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Retro Game Club Discussion Thread - 03 - Ninja Gaiden [community]

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.

Then again, you probably won't.

Why not add Ninja Gaiden (NES) or perhaps even Ninja Gaiden: Arcade to your collection, and indicate you are currently playing it?

List of Awesome:
X‑pert74 (beat the game overnight!)
ludist210 (beat the game also overnight? What's going on!?)

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Posted: 04/29/11, 08:40:34  - Edited by 
 on: 10/27/11, 08:06:55
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Well, if we measure our eDong by how good we are at Ninja Gaiden, then I'm telling you now: I've just discovered I'm a woman.
Posted: 04/29/11, 18:49:21

Haha! Kid Icarus does that to me everytime I try to play that damn game. I'm still stuck on the third level since the 5th grade.
Posted: 04/29/11, 18:51:04
I downloaded NG about three months ago, said "this is hard" after one session, and haven't gone back to it.

So here I go. I'll try to play some tonight, but will do the serious heavy lifting on Saturday.
Posted: 04/29/11, 18:51:28

Heh heh, well as I said in my second post, maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe this is what we need to man up and conquer our demons.
Posted: 04/29/11, 18:52:34
Abdooooo said:

Haha! Kid Icarus does that to me everytime I try to play that damn game. I'm still stuck on the third level since the 5th grade.

Yeah, KI is a killer at first. But I do think it's remembered as slightly more brutal than it deserves. Back when it came out, most of us hadn't clocked thousands of hours on that D-pad yet. And the game eases up quite a bit after the first fortress. (Of course, I say that as someone who's been playing it forever.)

But Ninja Gaiden? Forgettaboutit. This one is always going to be murder.
Posted: 04/29/11, 18:58:20  - Edited by 
 on: 04/29/11, 18:59:08
NG will always remind me of having sleep overs as a kid. My buddy down the street invited a bunch of us over to camp out in his back yard. We ended up all huddled around his 13" bedroom TV taking turns playing NG. We finished the game early in the morning but I can't take full credit. Once I'm done with AI I'll take another stab at this bad boy.
Posted: 04/29/11, 18:58:32
Thanks guys It was a lot of fun to play through this game again. Part of why I rushed through it in one sitting last night is because there's no save function, and since I have the original cartridge I knew I'd have to play again from the beginning each time I turned it on, so I wanted to just conquer the whole thing in one go. I'm proud of myself

Since I got the NES game out of the way, I think I'll check out the arcade game. I've never played it before, so I'll be able to see the similarities and differences between the two

I've got some advice too, if you guys are interested! There is one particular asshole jump in 6-2 (you should know what I'm talking about when you see it; the jump is between two small platforms over a bottomless pit, and on the other platform there's a ghoul throwing crosses or whatever, while a bird spawns right there and tries to divebomb you), which is sooo completely jerkish it's just a pain in the ass. There is a way to get by it though, without even using any special weapons! What you do is scroll the ghoul offscreen by inching to the right a bit at a time, but before the bird's spawn point is reached. Then when the bird spawns, you run/jump (I forget the exact timing; you just need to practice it in order to get a feel for what works) to the left, over the bird, so that the bird is still on-screen (and thus not able to respawn), yet far enough away that you can finally make the jump uninterrupted! Be careful not to run too far to the left when doing this though, or else the ghoul might spawn again
Posted: 04/29/11, 22:48:06
God Irene's such a fox. Ayane and Rachel and the blonde S&M chick from NG2 don't even compare.
Posted: 04/30/11, 01:42:09
So guys... if I were to join you... should I get the NES or Arcade version? Is one easier than the other? Or rather, does one have better hit detection, less asshole-ish design to the player than the other?
Posted: 04/30/11, 01:51:05
I played a little of the arcade game on my Xbox (through Ninja Gaiden Black). I died very quickly and hated it. Then again I'm not big on old school brawlers in general.

My vote goes for the NES game, then.
Posted: 04/30/11, 01:54:03  - Edited by 
 on: 04/30/11, 01:54:31
The NES and arcade games are entirely different games. The NES game is a sidescrolling action platformer (like a faster, tighter Castlevania), while the arcade game is a beat-em-up like Final Fight or Ninja Turtles or something. I think most people here are playing the NES game, though I feel like checking out the arcade game too, since I've never played it before.
Posted: 04/30/11, 01:54:34

I like both of those genres... but I think I'll go with the NES because I like action platformers better, especially since I just started getting into Castlevania, and now you're saying it's like a faster, tighter version of that? I'm all for it!
Posted: 04/30/11, 01:57:02
@Paleo_Orca Totally I played Ninja Gaiden long before I started checking out the Castlevania series, so I didn't like Castlevania as much because it felt like a slower, clunkier Ninja Gaiden to me.
Posted: 04/30/11, 02:13:38
I'm facing Malth.
Posted: 04/30/11, 04:30:03
Okay, starting up this thing! I dunno if I'll beat it again, but I do plan on at least getting to the last boss.

Can I still be on the List of Awesome if I've beaten it BEFORE?

ACT 1:

-Pretty easy and fun stage. Not much to add except that I never liked that jump-attack move because it burned through all your magic power (or whatever that stuff is).

-I like Irene's '80's do. She's quite lovely and I was disappointed she wasn't in the later games!

-I like how this and Castlevania show the boss's life the whole time. It kinda builds up that encounter for me throughout the level. Like "I wonder who's life that is!"

-Even in the '80s, games had skippable cutscenes! Devs of today could learn a couple things...

ACT 2:

-2-2 is when the game starts getting a little hairy. Ninja Gaiden loves putting enemies near the edges of platforms to make your life miserable. Master the timing of jumping and slashing them and you're on your way to mastering the game.

ACT 3:

-Here's where things get tough. I managed to do better than expected running on memory. The boss here can be a real pain, but try to get to him with the Art of the Fire Wheel (the sub-weapon that goes up in an arc); it makes things simpler.

-Why is there a Ryu/Ken in this game too? Ryu Hayabusa's dad is Ken. That CAN'T be a coincidence. Anyone know?

ACT 4:

-Geez Foster, you sure do talk a lot.

-Ooh, extra lives. This stage isn't as bad as I remember. But I know that after it comes madness...
Posted: 04/30/11, 04:49:55

This is it! MUSIC, Gameplay great stuff
Posted: 04/30/11, 05:27:32
Fuck you 6-2
Posted: 04/30/11, 05:37:52
Played up until Act 4 and I really like it. It's tough, but doable. I think I used 5 or 6 continues so far.
Posted: 04/30/11, 06:08:14

Don't you guys read the OP?

TriforceBun said:
Can I still be on the List of Awesome if I've beaten it BEFORE?

Posted: 04/30/11, 07:28:40  - Edited by 
 on: 04/30/11, 07:29:51
FART. I gotta play through this madness again? Ahh, might as well go for it since I'm fairly "close" (technically, but not really since you need to practice to practical perfection to beat this one).

Current progress (now blacked out for those going in fresh):

Act 5 is where I remember why this game gave me trouble. Up until this point, I'd continued once...but 5-3 alone sapped me of another 3 continues or so. 5-2 is no slouch itself, with probably the hardest pit jump in the game (the part with the two cliffs facing each other and you have to stick to one and land on the lower platform), but 5-3 just gets cruel and CHEAP. And if you die against Malth, you have to start from the beginning of the stage!

Anyway, Malth is actually simple if you have full life--just wail on him and you'll outlast him (barely). But Act 6 is really the reason everyone has such cruel memories of this title. With some effort, I made it to the last boss, but that floating form really does a number on me. It wouldn't be SO bad if the game gave you more chances, but even dying (not just Game Overs) once against him sends you alllll the way back to 6-1, so it just becomes super-repetitive. One of the worst "checkpoint" decisions in video game history, I'd say.

What else ticks me off is that the designers are clearly competent--a lot of the stage design is quite fun and the good kind of challenging. But more and more towards the end, you'll notice some super-cheap, lame enemy placement. The respawning is horrendous--not only will enemies reappear if you nudge slightly offscreen, but they'll very often pop right back up if you stand still and kill them! There are numerous spots where a bird will fly out at a critical jump point, and even if you don't turn back, killing the bird will just make another immediately pop out, ad infinitum. It's psychotic.

And don't get me started on the ledge-guarding enemies!

Otherwise, a good game for sure. But geez, it's ridiculously cheap at times, namely in the entire final stages.
Posted: 04/30/11, 08:05:44
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