Ninja Gaiden (NES) review
"Super Meatboy has a spiritual Grandpappy, and he’s got a dragon sword."
There are few enough games that begin with the letter ‘N’, that sorting through them netted less than half a dozen results in my sprawling digital library. Fortunately, my relationship with one of them prompted a nostalgic trip and an interesting notion: Ryu was possibly the first Meatboy. You heard me right. The unforgiving difficulty of Ninja Gaiden’s precise controls and relentless enemy spawns had me grinding my thumbs into the NES controller.
Version parity is almost ubiquitous, these days. By that I mean Skylanders played the same on the Xbox 360 as it did on the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, in spite of prevailing hardware distinctions. The Wii was fun, but compromises had to be made in comparison to the other two versions. All of its mechanics and features were intact, and you could use your character on all platforms. It’s a sort of equity we don’t often experience, but for $15 a figure, you better believe we should.
Ubisoft was ahead of the market with Skylanders, and necessity dictated that each share gameplay mechanics, levels and - well, everything else. But, such was not the case with Ninja Gaiden. My first experience with the franchise was the flashy, glass smashing arcade cabinet. Ryu’s eye catching introduction captured more than a few of the meager supply of quarters I had. Sometimes I would walk home, just so I could spend a little time with the cool dude in the mask.
Why Ryu stalks the streets and beats the living daylights out of masked men was never explained, except for a single screen I could barely read and remember even less. 'Ninja guy being cool, must play.' Pretty basic stuff for a fourteen year old. Then I discovered he was also playable on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Boy what a let down that was.
Except in a strange way it wasn’t. I remember thinking “this is Ninja Gaiden?” My cool dude ninja had become a tiny sprite who rushed away from and into danger heedless of his well being. This was not the stealthy, world aware warrior I had come to know. However, I underestimated Konami. Knowing the system’s limitations, they brought out Ninja Gaiden’s other mysterious qualities with state of the art cutscenes and snippets of suspenseful dialogue.
Community review by hastypixels (June 24, 2017)
At some point you stop justifying what you play and begin to realize what you're learning by playing.
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