[Gameboy]  [gamegear]  [Lynx]  

Title: Ninja Gaiden
Author:Tecmo, Ltd. 1988, Lic. to Atari Corp., 1990
Rom Player: Handy
Reviewer: Brandex

Synopsis: # of Players: 1

Synopsis: Although the NES has a game called Ninja Gaiden, this one is a translation of the arcade version, which is more of a side-scrolling fighter (i.e. Double Dragon). Also unlike the NES game, there isn't much of a storyline to this one. You play an unknown ninja who travels to the United States to beat the crap out of a variety of criminals.

Gameplay: 7/10 - Your ninja's moves are exactly like the arcade version and I found that they're easier to execute. You attack with a series of punches and kicks with the B button and jump with the A button. If you run at a wall you automatically jump on it and flip backwards to land behind a close enemy. You can also jump up to an upper level of the screen if one is available. If you're under a lamppost or a rail, you can jump and press Option 1 to hang on and press B (and the directional pad) to chicken kick your opponents. The best attack, however, is to jump at your opponents and press B in mid-air (when you're close to them) to throw them. This allows you to throw them into a variety of breakable objects (telephone booths, crates, barrels, etc.) that may reveal special items.

There are a variety of items in the game that will help you. Red-gold jewels give you extra points, clocks give you extra time (you lose a life if the timer runs out, but this is easy to avoid), gray men give you an extra life, gray pills give you a little health, red pills give you full health and the crossed swords allow you to temporarily use a sword for maximum damage (same button as regular attack).

There aren't as many kinds of enemies as there are in the arcade version. Of course, the thugs in the hockey masks are here along with the big fat guys that swing enormous logs at you. Several of the same bosses are around, like the Sumo wrestler in Level 1. There are a couple other enemies as well, but I would have really liked more variety.

I forget how many levels this game has (I think there are 4) but I know that at least two from the arcade version are missing (the freeway level, the water crossing level). Still, this is a pretty good translation compared to some other ones I've played for the Lynx.

Graphics: 9/10 - This is the game's strongest point. Everything is detailed and easy to see. The backgrounds aren't as exciting as the arcade version, but this still pushes the Lynx's capabilities pretty far. I would have once said that this game has the best graphics for the Lynx, but I recently played Shadow of the Beast.

Music/Sound: 8/10 - I've never been impressed with the Lynx's audio capabilities, but this is a very good version of the original arcade music. It's certainly one of the better-sounding titles. The punching and kicking sounds are also good. Unfortunately, none of the bosses make amusing noises like they do in the arcade version.

Originality: 7/10 - When I first played this at the arcade, I thought this was one of the coolest side-scrolling fighters available. Still, there are probably hundreds of games in this genre so I wouldn't call this one completely original.

Overall: 8/10 - Because I'm a huge fan of the arcade version I love this title. This is probably the only other version you can find. Fans of the beat-‘em-up genre will want to get this one, as it is the best title of this kind on the Lynx. The biggest drawback, however, is that the game isn't too difficult and doesn't offer much of an incentive to play it again. Still, it's fun to beat the crap out of Jason look-alikes every now and then. If you wish to purchase this game, you might have to pay more for it because it's one of those rare titles. Still, I've had some pretty good luck finding it on Ebay.

Best Cheats: Nothing Entered

Game Play: 7
Graphics: 9
Music/Sound: 8
Originality: 7
Overall Rating: 8

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