#16: Ninja Gaiden

Released In: 1989
Developer: Tecmo
Publisher: Tecmo

      After the apparent death of his father Ken in a ninja duel, Ryu Hayabusa receives a letter from his father instructing him to seek out his old colleague Dr. Walter Smith. When he gets to America, Ryu is instantly attacked by a gang led by Barbarian, a member of a dangerous group known as the Malice Four. Ryu soon uncovers a plot masterminded by The Jaquio, an evil warrior who plans to awaken the ancient God of Destruction using two idols, the Light Statue and the Dark Shadow. As Ryu struggles to keep both statues away from Jaquio and his followers, he suddenly finds himself being blackmailed by a corrupt CIA director who sends him on a suicide mission to South America to assassinate The Jaquio. Ryu is also aided in his quest by the mysterious Irene Lew, a beautiful CIA agent whose true allegiance in unclear.

Syd Lexia: This game employs a trite little plot twist that the Japanese seem to love, but I fucking hate. I'm speaking of course of the old "Good Guy Who You Thought Was Dead But It Turns Out He Was Still Alive But Then He Dies Five Minutes Later" angle. I find it to be unnecessary and irritating. If Ken Hayabusa is supposed to be dead, keep him dead. Don't drag him back into the storyline in the final chapter and then kill him off again. It's fucking stupid. Enix pulled the same shit in Dragon Warrior III. You're in the last dungeon and you witness your father Ortega, who you believed to be long dead, in the middle of a losing battle. Rather than going to his aid, you watch him perish and THEN attack the monster he was fighting. And it's like, why? What's the point of teasing a character's return, only to kill them off? It's not clever or shocking; it's gay. But whatever, you generally don't play platformers for their storyline, you play them for the action. And Ninja Gaiden has plenty of action.

greeneyedzeke: Before being partially eclipsed by the ego of its developer and his insane, crushing need to wear sunglasses indoors, the Ninja Gaiden franchise told the simple story of a ninja named Ryu and his insane, crushing need to do backflips repeatedly. Seriously, the game is great, but if you are at all squeamish about pulling off fancy maneuvers that force you to wrap your hand around the controller like some kid of palsy victim (and I know a few people with this particular phobia), then stay far, far away.

By the way, am I the only one who finds it kind of sad that this superhuman death-dealing martial arts master has been reduced to appearing in hi-res titty crap? Sure, the X-Box Ninja Gaiden was pretty good, but Itagakiís insistence of upping the difficulty level made me roll my eyes and stop two-thirds of the way in. Oh well, thereíll always be the original...

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25: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

24: Duck Hunt

23: Castlevania

22: River City Ransom

21: Super Mario Bros. 2

20: Mega Man

19: Metal Gear

18: Crystalis

17: Maniac Mansion

16: Ninja Gaiden

15: StarTropics

14: Tetris

13: Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

12: Metroid

11: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game

10: Super Mario Bros.

9: Battletoads

8: Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

7: Contra

6: Bubble Bobble

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