Reviews: Ninja Gaiden
The Final Say!
Reviewed By: Edwin Milheim
Review Date: June 2004
Distributed By: Microsoft
The premise of Ninja
Gaiden is very close to what the old original classic was back in
1988. After all what is more motivating than having your village
attacked and a special weapon known as the Dark Dragon Blade stolen?
Whatís a guy to do? Well you take up your own family blade, the
legendary Dragon sword and head off for some slashing, bashing,
frying Ninja revenge against the evil villains that have dared to
cross the line.
During the game the
story unfolds well and keeps interest up by way of some really cool
cut scenes. While not a complex story, most revenge stories really
donít have to be. Ninja Gaiden is such an incredibly well done
quality game that you wonít even miss a deep involved story.
A lot of the game takes
place in the Vigoor Empire in western Asia, it is here that the
noodles hit the fan as our hero faces enemy ninjas, living dead, and
other odd occult beings, and even some pesky commandos seem to want
to test your blade. I say bring um on! Every turn brings such a
visually stunning treat that moving onward is almost a chore. I
wanted to look at the eye candy. The whole game just looks
incredible; frame rate is very smooth even with all the things that
are happening on screen at once.
Areas are as expansive
as the outback and very very detailed and they sometimes seem to be
full of hundreds of enemies to face. Each of the enemy you end up
facing has their own way of attack and defense and some times they
seem to almost work as a team to kill your character poor old Ryu.
The Ninja I faced more than once had a couple attack at close range
while another launched ranged attacks with throwing weapons, this is
more than enough to keep the action fast and furious.
Now while there is
action galoreÖ(or should I say gore? )This is not just an action
game. Over time you acquire new skills and other abilities, you also
find scattered about useful artifacts and items to aid in the
incredible quest of maximum mayhem. That being said I have to say
some parents will want to considered what is ok for their kids
depending on age and comfort level. After all there are limbs being
hacked off right and left and great explosions of blood and gore.
Other than that it just good clean fantasy fun.
The games structure is
in the form of chapters, for most of the time you donít even notice
because there are not very many pauses at all during game play. The
further into the game one gets the more of the world opens up for
Thankfully youíre not forced to do
too much back tracking like in other games. That was good to find because
regardless of what the back tracking is for, I really hate back tracking. The
only major cool thing about backtracking in Ninja Gaiden is that sometimes
things are a bit different than the last time you passed that way. I wonít ruin
it for those who have yet to play, but I will say make sure your fingers are
Oh and I cannot get through this
without making note of the very cool acrobatic abilities of Ryu. After all the
guy is a Ninja. These acrobatic antics are not just to get your jollies though.
Oh no, you will want to master them because they are used to get to some area
that no normal being could reach. Using flips and wall runs to get to some very
tough places. I am happy to point out, while Ryu is in fact a super character
type, there are no major weak enemies per say. All of them are very tough, and
the ones that are not make that up by shear numbers. While Ryu is a tough guy,
the player has to fight with some vicious smarts knowing when to block, jump
dodge and attack because more than Ryu is close to deaths door and only one more
attack could push Ryu past the threshhold of oblivion.
The games over all balance of
sound, impressive and satisfying sounds of battle that just make you cringe at
times from the sounds of steel on steel impact. Sights and game play are pretty
tight and may well push the Xbox to the edge of its performance abilities, but
boy what a ride! This one is going to find a home on my gaming shelf because
sometimes you just have to hack and slash.
By the time the player gets to the end of the game they are going to be feeling
pretty darn good about themselves. A true sense of accomplishment washes over
you. Then, it is a sad thing because it is all over. Or. Is it? Team Ninja and
Tecmo have included a few surprises, little challenges that are not part of the
main story. Sprinkled throughout the game, such areas that are triggered if you
head back to an area you have previously cleared, an almost endless parade of
enemies comes a calling and it's major hack and slash time. Itís a tough
challenge but the rewards are pretty cool too, stick it out and reap the
benefits. There are a few other places as well, test it out in various area and
see what you get.
Now it gets even better, Tecmo and
Xbox Live announced their plan to expand the Ninja Gaiden playing experience
with additional downloadable content which will be available in the beginning of
August 2004 via Xbox Live. The evolved version will contain a wide array of
additions including new camera and action engines that will improve upon the
already superior game engine, new challenging enemies, new costumes, an arsenal
of new weapons, and more. The new download was created to go side-by-side with
the second round of the online Ninja Gaiden Tournament, named The Master Ninja
Tournament, and will also be openly available to anyone with an Xbox Live
account and a copy of Ninja Gaiden.
I used to feel that there was only
one Ninja style game that was worth my time, now I have been proven wrong. Take
this game for a ride and you may well be hooked too.
Have fun, play games.
Copyright ©2004 www.impulsegamer.com