…along with Tecmo Bowl and Ninja Gaiden Shadow for the Gameboy. Though it’s something of a far cry of the kind of full page ad used for Ninja Gaiden II, the art style hasn’t let anyone down quite yet.
I’ve been playing through a bit of Ninja Gaiden 3 for the Xbox 360 which feels like something of a step below that of the previous game. Whether it’s because Itagaki is no longer the head of Team Ninja to offer his own input, or if it’s because of a team that wanted to try something different to distance themselves from his vision, I have no idea. But the changes are palpable.
Definitely not the kind of ball breaker that his Ninja Gaidens were, and what’s with all of the QTE action? Lara Croft doesn’t need QTE’s to jump, so why does a seasoned ninja? Why do I need a QTE to kill a peon soldier? I have no idea, but Ninja Gaiden 3 will ask you all of that and more. A sad part of this is that the scenario writer, Masato Kato, who worked on the original NES trilogy did the story behind this one. It’s sad that the gameplay won’t be doing it any favors.
It also reminds me of Ninja Gaiden III for the NES. I played through the first two, but the third one crushed my soul the way that Demon’s Souls did for many other players. It was tough, but in a strange twist, it was intentionally made that way for North America. I didn’t find that out until years later. Even worse, you only had a set number of continues. Once they were gone, you started back from the very beginning of the game. It was definitely the Demon’s Souls of its day, though I’d probably wager that it in some ways, it wasn’t for the best.
As for Ninja Gaiden Shadow, it’s actually a side scrolling prequel to the first Ninja Gaiden featuring Ryu in an adventure to tackle one of the minions of Jacquio (the main baddie in Ninja Gaiden I and II). And Tecmo Bowl? Everyone knows Tecmo Bowl!
The ad below talks up Ninja Gaiden III and it can be said that what it says about being “The Ultimate Ninja Challenge” is uncomfortably close to the brutal truth.