Ninja Gaiden (NES) review
"Before Sekiro, we were screaming at some other ninja-themed game..."
Way back, I might've recommended a quarter to half of the NES library with confidence. However, over the years, I've whittled that list down to a cool dozen or so. And as my recommendations dwindle, another list composed of games I absolutely loved at one time slowly grows. I call this category "play with caution," because these titles still boast some wonderful content, but at some weighty expense. Maybe you have to sacrifice bits of your sanity or health, or perhaps you'll have to endure some nonsense that ultimately hampers the experience as a whole. In some cases, as with Ninja Gaiden, it's a little bit of both scenarios...
Don't get me wrong; I still love a substantial portion of developer Tecmo's ninja platformer. The first few stages take you through action-packed sequences, where you hack up the most random assortment of henchmen ever assembled: boxers, sword jugglers, mechanical turrets, machete-wielding masked men, knife-throwing druids, armored cats, monsters whose heads resemble toothy potatoes, plus several types of mercenaries. All of them fall with graceful swipes of your sword, exploding into nondescript splashes of pixel.
Few of your foes require more than a simple stab, too. With proper timing, experimentation and daring, you can eliminate most of your opponents quickly and move onward without taking damage. This allows the action to flow quickly, maintaining a solid pace throughout this six-level campaign. Sometimes, though, your sword can't hack it (pun kind of intended), because it only extends about two feet in front of you. During such situations, ranged sub-weapons, a la Castlevania, do the trick. A lone sword thrower perched on a tiny platform in the middle of a killing gorge is no match for a well-placed shuriken or a rising burst of flames, plus it's wiser to hit him from afar than to try to jump at him and hope he doesn't smack you into the pit below.
Featured community review by JoeTheDestroyer (August 30, 2019)
Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.
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