to play these old games too, who knows?

chickling* said...

I grew up playing the PAL version, Shadow Warriors. I just remember it being unbelievably hard but it had a killer theme.

Granola Girl said...

I was 5 almost 6 when Ninja Gaiden came out. Oh the hours, the countless hours. The games were hard because they provided you with a sense of redeeming accomplishment when you succeeded. I remember passing the birds and standing with a primal scream in complete accomplishment. Fists in the air, giddy as all hell, I was victorious! It was a small act in the course of the world, but in that moment I was all powerful and could accomplish ANYTHING! Being so young, these sorts of video games became a weird sense of confidence and building block for the childhood of my generation. The fun came from the striving; somehow that has been lost now. If it is too hard, kids just stop.

My son's middle name is Link after Zelda and though he doesn't get it, everyone my age thinks it is highly rad.

Aaron Fitzgerald said...

Love the blog!
Check out Dragonquest IV for NES, still one of my favorites.

Jan said...

LOL...sometimes my kid hooks up his stepbrother's old Nintendo just for the shits and giggles. I think I've seen this one in the old repertoire...

Mr. Jellyfish said...

This blog is awesome! Great idea and nicely written, I had to go back and read all the earlier reviews

kevin said...

i sent you that book for a reason.

i know you're in transition, but don't lose focus!

ClamJuice said...

Dude. Why haven't you posted in over a month? You need to play a new game! I suggest trying an import NES game, Atlantis no Nazo. You'll need a famicom to nes converter which is in an original gyromite cartridge (you can get one for less than $20 on eBay) or a 60 to 72 pin adapter like (http://www.superufo.com/product_html/Cool_Stuff_FC_NES_72_Pin_to_60_Pin_Convert.html#). You can find Atlantis no Nazo on eBay for as little as 30 bucks. So it'll cost you as little as $40 and the adapter will assist you in playing a ton of other imports that never made it stateside.

twebb001 said...

the point is to play popular games people actually played, most kids didn't have the means to import.

Maunderingcabal said...

I miss when games were challenging to beat, like this one. I remember really feeling like I acomplished something when I beat this game when I was a kid, instead of watching cutscenes after following an arrow.

Bettie said...

Throwing fire around is actually one of the techniques done by ninjas games. Back in ancient Japan, it was believe that ninjas were able to control nature itself. The fire is just one of the many elements believe that ninjas can manipulate.


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Korsgaard said...

I don't mean to bother, but anychance for an update soon?

http://korsgaardscommentary.blogspot.com/

Sean McCally, C. said...

this game made they way for all action games made today, luckily i still have my copy but no NES :(

Konstanty Kwas said...

only in nes emulator od game card in console :( so sad

Fakhita Sousou said...

I Want to Tell You That Really your article is amazing
Achat bien


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