Published Jun 22, 2008There may be a bazillion war games, but gun-toting grunts aint got nothing on the awesomeness of silent-but-deadly ninjas. The folks at Team Ninja knew this when they took the illustrious Ninja Gaiden franchise out of the mothballs back in 2004. Previously a favourite in 80s-era arcades and on the first Nintendo console, the unboxed NG became a bona fide classic, albeit one whose reputation lay largely with its unforgiving nature. Number two actually dials down the difficulty a bit, which is fine by me since Im lame and went with the base level "Path Of The Acolyte which nevertheless still keeps up the incessant barrage of surreal demons and blood-soaked swordplay. More discerning ninja fans, however, will prefer the higher difficulties to fully appreciate its take-no-prisoners game design.
Instead of a stealth game like the half-ass Tenchu titles, Gaiden is all about acrobatics with Ryu able to run over water and up walls as he lays waste to his enemies with increasingly complex combos. Thats the secret, really. While button-mashing will produce some neat results, it wont get you to the end of this saga. There are some smarts required to fully execute the ultraviolence.
The graphics are rather lovely, in a gore-splattered way, but Tecmo didnt really add much evolution to the gameplay it remains a straightforward action title with no RPG elements and almost no storyline. Instead, they pick something they excelled at and made it rock. As you do battle with wave after wave of enemies, monsters and bosses in increasing spectacular fashion, you will come to appreciate its purity of focus even if such incessant and senseless slaughter seems somewhat old school. (Team Ninja/Tecmo)