Video Game Review: Ninja Gaiden (Arcade)

Ninja Gaiden is a franchise that is most known for the trilogy of games that were released on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. In fact, I already reviewed those three games and they are the Ninja Gaiden games I am most familiar with and have spent the most time being frustrated over.

This version of Ninja Gaiden has similarities to the first NES game but it is a different beast altogether. This, being an arcade game, plays much more like what’s typical for that style.

Additionally, the graphics and sound are much better, as is the general mechanics and controls.

Instead of being a simple side scroller where one slash of your sword kills common enemies dead, this plays more like a beat’em up in the same vein as Double Dragon, Final Fight or Streets of Rage.

It’s a pretty well crafted game, I like the platforming in it and the fighting is pretty straightforward. The boss battles also aren’t anywhere near as difficult as they were in the NES games.

However, I do have one gripe and that’s the same gripe I have with several games in this style.

When you die, you go back to a checkpoint, as opposed to respawning on the screen like the better beat’em ups of the era. I always preferred this and I think other players did as well, which is why games like Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Final Fight soaked up quarters and this just never got as popular in arcades.

Kids wanted to always feel like they were progressing. Knocking them backwards, again and again, in a tough area just makes them want to play something else they feel like they can beat.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Ninja Gaiden games for the arcade, Nintendo and later consoles.