Most Maddening Boss Battles: Ninja Gaiden

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Ninja Gaiden was the game I really cut my gaming teeth on. In a very literal sense I'm afraid, in fact. The original Ninja Gaiden is the equivalent of a bully that routinely pulls down your pants in front of all of the girls during gym. Oh, you thought you knew how to play an action platformer after finishing Castlevania, but Castlevania doesn't really prepare you for the pain that is Rocket Pack ninja's zooming back and forth throwing shurikans at your face. Ninja Gaiden was that emasculating bully that I was able to conquer. The one I was able to eventually sock in the face after days and hours of abuse.


What made Ninja Gaiden so great was its tight controls. What made it so maddening was in spite having great controls the game found billions of ways to knock your hero into pit after pit. That cruelty was then multiplied a thousand fold by the final three bosses that the game threw at the player. While all of these bosses had patterns and sure fire strategies for quick and easy victories, such assurances fall on deaf ears when the stakes are so high. After spending hours, days trudging through these viper pits, a singular loss to one of these tripartite terrors jettisons poor Ryu back to the beginning of 6-1, forcing him to once again trudge knee deep in Bird/Rocket Ninja shurikan hell to get back to the threesome. And that is what made those fights so meaningful, so epic, so painfully memorable.


During each boss battle I was on the edge of my seat, the price of failure was high. Every step had to be taken gingerly, lest one be forced to endure Rocket Ninja/Bird Hades once more. The Masked Devil, Jaquio and the Demon were all interesting and tough battle, but the tenseness and sheer terror at having to face the gauntlet of level 6-2 made these battles special. I also enjoyed that the game was at least kind enough to acknowledge your previous accomplishments. If you defeated the first boss of the sequence you could skip ahead to the next boss on your next play through, as long as you didn't reset the game. It was tough, grueling and slightly cruel but with time you could come through somehow. This was my maddening boss battle that I love/hate, how about you?
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