A game that should be played by anyone up for a fun challenge.
ItsAxiomatic wrote this review on .
The Downs: No camera control; frustrating.
The Bottom Line: The only game in history to cause me to throw my controller, but also very, very fun.
PLOT/STORY: Ryu Hayabusa is a Ninja out to reclaim the Dark Dragon Blade and save the world. A pretty basic, mundande plot, but used VERY well when in combination with a great storyline. The story is sort of hard to follow, but that's only because it's so hard to advance in the game. After attempting to pass the same group of enemies, or even a single boss, for several days--or weeks--on end, you forget what you were trying to accomplish in the first place.
GAMEPLAY: Incredibly frustrating even on the easiest setting--which isn't easy by any means, but in a good, sort of character-building way. The game focuses heavily on platforming, and really puts Ryu's Ninja abilities to the test, as well as your ability to perfectly time jumps, flips, and flawless wall-runs. During the tutorial mode at the beginning, you are told not to "overuse your acrobatic abilities", or something to that extent, and it's true. Wall-running up every wall, and flipping over every obstacle, even when its not needed, will cause you to lose a great deal of progress if you mess up. That leads to frustration, impatience, more messing up, and ultimately quitting. One can only take so much failure, and this game has plenty to dish out. It actually took me a couple of years to beat this game, because I ended up in the hardest boss battle of the game with only one health potion, and had to start over (the first time), but not after several months of brooding about my failure.
CONTROLS/COMBAT: The controls are pretty much flawless. Given, there's not much to work with--jumping, wall-running, attacking, throwing shurikens, and activating things/opening chests. They really went there with the attack combinations, though. Between only the X and Y buttons, I was very surprised by the number of devastating attacks Ryu could perform with each of his weapons, which were all seamless and fairly easy to remember. The controls aren't slow and choppy, as in some games, but instead are very responsive. The one nit-pick that I had was the camera control. Instead of the right thumbstick controlling the camera and rotating it around Ryu like one would expect, moving the thumbstick in any direction automatically moves you into 1st person view, which stops Ryu dead in his tracks, leaving him open to attack.
The combat is extremely satisfying. First, because of the weapon combos mentioned above. But also, because you can't just run through this game mashing buttons and expect to get anywhere, which makes every victory that much better. Every enemy is special in its own way, with different attack specialties, and different methods are required to beat them. Strategy and skill play a big part in Ninja Gaiden's combat system.
GRAPHICS: The in-game graphics were surprisingly good. Everything that normally gets ignored in other games--fabric or water, for example--looks just as real as everything else, which is saying a lot. The cutscenes were incredibly well-made. They could easily pass as an XBox 360 game's cutscenes, and are actually a great deal better, in some cases.