Ninja Gaiden review - Nintendo Entertainment System

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Ninja Gaiden box artPlayers take on the role of Ryu Hayabusa, a rising warrior in his family's clan whose main role in the world is to protect the Dark Dragon Blade from getting into the hands of evil. Ryu Hayabusa travels to America to seek vengeance for his father’s death.

Players fight their way through six challenging side-scrolling levels while defeating gangs of street thugs, battling evil ninjas and fighting barbarian bosses by using the deadly Dragon Sword, ninja skills and Ninpo – ninja magic. Players can run, crouch, jump and climb as they make their way through each stage and collect items to gain points, strength, and weapons.

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" The more I play this game, the more it reminds me of Nintendo Batman. The platform, leaping-between-walls gameplay is very similar, but then, seeing as Batman was one of the best NES games of 1990, that can't be a bad thing. Shadow Warrior's graphics aren't quite as stylish as Batman's but they still do a creditable job. The sprites are detailed and well-animated, and the Tecmo Theater interludes help supply a lot of atmosphere. Shadow Warrior is probably the best arcade-style Ninja game on the NES, so anyone after some Shinobi-type shuriken shenanigans can't go wrong buying this. "

" The animation of the main sprite is so good that I was instantly impressed by this game, and I was pleased to find the rest of the game, in terms of graphics, sound and gameplay, is up to the same high standard. Don't be put off by the fact that you get an infinite number of continues - you won't be able to finish the game in half an hour, simply because there is so much to get through. The difficulty is cleverly set, so that every time you lose a life you have to repeat the last part of the level anyway. Often this makes a game frustrating, but in Shadow Warrior is just made me more determined to nail more Ninja ass. Anyone who appreciates quality should make sure their piggy bank is full by September, then rush out and buy this, as it's the best arcade-style game on the NES for yonks. "


Overall Score90%

Chris - 14 Feb 2010, 10:28 GMT

Finished the game in 22 minutes, not dying once, favorite ninja gaiden of all time

Stayrsaigh - 08 Mar 2012, 14:29 GMT

Having just plugged my old NES into my plasma and had a complete 8-bit binge over the last week or so I finally got round to having another go at this cart.

The first bit of nostalgia that struck me was how smooth the controls were. Super responsive and really fast acting. The game has horribly addictive gameplay and I found myself having that one more go and getting further in the game than I ever did before.

The cutscenes are stunning (if a little long sometimes) and really add to the feel and story. The music is as you'd expect of a NES action game, catchy and energetic although perhaps not the best compared to games like Probotector.

Ninja Gaiden is not without it's flaws though. The in game graphics while nicely animated are extremely gritty with some really garish colour schemes just about everywhere which sometimes make things hard to see.

The game also suffers from a rather horrible enemy respawn flaw. Move slightly too far to the left or right and that enemy you just killed will be alive and well and waiting to cut you down as you make your, what you thought was safe, jump. This is the biggest gripe about the game and it can really lead to some frustrating moments which with slightly less lazy programming could have been avoided because simply knowing where the enemies are isn't enough if they just keep coming back.

Overall though Ninja Gaiden is a great example of a classic NES game and one that should be played by every retro gamer!

game ninja - 15 Feb 2013, 12:04 GMT

Even though I found the game very difficult to beat back in my childhood not the same thing is happening now. I have played it both on emulators and online and I must that the it "get's me" every single time.
P.S: Batman borrowed the "wall jumps" like from Ninja Gaiden.

Andreas Åkermark Wernlund - 29 May 2015, 20:49 GMT

As an awesome ninja warrior its your job to clean up the streets! Trained in ancient martial arts and armed with a katana sword and ninja throwing stars its time to make some justice! Ninja Gaiden (or Shadow Warriors as its called in some countries), have smooth controls, impressive cut scenes and cool music. Overall score: 100%

Mean Machines Issue 10 - July 1991
Platform Game Nintendo Entertainment System
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