Tecmo let Tokyo Game Show attendees get their hands on an updated version of its upcoming Nintendo DS Ninja Gaiden game and, unsurprisingly, it was a blast. The playable demo on display in Tecmo's TGS Booth is a short but sweet run through a few areas to a boss fight. The demo offers a good showcase for Ryu Hayabusa's promising DS outing, which takes a whole new angle on how to play an action game on the DS.
The demo opened up with Ryu Hayabusa making his way through a courtyard and taking out enemies as they appeared. There was a tutorial feel to the action, given that onscreen prompts appeared to offer hints on how to use the stylus to deal with enemies. The demo had the same structure we've seen in our previous sessions with the game, and it required Ryu to enter areas, clear them of enemies, and move on. After we went through a few sections, a huge red dragon dropped in, like they tend to do, and menaced Ryu. The battle was straightforward and not terribly long thanks to a mix of dodging, blocking, and stabbing. The game's control still continues to impress us with how tight and responsive it feels. We'd still like to put the scheme to the test in a longer play session with the game, one that has a broader variety of enemies that will force us to mix offensive and defensive play. Nevertheless, so far the game handles admirably.
The visuals in the game were outstanding. It sported a solid amount of detail and fluid animation, all of which helped give the game an impressive sense of speed. Ryu's actions were slick and complemented by flourishes such as sparks and wind lines during his more powerful attacks. We're also digging the sense of scale in the game, which is enhanced by holding the DS sideways. The added room allows bosses, such as the dragon, to tower over Ryu.
The audio in the game offered a good complement to the hectic action, with effects that framed everything nicely. The clashing of swords and the general stabbing of people sounded good and crisp on the DS, as did the voice samples from Hayabusa and his foes. The dragon's roar didn't have quite as much kick as we'd like, but it was still pretty menacing. The soundtrack in the demo was unobtrusive but perked up doing combat and boss battles.
Based on the too-brief demo, which should be appearing in download kiosks in Japan at some point in the future, we're anxious to get more time with Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword. The game is fun and the control has a really good feel to it. Anyone looking for an action game on the DS needs to keep an eye out for Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword. The game is a promising and welcome entry in the DS software library, which is notoriously thin on ninja content. Look for more on the game in the coming months.