Ninja Gaiden. What can I say about Ninja Gaiden on the NES? The original NG in the arcades (also available on the Virtual Console) was a beat-em-up in the same vein as Final Fight, in which you played as Ryu Hayabusa, a ninja with an arsenal of three different moves and who could only use his sword for a limited time after grabbing a power-up. Awesome, right?
Tecmo didn't seem to think so either. And so when it came time to bring the game to the NES, which had no hope of ever running a decent post, Tecmo decided to instead make a completely new original game, an action platformer instead of a brawler. The game has a strange resemblance to Castlevania: close range weapon, sub-weapons activated by holding up when attacking, having to hit candles or lanterns to find these weapons and ammunition... even the HUD bears a resemblance. But Ninja Gaiden is a much faster-paced game, and its hero is much more agile: he can run, change direction mid-jump, grab on walls and, if you are dexterous enough, climb them.
The game has a reputation for being balls-hard. The "problem" here is that as agile as Ryu is, the enemies are not limited to close-range weapons and some of them, such as birds and bats, are even faster than the hero. Plus, they respawn immediately should you backtrack even a millimeter when you kill them. But victory is nonetheless possible, if only by memorizing the levels as you get pushed into the omnipresent bottomless pits over and over again.
Oh, I almost forgot: the story in this old NES game is actually worth talking about. Ryu is not on a quest to save a princess from some villain, but is trying to elucidate the mystery surrounding his father's death. This story was told through cutscenes which were simply amazing at the time. They were detailed, well directed, and full of intrigue. Negative Worlders, you may just play through this game for the story.
Thanks for the advice! I carried over a lot of Ninja Power from 6-2 because I was so used to the levels, and found a way to get past those enemies at the end, so I ended up having around 99 points of Ninja Power while at the boss. :P
Congratulations on beating one of the hardest NES games, Paleo!
Speaking of one of the hardest NES games, I just started Ninja Gaiden 3. I never noticed before how the controls and sprites are different from the first two games. In a way, it's something of an improvement--Ryu feels slightly floatier and the knockback is toned down even more. But at the same time, it's definitely (IMO) the hardest of the series. The Japanese version was manageable, but for the US, they decided to make it much more difficult. For starters, no infinite continues. And worse yet, every enemy does at least 2 damage, with most doing 3, 4, or more! It leads to a lot of quick deaths after the second act and things get ridiculous even around the halfway point. Hopefully I can make better progress now than I have in the past...
I'm at Act VII-2 in NG2. Jacquio is pretty tough. And so is his stage.
I don't really have any more observations to add...
So, Bun, other than the double damage and limited continues problem, how's NG3 in terms of level design?
edit - Also, I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised by the List of Awesome! Can't believe we've got this many people who beat the game, and I can believe even less than I'm among them! NG has always had this reputation of being unbeatable. I'm really glad you people nominated it and voted for it after all.
So in addition to extra damage and limited continues, there's a difference in respawning. In NG1 and 2, when you die, you're sent to the beginning of a room (4-2-B), and when you get Game Over, you're sent to the beginning of the sub-stage (4-2-A). In NG3, death--even against bosses--brings you to the beginning of a sub-stage, and Game Overs bring you to the beginning of the world (4-1). On its own, this is already pretty rough; imagine running through something like 5-3 then fighting Malth all on one man.
Then imagine that everything does almost double damage.
And you only get five continues.
This is pretty much a good idea of what NG3 gets like. Granted, with normal damage and infinite continues, I imagine the game would probably be easier than the first due to the lessened knockback and improved respawning. But it DOES have all that stuff, as well as a ridiculous amount of enemies onscreen in the later levels (compared to the Japanese version) all making for a game that I'm stunned isn't more infamous for its difficulty. It's one of the hardest games I've ever played!
The level design itself is more on the "gimmicky" side like Ninja Gaiden 2, with some pretty good variety. Personally, I like that approach, and there's still plenty of combat to go around as well as a couple new control mechanics (like hanging from ledges). The story starts off kind of intriguing and just gets silly.
I'm currently at act 4 (keep dying against the boss) at 3 credits, and I'm taking a break for tonight. Whew...
EDIT: Oh, forgot to mention, but I did finish NG2 a couple days ago (can that be edited into the list?). Overall, I'd say it's somewhat easier and slightly less frustrating than the first game, but it definitely has some tough challenges (I had to do the last stage quite a bit before finishing, for instance). I generally like most of the additions to the game and it's slightly longer too, which is a plus.
How many people do we have playing anyway? Has everyone who was going to beat the game, beat it? People in that other thread said doing the RGC every 3 weeks would be even better than once a month. What do you guys think, should we jump to another game next Friday?
As many as you feel like playing, I guess. Usually the club is really just about the one game, but this time several of us got started on NG2 while waiting for the next Retro Game Club. You got a week or two ahead of you.
@Guillaume I'm getting terribly angry and frustrated, but oddly enough it's just making me want to finish the game more. I've gotten to the second form of the final boss, so I'm aiming to finish it sometime this week (hopefully).
I think I'm gonna cave and start playing Ninja Gaiden 2 tonight, despite the fact that I should be focusing on finals. The original really didn't me that long to beat I guess, so it shouldn't loom over my life too long.
By the way, three cheers for Gui for setting all this up. Hip Hip Hooray!
I actually never got around to re-starting the game. I came very close this weekend but decided I didn't want to deal with Act 6 so I played Recettear to kill some of my backlog instead of forcing myself to beat Ninja Gaiden again.
I finally beat the second form. I ended up doing it the "cheap way" and using the spin attack... as if that's cheap, because it's a pain in the ass to keep it until you get to the end. Now I just need to beat the third one...
Okay, so I've reached what (I think is) the final act of NG3. I lost all my continues and now must start over. But I think I've figured out a good way to play the game: CAREFULLY. NG1 and 2 make you hard-wired to rush through a lot of segments because of the ridiculous respawn rate and plethora of pits. NG3, however, doesn't have the enemies respawn. So the trick there is to actually hit and run when things get too hairy--retreating a bit becomes a viable option! After I realized this, things went fairly smoothly for awhile and I was able to make a good amount of progression.
I do have to start the whole game over now, but morale is high.