Retrorevisited: Ninja Gaiden Trilogy (NES)

Retrorevisited is a stream series where I revisit a game or a game series I haven’t played in over 10 or 20+ years. I’ll go through to try see what I remember until a game over or I run out of continues. In some cases muscle memory may slowly return, in others probably not. This is a chance for me to revisit games of my youth that I still have or had at one point, playing them with and without nostalgia goggles, and do with mini-reviews of them too. If I decide to play any fully later and do a full review, parts of the mini-review would be incorporated into it. Depending on the playstyle or system, games reviewed will either be mini-reviews or one about all games in this session.

I love the Ninja Gaiden trilogy, from the action, the bosses, and the story itself! I have a long history with NG1 it being one my first NES games which i still own. 2 and 3 I rented a lot as a kid and a teen. NG1 I could normally on a good run make it somewhere to Stage 5, and never had much luck fighting my way through Stage 6. NG2 I had gotten to the final 3 bosses a few times but never finished the game after spending a lot of time with it one Summer, with help from the awesome Nintendo Power guide. NG3 not so much due to its difficulty, hard to find, and limited continues compared to its Japanese counterpart. So this is gonna be a fun time seeing how much i can remember with these! The mini-review will be of all 3 games combined, if I play and decide to review one of these on its own, parts of the mini-review will be incorporated into the full review.

(Review is gonna be for all 3 games together seeing they’re all about the same.)
The graphics in all three games are great for their time! Ryu and his enemies all come in clean and clear, there is some graphical flickering but its not as bad at times as the Mega Man games. The layouts of all the levels are quite detailed, from the cities to various landscapes. The backgrounds aren’t just static fields of one color either. The graphics in the cinema scenes are very well done and detailed and help move the story along. Sometime during the game a scene pops up with Ryu overlooking the fortress of his main enemy, and the graphics in it are beautiful!

The music in all 3 titles are incredible! The first game alone has so many classic tracks. The music will really get you pumped up as you jump and slice through levels, and the music in the cinema scenes really portrays the mood of the scene you’re watching.

PLAY CONTROL: The play control is quite tight and Ryu will do what you need him to from climbing, to jumping  to fighting. The first game you can’t climb up or down walls, you need to jump off them and jump up. The 2nd and 3rd games you can climb up and down walls like Spider-Man. Using your ninja art abilities is easy too!

CHALLENGE: The challenge is one the things the Ninja Gaiden series is known for, sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way. The difficulty is hard and gets insane in the last levels of these games. One of the big keys of these game sis memorizing where and when enemies show up and how they attack, along with if they tend to respawn. Damage from enemies increases in all three titles as the game progresses, so you need to figure out how to fight strategically and take damage where and when you can. The thing is hate the most, aside from respwan enemies, is the pushback when you get hit by enemies or projectiles. The pushback can send you back too far or into a pit before you know it. Be sure to get familiar with dying a lot from eagles, crows, and bats in all three games. The bosses are tough to defeat unless you know their pattern, but sometimes you can make use of your ninja arts to defeat them.

It is also worth noting that the difficulty in Ninja Gaiden 3 is higher than the previous 2 games. NG3 was made harder when it was brought to the US, so Ryu will take more damage from enemies and some enemies take less. NG3 in Japan also had unlimited continues like the previous 2 titles, along with a password system. NG3 in the US had limited continues up to 5 and no password. You’re also gonna find that the timer is your worst enemy in NG3, especially trying to navigate the long stretches off level 7. Head over here to find a great romhack that restores the difficulty, infinite continues, and password to the US rom of Ninja Gaiden 3.



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