so in the end i did manage to squeeze in one more game before the end of the year, finished this morning. i’ve been playing ninja gaiden: shadow off and on for a while, but hadn’t sat down and played through to the end. so i finally picked it up again yesterday. it’s one of those platformers which, as this good walkthrough so aptly describes it, consists mostly of “try-and-die gameplay”, i.e. it’s not too challenging, but you’ll have to play through it more than once to figure out the enemies’ patterns, etc. … although i suppose all platformers are like that to varying degrees.
there’s some interesting info about the origins of the game itself, a supposed prequel to the ninja gaiden series on the NES. in particular, the game was one of many game boy “sequels” that nintendo put out that have only a tenuous relationship to their NES counterparts (compare final fantasy on NES and “final fantasy adventures” on game boy for a classic example). like those games, this was apparently originally a completely different game and little other than the name was changed. (the review at 1up.com gives more detailed information about this.)
but enough about the trivia, how’s the game itself? it seems that most people agree that the game, while not really a ninja gaiden game, is a fairly solid little release. it had been a while since i’d played a completely straightforward platformer like this, but i found it to be enjoyable overall. the controls, visuals, and music are all satisfying, and the gameplay, while not particularly distinctive, was hard enough to keep me paying attention. although there are no saves (there are only 5 stages), you have unlimited continues, so all in all it’ll prob. take you some time and not too much frustration to completely master it. not quite a keeper but worth a playthrough if you come across it, especially since it has one of the coolest lines from the opening sequence i can remember ever encountering (transcribed and punctuated verbatim):
An evil messenger suddenly appears
“MY POWER IS THE FEAR OF MANKIND”
with destruction and terrible death
There’s despair in the skyscraper.
awesome. haven’t played any of the NES games yet, but will def. be doing so … sometime!
and i bet you’d like to have more links (grumble grumble):
– game page at ninjagaiden.classicgaming.gamespy.com which also has the code for the sound test
– screenshots of the ending at vgmuseum.com
– box art of the european version (where the ninja gaiden series was apparently released as “shadow warriors”)