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Ninja Gaiden Review

Developer: Tecmo Publisher: Tecmo
Release Date: March 2, 2004 Also On: None

For those of us who were old enough to remember the Ninja Gaiden trilogy on the NES, we should know how fun this game really was. Many people loved it and have longed for a new installment in the series. After much hype and many delays, Ninja Gaiden makes its return, this time on the Xbox. Ryu has been long awaiting his return and it finally has arrived. Does he make a big splash or is this just another case of over-hype?

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Many of us have seen the screenshots of Ninja Gaiden during those long delays just trying to get a feel of what it would be like. The visuals are no joke. The environments are exceedingly detailed, done to an individual blade of grass or a crack in the wall of a building; the character models are too well done. Characters show blood stains, look wet, and get a slimy film on them from being grabbed up by a fiend. This probably is a step up even Crimson Skies. The enemies, although repetitive at times, appear very well done as well. The weaponry gives off a very distinctive shine and looks real enough to use in real life. Ninja Gaiden is just a remarkable sight to be seen.

Voice acting in the game was well done, but could have been better. For a game full of Japanese Ninjas however, the English voice actors portrayed their characters well and seem as they were really meant to be that particular person. The in-game music tunes in well with the environment and the gameplay action here. Crashing blades even echo in large areas which is what many people would find amazing in a game.

Many people were hoping that Ninja Gaiden would play, well, sort of like Devil May Cry. However, I’m sad to say, it doesn’t. To start off, the camera is extremely bad. It is too far back from the action and gives you a bad scene of the fighting while defending against enemies. This adds to the difficulty of the game a heck of a lot.

Speaking of difficulty, Ninja Gaiden is extremely difficult to play and complete. You can block attacks with the left trigger, which I like, but even while you are blocking, the enemy gets in cheap shots that really piss you off. They can be in front of you one moment, then the next they are behind you cutting your throat knocking out most of your health. It should not happen, but it does, quite frequently I might add. Levels that should take minutes, can take hours or days even, that is, if you are lucky. This is not for the common gamer to play or even for some of the most hardcore gamers at times, but it is very addictive if you learn the tricks for it.

Ninja games have been around for a long time and most of them are fun. Ninja Gaiden can be fun at times, but its difficulty gives you more frustration than fun sometimes. It has XBL capabilities that allow you to download levels and compete in the Ninja Master Tournament this summer. You will compete for the highest scores in the country and win big prizes. Plus, the original Ninja Gaiden games from the NES can be found here once you unlock them. This does take some time, but it is well worth it.

Because of the difficulty, Ninja Gaiden will take a long time for people to complete. A Game that should take 15-20 hours could take up to 30-40. The XBL feature will keep people playing till the end of the summer for the tournament, but once it is over, people will stop. It may just take you until summer to complete this for some. Many say this is a good game and yes, it is. It can be fun at times, but it was a case of over-hype and too much delay that did this in. Not as bad of a disappointment as Brute Force or Enter the Matrix, but I was hoping for better.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.6
Written by Shawn Review Guide