[Arcade]  

Title: Ninja Gaiden
Author:Strong Team / Tecmo
Rom Player: Mame
Reviewer: Chojin

Synopsis: This game bears few resemblances of his NES brothers, but is by and large a much better title. Gone are the lengthy cutscenes between each level and hordes of ridiculous hopping sheep (or whatever the hell those were in that game).

Enter one hell of a beat-'em-up, where the ninja way is finally decently represented. Well, maybe not - you aren't exactly a very stealthy ninja, plowing your way right through hordes of identical enemies, but you do have a lot of nifty novelty ninja tricks - cling to poles and chicken-kick your foes, jump over them and use the leverage to hurl them over your head (and possibly into one of the many breakable objects in the game), and run up walls to jump behind your pursuers and let them have it with your trained ninjitsu chops and spinning kicks.

The game is 2-player as well, making it all the more coolerer.

My complaints with this title are many, but don't tarnish the overall greatness of the game. To begin, there are literally only 7 different kinds of enemies in the game (only 5 of which regularly appear) and 4 different bosses, spanning 5 levels. Every level the bad guys will get a change of colors, but beating up the same 5 guys just gets old after a while. Don't be surprised when you have to fight the Legion Of Doom from the WWF at the end of three different levels either, on apparent account of the artist for Strong Team meeting an untimely end before game development came to a close. Also, even though you have your hand on your sword the whole game, you can only use it if you pick up the coveted sword powerup that appears (rarely) when you break something.

I've always said that it's the little things that make a game, and there is definately something priceless about hurling a hockey mask-wearing goon off a cliff and through a box, making apples spill all over the place. The continue screen even features your ninja guy tied up to a rack with a big sawblade approaching as he frantically shakes his head, and the only way you can save him is to pump in more quarters (oh no)! This is practically the only 80s sidescroller with any replay value, though strangely enough, not in one sitting.

If you can ignore the lack of diversity in your opponents, get/download this game as fast as you can. It rocks the body that rocks the party. Seriously.

Best Cheats: Tips:
- Chicken-kick people from poles as much as you can. They'll fall for it every time. Watch out for the guys sporting War-Logs, though, because they can slap you off the railing while staying out of the way of your kicks of doom.

- Throwing people into oncoming traffic, while a funny idea, doesn't accomplish anything since your opponents are immune to vehicles.

- When fighting the claw bosses, when you hit them, sometimes they will roll backward. This is your cue to get out of the way before they jump and hit with their claws, killing you in one hit if playing with the normal amount of health.

- If surrounded, hit once on the right, once on the left, and repeat. The enemies will be stunned long enough for you to kill both without getting hurt.

- Bikers think they're cool, but will think twice if you jump over them and throw them off their hog. Or you can grab a pole and boot them off.

Game Play: 10
Graphics: 8
Music/Sound: 8
Originality: 4
Overall Rating: 7



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