Retro Gaming 00’s- Ninja Gaiden: (2004)

When it comes down to older action-adventure that were probably overlooked in the early 00’s one of the few games that comes to mind is the Ninja Gaiden title from 2004. The Ninja Gaiden game from ‘04 was developed by Team Ninja and initially published by Tecmo. Ninja Gaiden ‘04 was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox and the PSVita over the time span of about nine years. Ninja Gaiden ‘04 saw the series reoccurring main protagonist Ryu Hayabusa as the only playable character while the game gave people sixteen chapters to complete within the story mode. The plot for Ninja Gaiden ‘04 revolved mainly around Ryu Hayabusa’s quest for vengeance as he seeks to destroy Doku. After killing Kureha the first Dragon Shrine Maiden of the Hayabusa Clan and stealing the Dark Dragon Blade attempted to murder Ryu arguably before fleeing. Ninja Gaiden ‘04 was also the game where we saw the introduction of a new female protagonist by the name of Rachel. The story involving Rachael and her sister Alma was both dark and tragic since they both carried a blood curse. The curse that Rachel & Alma had gave them the ability humans into animals and was given to them by Doku. The gameplay for Ninja Gaiden ‘04 was pretty unique because it looked and felt different from older games in the series. However, the developers found a way to take a series that was mainly popular in 2D during the NES era and make 3D game that had good storytelling and realistic gameplay that captured the vibe of the Ninja Gaiden series.

In Ninja Gaiden ‘04 players controlled Ryu Hayabusa from a third-person perspective and has the ability to upgrade their abilities as they progressed throughout the game. Players got to explore multiple different regions in order to solve puzzles, discover keys and fighting various enemies while being able to save their progress in the process. One of the few criticisms regarding the gameplay for Ninja Gaiden ‘04 involved the fact that the combat system was a bit tough to master and lacked flexibility. While players are given a large selection of weapons to choose each had their own set of advantages and disadvantages which added to the realism of the gameplay itself. The melee attacks along with the magical spells that Ryu Hayabusa could use in Ninja Gaiden ‘04 made the game fun for many people along with the inclusion cinematic cutscenes for each chapter of the story. Ninja Gaiden ‘04 was special not only because it was set within the world of the Dead or Alive series but it was also supposed to be a prequel to the Gaiden games for the NES as well. Ninja Gaiden ‘04 was great action-adventure game for its time and is one that probably deserves to be remastered high definition for a modern generation game system.

Classic Gaming- Ninja Gaiden: (1988)

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When it comes down to awesome side scrolling platform games there are many titles that initially come to mind such as: Super Mario, Mega Man and the Double Dragon series.  Along with those titles one of the most popular side scrolling plaform games that many people remembered included the Ninja Gaiden series.  The legendary Ninja Gaiden series started after Temco published the very first game for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988.   There were so many aspects about this game that was awesome from start to finish.  The intro for Ninja Gaiden was probably one of the best openings that you will ever see in a NES game. The opening not only gave you an idea on what the plot was about but it featured high quality 8-bit animation which was effective in serving as prelude into the game itself.   Another great thing about Ninja Gaiden was the storytelling aspect of this game.  The storytelling in Ninja Gaiden was fantastic because as one progressed throughout the game they learned more about the plot along with what their objective was.

One of the things about this game that was kinda cool included the main character being named “Ryu” Hayabusa while his father is ironically named “Ken” Hayabusa.  As many of us know the names Ryu & Ken were given to two of the main characters of the original and now very popular Street Fighter series which originated 1987.  The plot for Ninja Gaiden had revolved around Ken having to travel to America to visit an archaeologist named Walter Smith who fills him in on the details on the”Light” and “Shadow” statues before being assassinated.  As you get further into the game with Ryu you find yourself talking to the CIA in about a temple that was built in the Amazon over 2000 ago.  Ryu then finds out that the temple was taken over by a sorcerer named Jaquio who is the main villain of the game.  It was also revealed that Ryu was ambushed by one of the CIA agents earlier in the game for a greater purpose. Not only was Ryu charged with the task of defeating Jaquio to prevent the awakening of an ancient demon known as Jashin but he had to find out what happened to Ken after he disappeared earlier in the game.  Some of the revelations in this game is what made it very exciting because one had to complete certain levels in order to get the full story of what was going on opposed to having every little detail explained during the beginning.

The visual design associated with each cutscene in Ninja Gaiden were highly impressive. Not only did the cutscenes heavily contribute to the storytelling aspect of Ninja Gaiden but it also added some emotion to certain parts of the game.   At times it felt like you were watching an 8-bit cinema rather than playing a platform game which was a testament to how great this title truly was.  The transitions between cutscenes to actual gameplay seemed impeccable in terms of timing along with the fact that this game  was just as challenging as it was impressive.  When it came down to obstacles the original Ninja Gaiden game was full of them.  The battle with Malth at the end Act 5. was probably the toughest in the game next final boss in Act 6. Ninja Gaiden had also featured one of the best soundtracks that you would hear in any NES game along with the likes Mega Man II and many others.    The musical composition for stages such  5-3, 4-2 and 2-2 were brilliant since it was among many elements that made Ninja Gaiden an addictive game to play for the NES.

The fantastic BGM included in Ninja Gaiden made the game more exciting as one try’s to complete the game which seemed impossible at times.  The last two acts are extremely difficult since there were so many ways to lose a life including that insane pit jump in stage 6-2.  Some might argue that the entire was tough in general but once you completed Ninja Gaiden for the NES the ending was well worth the effort.  After its initial release Ninja Gaiden was praised by critics & fans alike for its overall production.  Even though, some might argue that Ninja Gaiden was a very difficult game to complete it is still known to be one of the best platform games of the late 80’s along with being an 8-bit classic for the NES.