May 15, 2012
Ninja Gaiden is quite the tough NES game. Exact timing, hard-to-beat enemies, unforgiving continue spots and limited lives invite the player to a true challenge. The shadow ninja Ryu Hayabusa is forced to go on a journey to save the world from the evil force known as “The Jaquio”. The game itself is a delightful experience and the story is accompanied with the first ever set of cinema displays, which had never been seen in console games at the time.
Controlling Ryu Hayabusa:
Ryu has very casual controls that are used in most retro games on the NES. Use the D-pad to move. By pressing UP, the ninja will climb ladders, whilst pushing the DOWN-button will cause him to duck. Press A to jump! It is possible to jump and cling onto walls like an exceptional ninja that you are. Execute this by pressing the D-pad in the direction of the wall you want to cling onto. From this point, Ryu can jump to another wall by pressing A. Climbing walls is achievable by jumping up and clinging back quickly.
Press the B-button to pull out your ninja-to (the ninja sword) in order to strike the enemies. It is not possible to spam the attack, as Ryu has to sheath the sword to draw it back out again. Using B and UP on the D-pad will unleash the power of the special weapon. They are reliable Shurikens, Kunais or fireballs that all inflict heavy damage.
The Ninjutsu and Items:
Ryu knows a great deal of Ninjutsu, but the incredible power to fully unleash it must be accumulated by collecting spirits contained in lamps and ornaments throughout Ninja Gaiden. When these objects are destroyed, insects and birds will grant you two kinds of spiritual strength, which will raise the chances of using these immense forces. Red is worth 10 points while blue offers 5 points.
Time Freeze is a special Ninjutsu which has the form of an hourglass. After touching it, everything will stop moving (except the ninja) for five seconds. The ultimate Ninjutsu power is a fire wheel which makes you invincible. If low on health, there is special jar which will raise HP by six. At times you will even come to a seal which holds the power to regain all your health and a 1-up.
The shuriken is the weakest weapon. It costs 3 spiritual points to throw and will fly straight in one direction after pressing UP and B. It will not go through enemies and simply disappears on impact.
This shuriken is definitely something useful for the experienced Ninja Gaiden player. It is bigger and inflicts way more damage than the aforementioned. However, it costs 5 spiritual points to toss. It goes straight and keeps flying back and forth until the ninja decides to catch it. Additionally, it pierces enemies — a very valuable ability in sticky situations. Unfortunately, this does not apply when fighting bosses.
This is an excellent weapon when dealing with groups of enemies. By consuming 3 spiritual points, 3 fireballs appear and slay everything in their path. They disappear only when flying out of the screen or hitting a boss.
Jump and Slash Technique:
By using 5 points of spiritual power, Ryu can jump and slash his enemies simultaneously. The sword will rotate and kill all enemies that it hits. The attack is over once the ninja lands on the ground.
Act 1: Destiny!
Galesburg is easy to go through. Get used to the controls and especially how to wall spring. Eventually you will get to Jays’ Bar were you will face the first of the malice four — The Barbarian.
A very easy boss to start with. Simply jump over him and slash him until he is defeated. Avoid the occasional swings with his large weapon and prepare yourself for the next mission.
Act 2: The escape!
Trapped much? Remember, you are a ninja! There are tons of enemies and not too many jumps that have to be timed. After some time you will reach the Death Valley, so make sure to gather spiritual power and try to avoid getting hit. This is easier said than done, but should not be too much of a problem as long as your jumps are adequate. After some time, Ryu will reach Amura’s Altar where the boss is patiently waiting.
Bosses in Ninja Gaiden are not that intelligent and BomberHead is definitely not an exception. Just duck and slash him a couple of times before retreating. As he approaches the wall, cling on it and jump over him. After escaping, you will notice some pretty interesting things happening in the cut scenes.
Act 3: The Chase!
Crystal Lake is pleasant, just like the Lizard Mountains. Here is where the game really starts to get difficult. Make sure to get as much Spiritual Power as possible on the first stage as you will more than likely need it in the mountains. Use the shurikens on the gun wielding enemies that lie on the mountains to prevent a loss in HP. After going through this timed jump fest you will face Berserker.
This is a Chinese fighter who knows all kinds of martial arts. Fortunately for the player, he does not fully grasp that following a pattern leads to death in Ninja Gaiden. Berserker will toss three explosive pellets. Destroy them! As he jumps from one side to the other, avoid him at all cost and then slash him a few times before the pattern continues.
Act 4: A Trap!
Trapped by feds? How the hell is this possible? Ryu is sent into the amazons to fight in the Basilisk mine to retrieve some statues that the feds desperately need. The stages are quite straight-forward and actually somewhat easier than the previous one. The last enemy of the Malice Four awaits, and it is not one, but a pair of bosses.
This beast was the very pet dog of the Jaquio, but later offered as a sacrifice. The boss is not that difficult to beat. It follows a pattern and all you have to do is avoid being crushed. Hide under the pillar as cover and then focus the damage on one of the two beasts.
Act 5: Life or Death!
Ryu is now imprisoned once again, but this time amongst the dead. Gain as much spiritual power as possible as there are many enemies that can be very overwhelming at some points. Hurry to the Cliff — the Nails of Lukifell. Running is not always a good idea, so taking the time to see where the enemies will appear, is for the most part smarter than trying to slay them one by one. As you get to the place of the Red Execution, things are going to get harder and harder. Remember that all incoming bullets can be destroyed by the sword.
The Masked Warrior:
To stand a chance, you will have to face this guy with a full health bar in order to survive. He shoots a lightning attack which is almost impossible to avoid. Duck and slash his feet quickly while avoiding his shield. A Jump Slash is also an alternative, but not recommended. Avoid bumping into him — but at the same time – act swiftly before you become roasted. Dying here is not really an option as the previous save point is way back.
Act 6: The Fall of the Demon!
Avoid getting hit at all costs, as every single Health Point is needed for the Temple of Darkness. This place is swarming with enemies. As you enter the temple, you will know these are the last stages in Ninja Gaiden. Slash through your foes and do not try to predict where the rocketeer ninjas (yes that is what they are) throw their Kunai. Just wait for them to appear and destroy them once an opportunity emerges. Try not to die on stage 6-2 as you will have to go back to 6-1 and start over once more. Eventually, the Black Throne will emerge and Ryu will have to face the final boss(es).
Ken is controlled by Jaquio’s magic powers. Do not try kill him; he is Ryu’s dad after all. He keeps moving towards you with a shield of fireballs. Simply avoid his attacks and destroy the red crystal above to advance.
The Jaquio is quite difficult. He can only be hit from a wall spring, which does not make it easier. However, the right wall has a convenient spot where you may wall crawl to and become almost invulnerable. This makes the fight shorter and very painless. Sit there whilst destroying the incoming fireballs and eventually even The Jaquio himself. After the cinema display you will face the last boss of the Ninja Gaiden.
The demon has arisen from the statues and now Ryu has to slay it before it destroys the world. Start by hitting the head a few times, then move to cut the tail with some slashes and finally the heart. After a wearisome, but enjoyable experience, take a step back and take it all in. You have just completed Ninja Gaiden and can feel proud of yourself! The ending is quite touchy – a perfect way to set up for the sequel.