Ninja Gaiden (arcade)
Sales flyer for the arcade game.
Blue Sky Software
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
Ninja Gaiden, later released in Japan as Ninja Dragon Sword Legend (忍者龍剣伝 Ninja Ryūkenden?) and in Europe as Shadow Warriors, is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up originally released by Tecmo as a coin-operated arcade video game. It was first released in North America, and Europe in 1988 and in Japan in 1989. The Ninja Gaiden arcade game was produced and released almost simultaneously with its home console counterpart for the NES, although they are different games with only a few similarities. The designer of the game is only credited as "Strong Shima", but Masato Kato, who worked on the NES Ninja Gaiden, identified him as one Mr. Iijima.
Home versions of the Ninja Gaiden arcade game were released in Europe under the Shadow Warriors title in 1990 by Ocean Software for five different computer platforms (Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad CPC) and in North America for IBM PC by Hi-Tech Expressions. An Atari Lynx version was also released. The arcade version of Ninja Gaiden is also included as a hidden bonus game in Ninja Gaiden Black for the Xbox in 2005. The arcade game was published as a Virtual Console game for the Wii in 2009.
The arcade version of Ninja Gaiden is a "belt-scrolling" beat-'em-up. The player controls a ninja whose mission to defeat an evil cult led by Bladedamus, a descendant of Nostradamus who seeks to fulfill his end of the world prophecies. Upon starting the game, the player is greeted by the phrase "NINJA IN USA". Up to two players can play simultaneously (Player 1 controls the blue-suited ninja, while Player 2 controls an orange-suited ninja).
The controls of the game consists of an eight-way joystick and three action buttons: Grab, Attack, and Jump. The Grab button is located on top of the joystick itself. The player character has five main techniques: The "Triple Blow Combination" is the player's primary attack, performed by pressing the attack button repeatedly while the player is standing on the ground. While jumping towards an adversary, the player can do a "Flying Neck Throw"; throwing an enemy into a background object (such as trash cans, phone booths, or signs) will cause different power-ups to appear, such as health restoring pills or a sword that can be wielded for a limited time. While standing near overhead signs or bars, the player can hang unto them by pressing the Grab button and perform a "Hang Kick". While overhanging on a bar, the player can also move by performing a "Tightrope Walk". The last of the five techniques is the "Phoenix Backflip", in which the player runs towards the wall and performs a backflip.
The game features a morbid continue screen, where the player character is tied to a table thrashing his head violently while a giant circular saw is being lowered towards him and what appears to be a crowd of enemies is watching in excitement in the background. If the player does not continue within the 10 second countdown, the screen fades to red, the ninja cries out in agony, and the words "GAME OVER" appears followed by dramatic music.
The first five rounds (stages) are based on actual American cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and a Transcontinental Railroad. The sixth and final stage set inside the main villain's hideout. The recurring bosses includes a sumo wrestler; a pair of wrestlers resembling the Road Warriors tag team; and a trio of claw-wielding acrobats. The final boss is Bladedamus, who wields two swords.
- At the fourth stage, in the Grand Canyon, Ninja Gaiden (North American version) and Ninja Ryukenden (Japanese version) feature totally different background musics. There are also some notable differences between the other stages' same music numbers of the two versions.
- In Ninja Gaiden (North American version), the standard enemy who fights with sticks does not need to do a three-hit combo, as he does in Ninja Ryukenden (Japanese version), to take off one of the player's life squares, only requiring one or two hits to do so. And at the final stage of the North American version, almost all standard enemies, and all bosses, only have to hit the player once, instead of three times, to take off one or two of his life squares.
- In Ninja Ryukenden, a digitized voice shouts the game's title on the "stage clear" screen.
This game has been ported to the Wii as a downloadable Virtual Console Arcade game. However this contains several differences.
- The boss music in Stages 2 and 5 has been omitted from this version (due to the similarity to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man"), in turn the regular background music will remain playing even after the bosses appear (which would normally prompt the quick music switch)
- The use of the Star of David in the game's imagery (such as the rug at the end of Stage 4) was edited out.
World Cup Italia '90
|UK number-one Spectrum game
October 1990-February 1991
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles
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- Hardcore Gaming 101 editorial staff. "Ninja Gaiden at Hardcore Gaming 101 - Interview with Masato "RUNMAL" Kato". "Kato: Both (the arcade and NES versions of Ninja Gaiden) where developed side by side on the same floor, at the same time. However, we only shared the same title, while each team developed their game as they pleased."
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