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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Ninja Gaiden (NES) / by Spoony Spoonicus
 the waggoner  §  articles and general riff-raff exceeding your expectations of worthlessness.
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 05:15pm 05/21/11 (10:47am 05/21/11) in 37m9s  §  2397 eyeballs
 We love Virtual Console but man fuck writing a full review of something we just paid six dollars for. Have a Quick Hit instead.
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Ah yes, Ninja Gaiden. A trilogy often revered as the hardest on the NES platform, with the original widely regarded as the worst of the three. It's not hard to see why once you start it up - the first four stages aren't too bad, but once you get to stage 5 the game quickly changes its tune. With one huge gauntlet of enemies after another, striking from every angle and always deliberately positioned to knock you straight down the nearest pit, it grates on your nerves very quickly. Enemies will also constantly respawn when scrolled offscreen, but more annoyingly, they don't have to be completely offscreen - if they're within an inch or two of the edge, that's good enough.

Stage 6 is even worse, requiring absolutely perfect attack timing, jumping skills and knowing exactly where and when to use what special weapons; basically, there's exactly one way to get through each stage, and if you deviate from the pattern in the slighest you're most likely going to die (or take enough damage that the next screen will kill you and send you back).

But that's not even the worst of it, no sir. So you've finally perfected the pattern and gotten your reflexes going sky-high, plowed your way through the obstacles, and made it to the final boss, who has three forms you must face. Hell, they're even kind enough to refill your health between each phase of the battle. But what they don't tell you is that if you die on ANY of the bosses' three forms, you get sent back to the beginning of 6-1 and you have to fight your way through the entire stage all over again! That's right, you don't even get a chance to practice, and you're not sent back as punishment for losing your last life. If you die at any point, you get to repeat the entire stage. That's just mean-spirited.

(I've heard this was actually the result of a programming error and that you were just supposed to be sent back to stage 6-3 upon death, but the developers ultimately decided to keep it just to make the final stage that much harder. Thanks a lot, guys!)

The first form isn't very hard once you know the trick (just ignore the demon armor, climb the walls and leap over the armor itself when it gets too close, and attack the red orb in the middle of the room), but the second form is an unholy terror. You're stripped of your special weapons before the fight even begins, so you have to fight him with your sword and nothing else. And he spends the whole fight rapidly floating back and forth at the top of the screen, unleashing homing fireballs that will rapidly make your life a living hell unless you stick to a strict pattern of climbing up, hitting him once, then jumping back to the ground and dodging his fireballs as they come down (making sure they scroll off the bottom of the screen and vanish). Not only is that tough to do due to their erratic pattern and speed, you have to time climbing the wall, leaping off and doing a sword slash perfectly as he approach, else you'll touch him and take a whopping three points of damage. Do that more than once or twice and you have basically no chance of winning.

If he kills you (and provided you have the patience to replay the entire final stage again), you can make this slightly easier by collecting a Fire Wheel powerup right before the final room and using that against him during the battle to take a large chunk of his health off AND deflect his fireballs. The game is at least kind enough to not make you fight the first form again after you've beaten it.

Then there comes his third form, which, thankfully, isn't so bad in comparison. You just have to knock the demon's head off with several sword slashes, then cut his tail off, then slash away at his heart while avoiding the falling crap his neck spurts at you. You can pretty much just brute-force your way through this one, for the most part. Just keep an eye on the falling stuff as each hit will take off three points of damage, and you really, REALLY don't want to repeat the whole stage again at this point.


So yeah, it's easy to see why this game is regarded as one of the hardest challenges in video game history. It does everything in its power to get you to play to the last stage and then simply give up in sheer frustration. But if you like a really steep challenge, then you need look no further.

 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
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