The NES' most classically brutal ninja game!
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I'm Gaming Jay: Youtube gamer, let's player, fan of retro games, and determined optimist... Normally I'm working my way through the book 1001 VIDEO GAMES YOU MUST PLAY BEFORE YOU DIE in my Let's Play 1001 Games series. This is a great book with a ton of classic retro games but it doesn't have everything and it's even missing some of my favorite video games. Hence, in Saturday Afternoon Gaming, screw it, I'm just going to play whatever I want!
In this series I will be playing some of the best retro games that don't appear in the 1001 VIDEO GAMES YOU MUST PLAY BEFORE YOU DIE book. So pull up a chair, slap on your headphones, and join me as babble aimlessly through some of my most favourite classic games! And hey, if you have ideas or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments below. I'm always looking for more games to try! Today we play...
Ninja Gaiden[a], released in Japan as Ninja Ryūkenden (Japanese: 忍者龍剣伝, literally "Legend of the Ninja Dragon Sword") and as Shadow Warriors in Europe, is a side-scrolling action-platforming video game. It was developed and published by Tecmo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES); its development and release coincided with the beat 'em up arcade version of the same name. It was released in December 1988 in Japan, in March 1989 in North America, and in August 1991 in Europe. It has been ported to several other platforms, including the PC Engine, the Super NES, the Virtual Console, and mobile phones.
The story follows a ninja named Ryu Hayabusa as he journeys to America to avenge his murdered father. There, he learns that a person named "the Jaquio" plans to take control of the world by unleashing an ancient demon through the power contained in two statues. Featuring platforming gameplay similar to Castlevania, players control Ryu through six "Acts" that comprise 20 levels; they encounter enemies that must be dispatched with Ryu's katana and other secondary weapons.
Ninja Gaiden has been renowned for its elaborate story and usage of anime-like cinematic cutscenes. It received extensive coverage and won several awards from video gaming magazines, while criticism focused on its high and unforgiving difficulty, particularly in the later levels. Over fifteen years after its release, the game continued to receive acclaim from print and online publications. It was novelized as part of the Worlds of Power NES game adaptations written by Seth Godin and Peter Lerangis, and it spawned a soundtrack CD.
The Famicom version of the game was first announced by Tecmo in the January 15, 1988 issue of Family Computer Magazine under the title Ninja Gaiden (which would later be used for the game's American version). The game was released on December 9th of the same year in Japan under its finalized title of Ninja Ryūkenden, which roughly translates to Legend of the Dragon Sword.[b] It was developed and released around the same time as the beat 'em up arcade version of the same name; neither of the two games were ports of each other but were parallel projects developed by different teams. According to developer Masato Kato (listed as "Runmaru" in the game's credits), the term "ninja" was gaining popularity in North America, prompting Tecmo to develop a ninja-related game for the NES at the same time the arcade version of Ninja Gaiden was being developed. The NES version was developed and directed by Hideo Yoshizawa (listed as "Sakurazaki"). Ninja Gaiden was also Masato Kato's first full-time project as a video game designer, and he contributed the game's graphics, animations and instruction manual illustrations.
Drawing inspiration from the Mario series, Yoshizawa kept the same title but changed everything else; it became a platformer as opposed to a beat 'em up such as Double Dragon; the gameplay was modeled after Konami's Castlevania, with Ryu being equipped with a katana-like Dragon Sword, shurikens, and ninpo techniques such as fire wheels. In designing the protagonist Ryu Hayabusa, the development team wanted him to be unique from other ninjas. They designed him with a ninja vest in order to place emphasis on his muscles, and they furnished him with a cowl that arched outward. They originally wanted to equip Ryu with sensors and a helmet with an inside monitor to check his surroundings, but that idea was scrapped. According to Kato, they utilized specific locations and environments to justify the need for having a ninja for a main character.