A very special ninja edition of Renegade Ego. NINJA!



Ninja Commando

( That's right: I'm doing an entirely ninja edition of this blog.) Why, exactly? Several reasons. First, it's part of my binge of new blog ideas that I've been having recently. I normally don't plan the shit out of my blogs, but I can't let these opportunities die like my love for you (that's right: I loved you once, but no longer!). Second, I noticed that I had two ninja themed games in my Neo Geo line-up. This is one of them. However, this isn't the first time I've seen this game; back in my regrettable GameSpot days, I remember coming across this game and neither liking it nor completing it. I've come back to this game to fulfill at least one of those conditions. Guess which one.
 
Anyway, story. Christopher Walken has gone made with power. This isn't his regular craving for power, either, where he invades cartoons and just goes insane; he has transported himself to the future, changed his name to Spider (maybe; the game's not too clear on what Christopher Walken calls himself, now), and started a super-mega-corporation called Mars Corporation. Somehow, this pisses off three people: Joe "The Default" Tiger, Rayar "The Girl" Dragon, and Ryu "The Only Ninja in the Game with the Fucking Word 'Ninja' in the Goddamn Title" Eagle. (OK, can I go off on a tangent to point out something weird? No? Fuck you, it's my blog. Anyway, I feel the need to point out that Ryu, for some reason, has a strong hatred of Oda Nobunaga. This has no relevance, and it makes no sense, but I feel the need to point it out in parentheses.) They decide that the best course of action against the evil Christopher Walker Spider is to shoot him full of ninja things. Somehow, this sends everybody back in time. How? I have no idea, and the shitty translation doesn't help. I'd cite some examples, but there are just too many. How do I choose between "let's translate the word Sengoku" and "should we use L or R? Let's flip a coin again"? There is no choosing, probably because there are so many to choose from. Let me show you just how many choices I have: two cutscenes per level AND Christopher Spider Walken just appearing in each level. There's too much to make fun of, damn it!
 
 Seen here: a ninja hating Oda Nobunaga. Somebody want to explain why he hates the one guy who united Japan and stuff?
Wait, what type of game is this, again? Oh, a standard shooter? Now there isn't enough to make fun of. As I just said, it's a standard shooter: you mash the fire button like your fingers are pistons (no automatic turbo) and watch as everything dies before you. There aren't really any power-ups to speak of, unless you count an invincible form you control for all of five seconds (I'd make a Planck time joke, but I'm not clear on how you pluralize Planck time), but as I said in the last paragraph, you get to choose between three characters. However, you're only going to play as Joe throughout the entire game, since he has the widest range and none of the characters get any more powerful. He also has the best fighting game-esque secret moves that the game never tells you are there, so I'm not exactly sure what the girl and the anti-Nobunaga (maybe it's his dumb chant) ninja are doing. So there goes any sense of variety or strategy the game ever had. Just keep moving forward, mashing the fire button, and pretty much everything will die, including you. I know it sounds weird, especially since you have a health bar, but that thing drains pretty quickly. Part of the problem is that there are a lot of enemies on screen at any given time, even with your expertise in the art of killing; a larger part of the problem is that you don't get any type of invincibility time. What the hell, Ninja Commando?
 
I probably should have ended that last paragraph with "this isn't the most refined game in the world", but then I realized that this describes the game PERFECTLY. For example, you only have 3.5 minutes to finish each level. Let's ignore the fact that there are only seven randomly-ordered levels, keeping the game's length around that of an episode of Family Guy (fortunately, this is before we cut away the crappy cutaways). Instead, let's focus on the fact that you can't refill this in any way. At least with your health that doesn't really refill between levels, you have healing items in the levels; with time, however, you don't have much in the way of refilling it. I know that I shouldn't be complaining so much about it, but some of the mid-level bosses take FOREVER to kill, meaning you're going to die soon after, even if you got through without a single hit (not that that's gonna happen, since you have far less room to dodge than you'd think). However, there is a good side to all this: once you die, your time is refilled. Wait, what? That's the only way to refill your time? Shit! That means the only way to get through levels is either to be really, really good, or die enough times that you have enough time to kill everything. Oh, and let me say that once you use a continue, you lose all points you gained, eliminating any chance of getting extra lives through points, which is the only way to get extra lives. I'll just stop right here; if I mentioned how the bosses have progressively less HP over time, you'd probably kill the great guys at SNK, and nobody wants that. Instead, I'll end on a funny award. Would you like that? That should make everybody feel much better. I hereby give this game the Christopher Walken is Insane Award. But you already knew that, right?
 

Review Synopsis

  • The story makes no sense, it's poorly translated, and it's only there to distract you from how little game there is.
  • Speaking of that, the difficulty also serves that purpose. Lazy game designers.
  • I should have used that for the third bullet, since it's not a polished game AT ALL.
 
 
 
 
You must admit that rocket-eating demigods who use Old Spice are pretty ninja.
  

Ninja Combat

( Remember what I said earlier?) If you honestly don't, I'm surprised. You have a huge amount of text sitting before you. Anyway, I said that I had two Neo Geo games lying around. Obviously, this is the second one. Like Ninja Commando, it's a ninja-game for the Neo Geo. This may not seem like much, but it gets weird when you realize that I encountered THE EXACT SAME PROBLEMS. It almost like the two games were made by the very same people. Wait, that's exactly what happened. I knew that this blog was too good to be true!
 
Yet unlike the game, at least this blog started out promising. Hell, the only thing I remember about the beginning of the story is that there's a lot of "isn't it" in the dialogue, telling me that even in the original Japanese (it was obviously originally Japanese; some of the credits aren't even translated (grrrrrrr)), the dialogue was repetitive as shit. Anyway, what was the story? Oh, right: some evil ninja wizard person has come back from the dead, because that's the first thing a ninja/wizard would do at their funeral. The second thing? Take over New York. It's true; look it up. Of course, New York is a chaotic land of ninjas, where if one ninja starts ruling the city, you know that one or two other ninjas will try to topple said ninja's reign. That is the law of the concrete jungle, and it's clearly visible in Ninja Combat. However, the two beginning ninjas, Joe (fuck, he's the same character, isn't he?) and Hayabusa, have something that other ninjas do not: the power to organize. No, this does not refer to ninja unions (that would certainly make American history more interesting) or ninja gangs (this better be a thing, Japan); I'm talking about multiple playable characters, even if  Hayabusa's a player two-only character. As you journey to your rival ninja's tower, you'll pick up extra party members with the seductive power of your voices in the first half of the game. Yes, this game has voice acting, but unlike Ninja Commando, it's actually pretty good. I'm amazed that the Neo Geo could produce such crystal clear! it also means that the translation's pretty good for the voice work (somebody had to read it and yell "This line is bullshit, make it better!") and that the text looks like text and not like individual sprites for each letter. Trust me, that is a real problem. Speaking of which, the only major problem I noticed with the voice acting is that they didn't use a pop filter. For people who don't know anything about voice recording, it means that they sound like this. It's still good, but it could be better.
 
 Hey, enemy ninjas! Be careful that you aren't Mode-7-ish scaled to death! It will be an amazing death, but that's still a death.
Again, I could have used that sentence to begin another paragraph entirely. See what I mean, though? I'm going to repeat EVERYTHING I said about Ninja Commando in this part of the blog. Weird, since while Ninja Commando was a time-traveling shmup, Ninja Combat is a spatially-traveling bmup. Or beat-em-up. I wish there was a catchy way to abbreviate that shit. Anyway, it's a beat-em-up, which means you move right and hit enemies. However, there is a weird twist to it: almost all of the characters shoot the enemies from afar, kinda turning it into Ninja Commando after a night of cow-tipping. However, there are problems with this, the most important being that there's no reason to use the weapons that the game gives you, since they destroy your already-awesome range. I'd say that it's also a reason not to change characters, but oddly enough, I actually found myself changing characters throughout the game. Unfortunately, I found out that most of them were shit, since they have range so small that attacks will launch back at you. In fact, there are only two useful characters in the whole game: Joe, because he's the protagonist, and Genbu (that's pronounced "Jen-boo", because fuck Japan), because he kicks ass. He kicks so much ass that he won't even obey the rules of staying the hell away from enemies; he will walk right up to them and punch them to death. If anybody else tried that, they'd get a face full of hot death; Genbu tries it, and the opponents are locked in place, ready to die....alongside you.
 
Hey, look, I'm finishing this exactly like I did Ninja Commando: pointing out how unrefined the game is! For example, remember how in Ninja Commando, your life bar was useless, since everything would kill you really quickly? Same thing here. Even those minor enemies in the above picture can kill you in one hit. What? I don't think I've seen ROM hacks or games that are pretending to be ROM hacks (Super Meat Boy, I Wanna Be the Guy (who is this guy, and why should I want to be him?)) that are that cruel. Why even have a health bar? Oh, yea, special attacks. Like Ninja Commando, you can perform special attacks that pretty much kill everything on the screen, at the cost of your health. However, since your health is just decoration, you'll rely on this technique a lot, for several reasons, the first of which is "there are a shitload of enemies." Not only are you not allowed to touch them, since they're laced with death, but you don't have time to fuck around. Like Ninja Commando, there are six or seven stages, each with a three minute time limit that can be refilled with death. Of course, as I just said, you'll refill the damn clock a lot, especially since you don't have all the room to dodge that you need. Christ, is there anything that this game does that I didn't already see in Ninja Commando? *browses through notes* Oh, look at that: control issues. With Ninja Commando, you only had a few buttons, and each one knew how to work. Not so in Ninja Combat; OK, so you can dodge well, and pressing right moves you right, but try aiming your attacks. It turns out that ninjas are very stubborn, and will only attack in one direction. It takes a lot of coaxing to get them to change direction, and by that time, you're already dead. What's that? You'll rely on charges? Hope you like sticky controls, because they're here, as well. Apparently, I do, since I liked this game more than Ninja Commando. Maybe it's the greater variety or my preference for bmups, but Ninja Combat just felt better. That's why I'm giving it the Unlike Ninja Commando Award for Being Better than Ninja Commando.
 

Review Synopsis

  • It's pretty much Ninja Commando in bmup form.
  • The only difference is that you get some pretty good voice/graphical stuff.
  • I guess that's why it's better. Also, punching is better than shooting, I guess.
 
 
 
 
Wait, what's this second video doing? What am I planning?
  

Ninja Gaiden Trilogy

( Wait, what?) Oh, it's the Big Apple, and it's very early in the morning. Wait, what? Nothing about this makes sense! I have a limit of two games to a blog! What is all this doing? Well, I decided that I didn't want to blog about what is essentially the same game twice, so I dug up this game so I could blog about the same game thrice. That's right: hot three-way action with Ninja Gaiden. All I have to do is survive an intro that can best be summed up as this, and I have a ridiculously huge (possibly the hugest) blog.

Ninja Gaiden

( What better place to start a blog about the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy?) What's that? You have a better answer? Screw you; we're going with Ninja Gaiden. After all, it is the beginning of the really difficult series that spawned a shitload of sequels. It also spawned this enhanced remake compilation thing. And by "enhanced", I mean, "everything's the same, except with better graphics and music that sounds like skeletons on parade, only with better bass."
 
Remember how in the previous two parts of my ninja blog, along with the previous many parts of almost all my blogs, I started with the story of why ninjas ninja so much ass (ninjas do not kick; it is below them)? Well, this time, it's actually extremely relevant. Our story begins with a ninja dying, because this is something that can happen to ninjas, apparently. Our protagonist, Ryu "I was in Dead or Alive" Hayabusa, goes on a quest to find out how a ninja can die. Also, because his dad died, since he's lucky enough to have a ninja for a dad. What follows is a conspiracy to bring back an evil demon to rule the world. I know that I make it sound simple, but the story for this game could actually be a good action movie, if it replaced all of its ellipses with punches (it's already on the right track). That's my way of saying that it's decent, but it's not deep enough to be considered the deep end of a swimming pool. If you look at the story, it's about as deep as a bathtub: not deep at all, but it has enough meat that you won't mind. I could also use that to explain the cutscenes, but I won't. Instead, I'll describe them at great length, because like the story, these things are really important to the game. Every single level contains about five hours of cutscenes, but you won't mind. Why? They stuff so many of the damn things in the game, and they're all of such amazing quality. Again, it feels like Action Movie 2: The Explodening. How do they manage to stuff that much in the game? Oh, wait, I figured it out: they don't. You'll be seeing a lot of Ryu's eyes ( or lack thereof) and characters just speaking and shit. It's not too bad, but once you notice this, it spoils the story a little bit. It's like noticing Irene's lipstick inexplicably change color at the end (I hate embedding disabling), the "eh" translation, or the return of Japanese mush- mouth: it's not a deal breaker, but it does make the game less awesome.
 
 Oh shit. Chickenhead is the Jaquio! But that just raises another question: what the hell was the Jaquio?
Wait, how is that possible? Ninja Gaiden has always been pretty awesome. According to some people, it's like Castlevania, only with ninjas instead of sexy men who make me want to turn my mouth into a shelter for homeless peni (expect a lot of these jokes in my Lords of Shadow blog). I know, it sounds weird, but the two games do share a lot of similarities. For example, they both use bars for health. Also, both have a big emphasis on special weapons. Just slash candles (or baby birds (I am not making this up), because fuck those grown-up birds), and you'll get either weapons or the ammo to use them. There's a large variety of weapons, ranging from shurikens and larger shurikens to fire and the ability to spin in the air, like a much more Japanese version of Ike. Like Castlevania, it's pretty cool and adds a decent layer of variety and strategy...or it would, if you could choose the weapons you can use. Don't tell me that it's impossible, either; according to this FAQ I just found, there's one free button on the old NES controller. As it is, though, you're mostly stuck with whatever weapon you picked up last, which means you stick with the big shuriken and avoid the shit out of the spinning blade, since it eats up ammo like it thinks it's at a hot dog eating contest. (For the purposes of this joke, ninjas use hot dog guns. Then again, they probably do already, so everything's fine.) Just stick with your regular sword, because with it, you are master of everything. You can slash in any direction you want, and if you have the reflexes of a ninja, then damn it, the game's going to let you use them. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Want to jump around like a madman and slash everything in your way? OK. How about climbing walls? That's in here, too. Think of something, and you can do it.
 
Of course, given that you essentially have powers stolen from Scribblenauts or The Neverending Story II, Tecmo decided to make this game really, really hard. You should know that by now; unless you got all your death out of the way in a previous game, you're going to die A LOT. However, as I think I noted in my Ninja Gaiden II review (no links until it fixes its font issues), this series always has a problem balancing between legitimately difficult and just plain cheap. For example, the huge-ass number of enemies. I don't have a problem with that alone, but it definitely becomes an issue when enemies regenerate like crazy. Oh, you just killed this one guy? Well, since you're so awesome, why not kill another one? And another one? Until you move past this one point, we'll just keep throwing enemies at you. However, it works both ways: jump over an enemy quickly enough, and they'll decide that they have better things to do, and just leave the screen. I'd say that this isn't the tightest game in the world, but those are the only major issues I saw. It's not like those other games, where time is against you, or where you don't get health refills between levels; Ninja Gaiden knows that such things are bullshit, and provides you with reasonable time and health refills (although mostly at the end of levels; good luck finding a health refill in a level). Hell, even the boss battles are better than in those other ninja games. I can't even remember any of the bosses in Ninja Combat; in Ninja Gaiden, just about every boss is memorable. You have a huge thug guy, two dogs, some ninja guys, your dad, Chickenhead, and...a Xenomorph? That's how you follow things up? There's no way a Xenomorph can top Chickenhead, especially when the Xenomorph is actually kinda easy. That's not how you end a cool game like this. This is how you end such a cool game: with the Ninja Training Award for Making You as Badass as the Protagonist by the End of the Game.
 

Review Synopsis

  • The story's pretty good, even if it's essentially nine sprites put on different backgrounds, depending on what the game needs.
  • I have a hard time telling if it's hard or cheap. It kinda varies between both.
  • If you ignore the final boss ripped straight from Aliens, this game has awesome bosses.

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos

( With that out of the way, let's move onto something a bit more interesting.) Did you notice how the URL ended with the word "pig?" Wait, that's not interesting. Well, the actual music is a good way of pumping us both up for this blog. Of course, it's more for your sake than mine, since I don't need pumping up for this blog. Why? This is my favorite entry in the Ninja Gaiden series. Wait, I think I spoiled the entire Ninja Gaiden II portion of the blog, along with the Ninja Gaiden III part. Shitting hell.
 
I really need to make up for that. Instead, here's the story. It's been a year since the original game, and things have changed. Jaquio's dead, Foster's probably dead, as well (you'd think the CIA would be pissed over what happened at the end of the first game), Ryu's grown up, since his eyes look manlier (when they're there; he's still eyeless, in some scenes), and Irene's more mature. How do we know this?  She's wearing a sweater, and sweaters make everything more mature. She's also enough of an adult to appear on the title card of each level, but apparently not enough of one to be a playable character. OK, I'm just distracting myself at this point. Anyway, in enters the new villain, Ashtar. That's not a typo, but just a really dumb name. He wishes revenge upon the world that named him Ashtar. Yes, the world. Not his parents, nor all the middle school kids who called him Asstar (DO NOT GOOGLE THAT), but the whole world. He will use the power of an evil demon to destroy it. You know, like Jaquio. However, he's going to need items of light and dark to do it, like Jaquio. Also, he's pretty much Jaquio. Like Jaquio. The point I'm trying to get across is that there's quite a bit of overlap with the previous game's story. Even the intros are essentially the same: Ryu defeats his first baddy, but then a secret agent introduces himself with a bullet. It's OK, though, because this is a good guy. You probably won't notice any of this overlap, though, because like the original game, it introduces enough new characters and cinematics to keep you busy. However, unlike the original game, the cinematics are much, much slightly better. OK, there's still a lot of portrait repeating and whatever, but it's not as common as it was in the original game. Besides, the portraits move around a lot more than they did in the previous game. For example, remember that scene in the original Ninja Gaiden, where the castle was slowly revealed to you? Now there's two of them. Why? Because Ninja Gaiden II means "twice as good as the first one."
 
 "So sayeth the Queen Spider, also known as Jaquio."
Which is kinda weird, since it's incredibly similar to the original Ninja Gaiden. You still run through levels, slashing shit and wall-jumping like crazy. Wait, you don't really do a lot of wall-jumping in this game, because now, you can climb up walls. Not just ladders (which, oddly enough, are still present), but EVERY wall. It makes the game a lot easier to play, since you don't have to jump back and then forward really fast to climb a single wall needed to progress. In fact, a lot of the game is pretty much minor fixes, like ammo caps. Wait, what? That's a fix? The shit, Tecmo? Is this your way of getting me to use my special weapons more often? I was quite fine with the old system, where I was using them at an adequate rate. It doesn't help that when I'm walls, I automatically use my special weapon. I know what you're thinking: Ryu can't use his arms, so he can't just slash. Look closely, though, and you'll see him high-fiving ghosts just to use these powers on the wall. The only benefits to the system are that you keep special weapons/ammo between levels, and scrolls increase your ammo, and one of those benefits only came about because of the screwed up system they introduced. And just to cement the embarrassment of this system, you guys introduced a new system that makes the game completely awesome: the shadow clone system. It's a system so awesome that I can't explain it in a few lines at the end of a paragraph.
 
For a system this cool, we need an entire paragraph. Here's how it works: you think you've found an extra life, but you notice that it's orange. Turns out that it's not an extra life, but a shadow clone. He's going to mimic all your actions three feet behind you, and, if you're lucky, he'll have his own shadow clone. That's it, though; you can't have an entire conga line of ninjas. You won't need one, though, because two ninjas is enough. With them, you can not only hide in the corner while a boss gets his face shadow-banana-slapped, but you can attack people behind you, too. Sure, the game uses this as a bit of an excuse to jam more enemies up your ass, but so what? It just means that you feel like even more of a badass when you use a shadow clone to protect the real Ryu. It also means that this is the busiest, most involved Ninja Gaiden game out there. Bosses are doing more than usual, levels are blowing in your face and blocking your view with foreground (kind of a dick move, Ninja Gaiden), and there's even one more act than the previous game. Holy shit, do you know what this means? Ninja Gaiden II is the best game in this package. Even the SNES's better sound chips don't bring this game down, at least not as much as the first game; compared to Basilisk Xylophone, Ninja Gaiden II sounds kinda OK. OK enough to make me give it the Best Ninja Gaiden Game Award. That came off less forcefully than I intended it. Damn.
 
Really, the only thing that I'd consider a deal-breaker (I liked the first game's story, and the special weapons are still good) is the ending. Let me set things up for you: Ryu has just defeated the giant demon that's actually hard this time, and he's watching as the castle collapses, I'm guessing because he has nothing else to do. He could chat things up with David Caruso, if he wasn't dead. Same goes for Irene, only it doesn't. You're not supposed to know that, yet, but I do, because I played Ninja Gaiden III. You know, the game that begins by killing off Irene, making this ending completely pointless. So how does she come back to life, only to die again at the beginning of the next game? The spirit of the Dragon Sword. Specifically, it turns into a ball of energy that brings her back to life. When exactly were we told that the Dragon Sword has this power? Never. If he could use it to revive people, then why the crap didn't he bring his dad back to life in the first game? Hell, why didn't Ryu's dad (or anybody else in the entirely dead Dragon Clan) bring his loved ones back to life with this mystical power? Is it a one-time thing? Then where's he get the sword in the third game? These questions are never answered. The biggest question, however, is "Why did he bring Irene back to life?" Fortunately, the game answers this one: to confess his love for her. Wait, he did that at the end of the first game, didn't he? And he did it without any ambiguity whatsoever, right? Fuck this game's ending.
 

Review Synopsis

  • The story is essentially the same, but somehow better. I think it has to do with the word "essentially."
  • Shadow clones rule. They just do. Man, they added A LOT to this game.
  • Man, I hate the ending to this game. AGH!

Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom

( OK, let's wrap this shit up.) Hell, look at how long this thing is. In fact, let me calculate how long this blog is. OK, not counting my bullshitting around (that would be this line), it's nine pages long. This is longer than the average Dan Brown book should be, and I know for a fact that it's nine times better than any of them. Wait, I just remembered something: this blog isn't about Dan Brown and how terrible he is. It's about Ninja Gaiden III and how terrible it is. Except it isn't terrible in any sense of the word, so I guess playing the game made this blog worse. It's my Dude Blog all over again.
 
Then again, the story is pretty dumb, so that's a start. It's not Dan Brown dumb (IE I'm not yelling at the characters for their brains leaking out so that the plot can progress), but it's still pretty stupid. Things begin with Irene arriving on the scene, thinking that her place on the title cards in the previous game translates into a game of her own. I would like to see that, but I know it's not gonna happen. Why? First, Ryu's back on the title cards, and he's got a kickass animation. Speaking of which, Ryu jumps in and pushes her off a cliff, killi-er, eliminating (fucking Nintendo of America) her. I'd say it's because he wanted to correct the stupid ending of the second game, but there's a problem: Ryu didn't really kill her. So begins two new Ninja Gaiden mysteries (who killed Irene, and what's up with the capitalization), and I must say that it's a pretty cool angle for the story. Hell, Ninja Gaiden III does a lot of creative stuff with its story. For example, remember Foster? The guy who wanted Ryu dead by the end of the first game, and pretty much disappeared off the face of the Earth in the second? What the hell was he doing all that time? He was busy doing a lot of things, which probably explains why he didn't have the time to appear in Ninja Gaiden II. First, he grew 30 feet tall. Second, he found a sleazy guy named Clancy and decided to manufacture some BIO-NOIDS (this is how it is yelled when you first see it, and then never again like that). What the hell are these things? They're kinda like snatchers, only instead of being intricate robots built to take over the world so an old guy can ask a girl out, they're organic doppelgängers made from the dimensional rift left behind by Jaquio in the second game. That's not where the plot gets stupid.
 
 You know, it's hard to hate the antagonist when I completely agree with him.
This is where the plot gets stupid: Irene isn't dead. Christ, this is the second time she's cheated death. Did she learn the secrets of skullfucking the Reaper from the kids in Devil Survivor? Wait, that's not the stupid part; that's actually a good twist. The stupid part is when you finally confront fake Ryu, but rather than fight his regular form, you fight his monster form that's somehow less scary than the NES version's regular fake Ryu. Anyway, you beat him and Clancy decides to betray Foster by jumping into an alternate dimension. Foster tries to follow, but gets death; Ryu follows him, and the plot continues. This is when Clancy reveals that they're now on a namesake ship that's in the exact same dimension as before. He plans to use it to eliminate mankind. I'd like him if he didn't decide that Ryu and Irene can use it as their fucking chamber. Suddenly, things become one part Noah's Ark, one part Nazi, all parts stupid. It's just one of very few stupid decisions made during the development of this game, like how they got rid of the shadow clones. Why would you do this? That was the coolest thing Ninja Gaiden II had going for it, and you got rid of it? I can understand why (it'd be kinda weird to be talking about fake Ryus when you have two following you throughout the game), but still. Besides, what did you give us in exchange? The same ammo limit I didn't like last time? Fuck you. Wait, there's also a sword upgrade thing. Actually, that's kinda cool. I wish it was more than one level of upgrades, or that you could keep them between levels, but at least it's a start. Hell, there probably could be multiple upgrades for the sword, but you get them so rarely that it's hard to tell if there is a fabled second level of legend.
 
Odd, given that you can totally see what's in those power-up orbs, now. No longer will you guess what's in that baby eagle you slashed up, for now, it is presented to you. Hey, maybe this game isn't as bad as I once thought. OK, the plot's kinda dumb, and gone are the shadow clones, and in is the stupid voice of Ryu, but it does a lot of cool things with the Ninja Gaiden formula. I'd probably mention how you can climb horizontally, now, but it's really limited. Besides, it's just a small part of something much larger and much more awesome: level design. Ninja Gaiden III makes it very clear from the beginning that there's a lot of shit going on in just the backgrounds alone, and the levels themselves do not fuck around. It's hard to believe that the ante could be upped after Ninja Gaiden II, but apparently, they did. You'll find yourself jumping on moving platforms, only to catch the bottom, sink in quicksand, rip off I Wanna Be the Guy, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Just look at that video. These levels are so ball-busting that it doesn't even feel the need to jam a bunch of enemies in your face. OK, so it still does that, but you'll be yelling "FUCK THOSE SPIKES!" more than you will "FUCK THOSE ENEMIES THAT ARE MADE OF SPIKES!" Notice how the bosses are left out of the fucking. There are two good reasons for this: first, nobody wants to fuck interdimensional CIA Nazi monsters. Second, they're oddly easy. Maybe it's just me, but I found it pretty easy to beat these guys. The patterns are easy to figure out, and once that's done, the strategy is "slash until you need to get out of the way, repeat until next level." The only reason the final boss is hard is because he's three bosses, like before. Yet unlike the first game, you're not facing off against two hard bosses and one easy one; it's just three easy bosses that amount to a challenge. Still, it's a good game, even with the BIO-NOIDS thing. That's why I give it the Good Start for Ninja Gaiden IV: We're Back to 2D Award. Combine it with the stuff in Ninja Gaiden II, and my underwear would be permanently glued to my crotch.
 

Review Synopsis

  • Good news: we're no longer repeating the plot of Ninja Gaiden 1. Bad news: we're no longer repeating the plot of Ninja Gaiden 1.
  • Why did they get rid of shadow clones? At the very least, they could've fleshed out the sword replacement a bit more.
  • The levels are probably the best part of the game.
  • OK, time for a fourth bullet, for no reason. Is it just me, or does the cave music sound like the boss music from Romancing SaGa 3? It can't just be me.
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Ninja Commando

( That's right: I'm doing an entirely ninja edition of this blog.) Why, exactly? Several reasons. First, it's part of my binge of new blog ideas that I've been having recently. I normally don't plan the shit out of my blogs, but I can't let these opportunities die like my love for you (that's right: I loved you once, but no longer!). Second, I noticed that I had two ninja themed games in my Neo Geo line-up. This is one of them. However, this isn't the first time I've seen this game; back in my regrettable GameSpot days, I remember coming across this game and neither liking it nor completing it. I've come back to this game to fulfill at least one of those conditions. Guess which one.
 
Anyway, story. Christopher Walken has gone made with power. This isn't his regular craving for power, either, where he invades cartoons and just goes insane; he has transported himself to the future, changed his name to Spider (maybe; the game's not too clear on what Christopher Walken calls himself, now), and started a super-mega-corporation called Mars Corporation. Somehow, this pisses off three people: Joe "The Default" Tiger, Rayar "The Girl" Dragon, and Ryu "The Only Ninja in the Game with the Fucking Word 'Ninja' in the Goddamn Title" Eagle. (OK, can I go off on a tangent to point out something weird? No? Fuck you, it's my blog. Anyway, I feel the need to point out that Ryu, for some reason, has a strong hatred of Oda Nobunaga. This has no relevance, and it makes no sense, but I feel the need to point it out in parentheses.) They decide that the best course of action against the evil Christopher Walker Spider is to shoot him full of ninja things. Somehow, this sends everybody back in time. How? I have no idea, and the shitty translation doesn't help. I'd cite some examples, but there are just too many. How do I choose between "let's translate the word Sengoku" and "should we use L or R? Let's flip a coin again"? There is no choosing, probably because there are so many to choose from. Let me show you just how many choices I have: two cutscenes per level AND Christopher Spider Walken just appearing in each level. There's too much to make fun of, damn it!
 
 Seen here: a ninja hating Oda Nobunaga. Somebody want to explain why he hates the one guy who united Japan and stuff?
Wait, what type of game is this, again? Oh, a standard shooter? Now there isn't enough to make fun of. As I just said, it's a standard shooter: you mash the fire button like your fingers are pistons (no automatic turbo) and watch as everything dies before you. There aren't really any power-ups to speak of, unless you count an invincible form you control for all of five seconds (I'd make a Planck time joke, but I'm not clear on how you pluralize Planck time), but as I said in the last paragraph, you get to choose between three characters. However, you're only going to play as Joe throughout the entire game, since he has the widest range and none of the characters get any more powerful. He also has the best fighting game-esque secret moves that the game never tells you are there, so I'm not exactly sure what the girl and the anti-Nobunaga (maybe it's his dumb chant) ninja are doing. So there goes any sense of variety or strategy the game ever had. Just keep moving forward, mashing the fire button, and pretty much everything will die, including you. I know it sounds weird, especially since you have a health bar, but that thing drains pretty quickly. Part of the problem is that there are a lot of enemies on screen at any given time, even with your expertise in the art of killing; a larger part of the problem is that you don't get any type of invincibility time. What the hell, Ninja Commando?
 
I probably should have ended that last paragraph with "this isn't the most refined game in the world", but then I realized that this describes the game PERFECTLY. For example, you only have 3.5 minutes to finish each level. Let's ignore the fact that there are only seven randomly-ordered levels, keeping the game's length around that of an episode of Family Guy (fortunately, this is before we cut away the crappy cutaways). Instead, let's focus on the fact that you can't refill this in any way. At least with your health that doesn't really refill between levels, you have healing items in the levels; with time, however, you don't have much in the way of refilling it. I know that I shouldn't be complaining so much about it, but some of the mid-level bosses take FOREVER to kill, meaning you're going to die soon after, even if you got through without a single hit (not that that's gonna happen, since you have far less room to dodge than you'd think). However, there is a good side to all this: once you die, your time is refilled. Wait, what? That's the only way to refill your time? Shit! That means the only way to get through levels is either to be really, really good, or die enough times that you have enough time to kill everything. Oh, and let me say that once you use a continue, you lose all points you gained, eliminating any chance of getting extra lives through points, which is the only way to get extra lives. I'll just stop right here; if I mentioned how the bosses have progressively less HP over time, you'd probably kill the great guys at SNK, and nobody wants that. Instead, I'll end on a funny award. Would you like that? That should make everybody feel much better. I hereby give this game the Christopher Walken is Insane Award. But you already knew that, right?
 

Review Synopsis

  • The story makes no sense, it's poorly translated, and it's only there to distract you from how little game there is.
  • Speaking of that, the difficulty also serves that purpose. Lazy game designers.
  • I should have used that for the third bullet, since it's not a polished game AT ALL.
 
 
 
 
You must admit that rocket-eating demigods who use Old Spice are pretty ninja.
  

Ninja Combat

( Remember what I said earlier?) If you honestly don't, I'm surprised. You have a huge amount of text sitting before you. Anyway, I said that I had two Neo Geo games lying around. Obviously, this is the second one. Like Ninja Commando, it's a ninja-game for the Neo Geo. This may not seem like much, but it gets weird when you realize that I encountered THE EXACT SAME PROBLEMS. It almost like the two games were made by the very same people. Wait, that's exactly what happened. I knew that this blog was too good to be true!
 
Yet unlike the game, at least this blog started out promising. Hell, the only thing I remember about the beginning of the story is that there's a lot of "isn't it" in the dialogue, telling me that even in the original Japanese (it was obviously originally Japanese; some of the credits aren't even translated (grrrrrrr)), the dialogue was repetitive as shit. Anyway, what was the story? Oh, right: some evil ninja wizard person has come back from the dead, because that's the first thing a ninja/wizard would do at their funeral. The second thing? Take over New York. It's true; look it up. Of course, New York is a chaotic land of ninjas, where if one ninja starts ruling the city, you know that one or two other ninjas will try to topple said ninja's reign. That is the law of the concrete jungle, and it's clearly visible in Ninja Combat. However, the two beginning ninjas, Joe (fuck, he's the same character, isn't he?) and Hayabusa, have something that other ninjas do not: the power to organize. No, this does not refer to ninja unions (that would certainly make American history more interesting) or ninja gangs (this better be a thing, Japan); I'm talking about multiple playable characters, even if  Hayabusa's a player two-only character. As you journey to your rival ninja's tower, you'll pick up extra party members with the seductive power of your voices in the first half of the game. Yes, this game has voice acting, but unlike Ninja Commando, it's actually pretty good. I'm amazed that the Neo Geo could produce such crystal clear! it also means that the translation's pretty good for the voice work (somebody had to read it and yell "This line is bullshit, make it better!") and that the text looks like text and not like individual sprites for each letter. Trust me, that is a real problem. Speaking of which, the only major problem I noticed with the voice acting is that they didn't use a pop filter. For people who don't know anything about voice recording, it means that they sound like this. It's still good, but it could be better.
 
 Hey, enemy ninjas! Be careful that you aren't Mode-7-ish scaled to death! It will be an amazing death, but that's still a death.
Again, I could have used that sentence to begin another paragraph entirely. See what I mean, though? I'm going to repeat EVERYTHING I said about Ninja Commando in this part of the blog. Weird, since while Ninja Commando was a time-traveling shmup, Ninja Combat is a spatially-traveling bmup. Or beat-em-up. I wish there was a catchy way to abbreviate that shit. Anyway, it's a beat-em-up, which means you move right and hit enemies. However, there is a weird twist to it: almost all of the characters shoot the enemies from afar, kinda turning it into Ninja Commando after a night of cow-tipping. However, there are problems with this, the most important being that there's no reason to use the weapons that the game gives you, since they destroy your already-awesome range. I'd say that it's also a reason not to change characters, but oddly enough, I actually found myself changing characters throughout the game. Unfortunately, I found out that most of them were shit, since they have range so small that attacks will launch back at you. In fact, there are only two useful characters in the whole game: Joe, because he's the protagonist, and Genbu (that's pronounced "Jen-boo", because fuck Japan), because he kicks ass. He kicks so much ass that he won't even obey the rules of staying the hell away from enemies; he will walk right up to them and punch them to death. If anybody else tried that, they'd get a face full of hot death; Genbu tries it, and the opponents are locked in place, ready to die....alongside you.
 
Hey, look, I'm finishing this exactly like I did Ninja Commando: pointing out how unrefined the game is! For example, remember how in Ninja Commando, your life bar was useless, since everything would kill you really quickly? Same thing here. Even those minor enemies in the above picture can kill you in one hit. What? I don't think I've seen ROM hacks or games that are pretending to be ROM hacks (Super Meat Boy, I Wanna Be the Guy (who is this guy, and why should I want to be him?)) that are that cruel. Why even have a health bar? Oh, yea, special attacks. Like Ninja Commando, you can perform special attacks that pretty much kill everything on the screen, at the cost of your health. However, since your health is just decoration, you'll rely on this technique a lot, for several reasons, the first of which is "there are a shitload of enemies." Not only are you not allowed to touch them, since they're laced with death, but you don't have time to fuck around. Like Ninja Commando, there are six or seven stages, each with a three minute time limit that can be refilled with death. Of course, as I just said, you'll refill the damn clock a lot, especially since you don't have all the room to dodge that you need. Christ, is there anything that this game does that I didn't already see in Ninja Commando? *browses through notes* Oh, look at that: control issues. With Ninja Commando, you only had a few buttons, and each one knew how to work. Not so in Ninja Combat; OK, so you can dodge well, and pressing right moves you right, but try aiming your attacks. It turns out that ninjas are very stubborn, and will only attack in one direction. It takes a lot of coaxing to get them to change direction, and by that time, you're already dead. What's that? You'll rely on charges? Hope you like sticky controls, because they're here, as well. Apparently, I do, since I liked this game more than Ninja Commando. Maybe it's the greater variety or my preference for bmups, but Ninja Combat just felt better. That's why I'm giving it the Unlike Ninja Commando Award for Being Better than Ninja Commando.
 

Review Synopsis

  • It's pretty much Ninja Commando in bmup form.
  • The only difference is that you get some pretty good voice/graphical stuff.
  • I guess that's why it's better. Also, punching is better than shooting, I guess.
 
 
 
 
Wait, what's this second video doing? What am I planning?
  

Ninja Gaiden Trilogy

( Wait, what?) Oh, it's the Big Apple, and it's very early in the morning. Wait, what? Nothing about this makes sense! I have a limit of two games to a blog! What is all this doing? Well, I decided that I didn't want to blog about what is essentially the same game twice, so I dug up this game so I could blog about the same game thrice. That's right: hot three-way action with Ninja Gaiden. All I have to do is survive an intro that can best be summed up as this, and I have a ridiculously huge (possibly the hugest) blog.

Ninja Gaiden

( What better place to start a blog about the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy?) What's that? You have a better answer? Screw you; we're going with Ninja Gaiden. After all, it is the beginning of the really difficult series that spawned a shitload of sequels. It also spawned this enhanced remake compilation thing. And by "enhanced", I mean, "everything's the same, except with better graphics and music that sounds like skeletons on parade, only with better bass."
 
Remember how in the previous two parts of my ninja blog, along with the previous many parts of almost all my blogs, I started with the story of why ninjas ninja so much ass (ninjas do not kick; it is below them)? Well, this time, it's actually extremely relevant. Our story begins with a ninja dying, because this is something that can happen to ninjas, apparently. Our protagonist, Ryu "I was in Dead or Alive" Hayabusa, goes on a quest to find out how a ninja can die. Also, because his dad died, since he's lucky enough to have a ninja for a dad. What follows is a conspiracy to bring back an evil demon to rule the world. I know that I make it sound simple, but the story for this game could actually be a good action movie, if it replaced all of its ellipses with punches (it's already on the right track). That's my way of saying that it's decent, but it's not deep enough to be considered the deep end of a swimming pool. If you look at the story, it's about as deep as a bathtub: not deep at all, but it has enough meat that you won't mind. I could also use that to explain the cutscenes, but I won't. Instead, I'll describe them at great length, because like the story, these things are really important to the game. Every single level contains about five hours of cutscenes, but you won't mind. Why? They stuff so many of the damn things in the game, and they're all of such amazing quality. Again, it feels like Action Movie 2: The Explodening. How do they manage to stuff that much in the game? Oh, wait, I figured it out: they don't. You'll be seeing a lot of Ryu's eyes ( or lack thereof) and characters just speaking and shit. It's not too bad, but once you notice this, it spoils the story a little bit. It's like noticing Irene's lipstick inexplicably change color at the end (I hate embedding disabling), the "eh" translation, or the return of Japanese mush- mouth: it's not a deal breaker, but it does make the game less awesome.
 
 Oh shit. Chickenhead is the Jaquio! But that just raises another question: what the hell was the Jaquio?
Wait, how is that possible? Ninja Gaiden has always been pretty awesome. According to some people, it's like Castlevania, only with ninjas instead of sexy men who make me want to turn my mouth into a shelter for homeless peni (expect a lot of these jokes in my Lords of Shadow blog). I know, it sounds weird, but the two games do share a lot of similarities. For example, they both use bars for health. Also, both have a big emphasis on special weapons. Just slash candles (or baby birds (I am not making this up), because fuck those grown-up birds), and you'll get either weapons or the ammo to use them. There's a large variety of weapons, ranging from shurikens and larger shurikens to fire and the ability to spin in the air, like a much more Japanese version of Ike. Like Castlevania, it's pretty cool and adds a decent layer of variety and strategy...or it would, if you could choose the weapons you can use. Don't tell me that it's impossible, either; according to this FAQ I just found, there's one free button on the old NES controller. As it is, though, you're mostly stuck with whatever weapon you picked up last, which means you stick with the big shuriken and avoid the shit out of the spinning blade, since it eats up ammo like it thinks it's at a hot dog eating contest. (For the purposes of this joke, ninjas use hot dog guns. Then again, they probably do already, so everything's fine.) Just stick with your regular sword, because with it, you are master of everything. You can slash in any direction you want, and if you have the reflexes of a ninja, then damn it, the game's going to let you use them. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Want to jump around like a madman and slash everything in your way? OK. How about climbing walls? That's in here, too. Think of something, and you can do it.
 
Of course, given that you essentially have powers stolen from Scribblenauts or The Neverending Story II, Tecmo decided to make this game really, really hard. You should know that by now; unless you got all your death out of the way in a previous game, you're going to die A LOT. However, as I think I noted in my Ninja Gaiden II review (no links until it fixes its font issues), this series always has a problem balancing between legitimately difficult and just plain cheap. For example, the huge-ass number of enemies. I don't have a problem with that alone, but it definitely becomes an issue when enemies regenerate like crazy. Oh, you just killed this one guy? Well, since you're so awesome, why not kill another one? And another one? Until you move past this one point, we'll just keep throwing enemies at you. However, it works both ways: jump over an enemy quickly enough, and they'll decide that they have better things to do, and just leave the screen. I'd say that this isn't the tightest game in the world, but those are the only major issues I saw. It's not like those other games, where time is against you, or where you don't get health refills between levels; Ninja Gaiden knows that such things are bullshit, and provides you with reasonable time and health refills (although mostly at the end of levels; good luck finding a health refill in a level). Hell, even the boss battles are better than in those other ninja games. I can't even remember any of the bosses in Ninja Combat; in Ninja Gaiden, just about every boss is memorable. You have a huge thug guy, two dogs, some ninja guys, your dad, Chickenhead, and...a Xenomorph? That's how you follow things up? There's no way a Xenomorph can top Chickenhead, especially when the Xenomorph is actually kinda easy. That's not how you end a cool game like this. This is how you end such a cool game: with the Ninja Training Award for Making You as Badass as the Protagonist by the End of the Game.
 

Review Synopsis

  • The story's pretty good, even if it's essentially nine sprites put on different backgrounds, depending on what the game needs.
  • I have a hard time telling if it's hard or cheap. It kinda varies between both.
  • If you ignore the final boss ripped straight from Aliens, this game has awesome bosses.

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos

( With that out of the way, let's move onto something a bit more interesting.) Did you notice how the URL ended with the word "pig?" Wait, that's not interesting. Well, the actual music is a good way of pumping us both up for this blog. Of course, it's more for your sake than mine, since I don't need pumping up for this blog. Why? This is my favorite entry in the Ninja Gaiden series. Wait, I think I spoiled the entire Ninja Gaiden II portion of the blog, along with the Ninja Gaiden III part. Shitting hell.
 
I really need to make up for that. Instead, here's the story. It's been a year since the original game, and things have changed. Jaquio's dead, Foster's probably dead, as well (you'd think the CIA would be pissed over what happened at the end of the first game), Ryu's grown up, since his eyes look manlier (when they're there; he's still eyeless, in some scenes), and Irene's more mature. How do we know this?  She's wearing a sweater, and sweaters make everything more mature. She's also enough of an adult to appear on the title card of each level, but apparently not enough of one to be a playable character. OK, I'm just distracting myself at this point. Anyway, in enters the new villain, Ashtar. That's not a typo, but just a really dumb name. He wishes revenge upon the world that named him Ashtar. Yes, the world. Not his parents, nor all the middle school kids who called him Asstar (DO NOT GOOGLE THAT), but the whole world. He will use the power of an evil demon to destroy it. You know, like Jaquio. However, he's going to need items of light and dark to do it, like Jaquio. Also, he's pretty much Jaquio. Like Jaquio. The point I'm trying to get across is that there's quite a bit of overlap with the previous game's story. Even the intros are essentially the same: Ryu defeats his first baddy, but then a secret agent introduces himself with a bullet. It's OK, though, because this is a good guy. You probably won't notice any of this overlap, though, because like the original game, it introduces enough new characters and cinematics to keep you busy. However, unlike the original game, the cinematics are much, much slightly better. OK, there's still a lot of portrait repeating and whatever, but it's not as common as it was in the original game. Besides, the portraits move around a lot more than they did in the previous game. For example, remember that scene in the original Ninja Gaiden, where the castle was slowly revealed to you? Now there's two of them. Why? Because Ninja Gaiden II means "twice as good as the first one."
 
 "So sayeth the Queen Spider, also known as Jaquio."
Which is kinda weird, since it's incredibly similar to the original Ninja Gaiden. You still run through levels, slashing shit and wall-jumping like crazy. Wait, you don't really do a lot of wall-jumping in this game, because now, you can climb up walls. Not just ladders (which, oddly enough, are still present), but EVERY wall. It makes the game a lot easier to play, since you don't have to jump back and then forward really fast to climb a single wall needed to progress. In fact, a lot of the game is pretty much minor fixes, like ammo caps. Wait, what? That's a fix? The shit, Tecmo? Is this your way of getting me to use my special weapons more often? I was quite fine with the old system, where I was using them at an adequate rate. It doesn't help that when I'm walls, I automatically use my special weapon. I know what you're thinking: Ryu can't use his arms, so he can't just slash. Look closely, though, and you'll see him high-fiving ghosts just to use these powers on the wall. The only benefits to the system are that you keep special weapons/ammo between levels, and scrolls increase your ammo, and one of those benefits only came about because of the screwed up system they introduced. And just to cement the embarrassment of this system, you guys introduced a new system that makes the game completely awesome: the shadow clone system. It's a system so awesome that I can't explain it in a few lines at the end of a paragraph.
 
For a system this cool, we need an entire paragraph. Here's how it works: you think you've found an extra life, but you notice that it's orange. Turns out that it's not an extra life, but a shadow clone. He's going to mimic all your actions three feet behind you, and, if you're lucky, he'll have his own shadow clone. That's it, though; you can't have an entire conga line of ninjas. You won't need one, though, because two ninjas is enough. With them, you can not only hide in the corner while a boss gets his face shadow-banana-slapped, but you can attack people behind you, too. Sure, the game uses this as a bit of an excuse to jam more enemies up your ass, but so what? It just means that you feel like even more of a badass when you use a shadow clone to protect the real Ryu. It also means that this is the busiest, most involved Ninja Gaiden game out there. Bosses are doing more than usual, levels are blowing in your face and blocking your view with foreground (kind of a dick move, Ninja Gaiden), and there's even one more act than the previous game. Holy shit, do you know what this means? Ninja Gaiden II is the best game in this package. Even the SNES's better sound chips don't bring this game down, at least not as much as the first game; compared to Basilisk Xylophone, Ninja Gaiden II sounds kinda OK. OK enough to make me give it the Best Ninja Gaiden Game Award. That came off less forcefully than I intended it. Damn.
 
Really, the only thing that I'd consider a deal-breaker (I liked the first game's story, and the special weapons are still good) is the ending. Let me set things up for you: Ryu has just defeated the giant demon that's actually hard this time, and he's watching as the castle collapses, I'm guessing because he has nothing else to do. He could chat things up with David Caruso, if he wasn't dead. Same goes for Irene, only it doesn't. You're not supposed to know that, yet, but I do, because I played Ninja Gaiden III. You know, the game that begins by killing off Irene, making this ending completely pointless. So how does she come back to life, only to die again at the beginning of the next game? The spirit of the Dragon Sword. Specifically, it turns into a ball of energy that brings her back to life. When exactly were we told that the Dragon Sword has this power? Never. If he could use it to revive people, then why the crap didn't he bring his dad back to life in the first game? Hell, why didn't Ryu's dad (or anybody else in the entirely dead Dragon Clan) bring his loved ones back to life with this mystical power? Is it a one-time thing? Then where's he get the sword in the third game? These questions are never answered. The biggest question, however, is "Why did he bring Irene back to life?" Fortunately, the game answers this one: to confess his love for her. Wait, he did that at the end of the first game, didn't he? And he did it without any ambiguity whatsoever, right? Fuck this game's ending.
 

Review Synopsis

  • The story is essentially the same, but somehow better. I think it has to do with the word "essentially."
  • Shadow clones rule. They just do. Man, they added A LOT to this game.
  • Man, I hate the ending to this game. AGH!

Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom

( OK, let's wrap this shit up.) Hell, look at how long this thing is. In fact, let me calculate how long this blog is. OK, not counting my bullshitting around (that would be this line), it's nine pages long. This is longer than the average Dan Brown book should be, and I know for a fact that it's nine times better than any of them. Wait, I just remembered something: this blog isn't about Dan Brown and how terrible he is. It's about Ninja Gaiden III and how terrible it is. Except it isn't terrible in any sense of the word, so I guess playing the game made this blog worse. It's my Dude Blog all over again.
 
Then again, the story is pretty dumb, so that's a start. It's not Dan Brown dumb (IE I'm not yelling at the characters for their brains leaking out so that the plot can progress), but it's still pretty stupid. Things begin with Irene arriving on the scene, thinking that her place on the title cards in the previous game translates into a game of her own. I would like to see that, but I know it's not gonna happen. Why? First, Ryu's back on the title cards, and he's got a kickass animation. Speaking of which, Ryu jumps in and pushes her off a cliff, killi-er, eliminating (fucking Nintendo of America) her. I'd say it's because he wanted to correct the stupid ending of the second game, but there's a problem: Ryu didn't really kill her. So begins two new Ninja Gaiden mysteries (who killed Irene, and what's up with the capitalization), and I must say that it's a pretty cool angle for the story. Hell, Ninja Gaiden III does a lot of creative stuff with its story. For example, remember Foster? The guy who wanted Ryu dead by the end of the first game, and pretty much disappeared off the face of the Earth in the second? What the hell was he doing all that time? He was busy doing a lot of things, which probably explains why he didn't have the time to appear in Ninja Gaiden II. First, he grew 30 feet tall. Second, he found a sleazy guy named Clancy and decided to manufacture some BIO-NOIDS (this is how it is yelled when you first see it, and then never again like that). What the hell are these things? They're kinda like snatchers, only instead of being intricate robots built to take over the world so an old guy can ask a girl out, they're organic doppelgängers made from the dimensional rift left behind by Jaquio in the second game. That's not where the plot gets stupid.
 
 You know, it's hard to hate the antagonist when I completely agree with him.
This is where the plot gets stupid: Irene isn't dead. Christ, this is the second time she's cheated death. Did she learn the secrets of skullfucking the Reaper from the kids in Devil Survivor? Wait, that's not the stupid part; that's actually a good twist. The stupid part is when you finally confront fake Ryu, but rather than fight his regular form, you fight his monster form that's somehow less scary than the NES version's regular fake Ryu. Anyway, you beat him and Clancy decides to betray Foster by jumping into an alternate dimension. Foster tries to follow, but gets death; Ryu follows him, and the plot continues. This is when Clancy reveals that they're now on a namesake ship that's in the exact same dimension as before. He plans to use it to eliminate mankind. I'd like him if he didn't decide that Ryu and Irene can use it as their fucking chamber. Suddenly, things become one part Noah's Ark, one part Nazi, all parts stupid. It's just one of very few stupid decisions made during the development of this game, like how they got rid of the shadow clones. Why would you do this? That was the coolest thing Ninja Gaiden II had going for it, and you got rid of it? I can understand why (it'd be kinda weird to be talking about fake Ryus when you have two following you throughout the game), but still. Besides, what did you give us in exchange? The same ammo limit I didn't like last time? Fuck you. Wait, there's also a sword upgrade thing. Actually, that's kinda cool. I wish it was more than one level of upgrades, or that you could keep them between levels, but at least it's a start. Hell, there probably could be multiple upgrades for the sword, but you get them so rarely that it's hard to tell if there is a fabled second level of legend.
 
Odd, given that you can totally see what's in those power-up orbs, now. No longer will you guess what's in that baby eagle you slashed up, for now, it is presented to you. Hey, maybe this game isn't as bad as I once thought. OK, the plot's kinda dumb, and gone are the shadow clones, and in is the stupid voice of Ryu, but it does a lot of cool things with the Ninja Gaiden formula. I'd probably mention how you can climb horizontally, now, but it's really limited. Besides, it's just a small part of something much larger and much more awesome: level design. Ninja Gaiden III makes it very clear from the beginning that there's a lot of shit going on in just the backgrounds alone, and the levels themselves do not fuck around. It's hard to believe that the ante could be upped after Ninja Gaiden II, but apparently, they did. You'll find yourself jumping on moving platforms, only to catch the bottom, sink in quicksand, rip off I Wanna Be the Guy, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Just look at that video. These levels are so ball-busting that it doesn't even feel the need to jam a bunch of enemies in your face. OK, so it still does that, but you'll be yelling "FUCK THOSE SPIKES!" more than you will "FUCK THOSE ENEMIES THAT ARE MADE OF SPIKES!" Notice how the bosses are left out of the fucking. There are two good reasons for this: first, nobody wants to fuck interdimensional CIA Nazi monsters. Second, they're oddly easy. Maybe it's just me, but I found it pretty easy to beat these guys. The patterns are easy to figure out, and once that's done, the strategy is "slash until you need to get out of the way, repeat until next level." The only reason the final boss is hard is because he's three bosses, like before. Yet unlike the first game, you're not facing off against two hard bosses and one easy one; it's just three easy bosses that amount to a challenge. Still, it's a good game, even with the BIO-NOIDS thing. That's why I give it the Good Start for Ninja Gaiden IV: We're Back to 2D Award. Combine it with the stuff in Ninja Gaiden II, and my underwear would be permanently glued to my crotch.
 

Review Synopsis

  • Good news: we're no longer repeating the plot of Ninja Gaiden 1. Bad news: we're no longer repeating the plot of Ninja Gaiden 1.
  • Why did they get rid of shadow clones? At the very least, they could've fleshed out the sword replacement a bit more.
  • The levels are probably the best part of the game.
  • OK, time for a fourth bullet, for no reason. Is it just me, or does the cave music sound like the boss music from Romancing SaGa 3? It can't just be me.
Posted by BulletproofMonk

Long blog is really fucking long.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@BulletproofMonk: 
 
I'm quite aware. I even did a word count on this, and found it to be 6181 words. If I wanted to, I could outclass the shit out of this easily.
Posted by dbz1995

No Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, or its prequel? Completed that game again due to request.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@dbz1995 said:
" Completed that game again due to request. "
Are you telling me that you have, or that I should?
Posted by dbz1995
@Video_Game_King said:
" @dbz1995 said:
" Completed that game again due to request. "
Are you telling me that you have, or that I should? "
Both, actually. People should play that game weekly.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@dbz1995: 
 
But I kinda have my next few blogs planned. Also, I beat Shinobi III long ago. The only way I'll replay it is if you pester the shit out of me, like this.
Posted by JJOR64
Posted by Video_Game_King
@JJOR64 said:

" shizz"

Why are you advertising this as a mix of shit and jizz? Given that I got that from an AVGN video, that's my way of saying "I've seen it."
Posted by JJOR64
@Video_Game_King said:
" @JJOR64 said:

" shizz"

Why are you advertising this as a mix of shit and jizz? Given that I got that from an AVGN video, that's my way of saying "I've seen it." "
You want me to change it to "shit" then?  Mainly just posting the video so other people can check it out.
Posted by StarFoxA
@Video_Game_King: Jeez, 6181 words? That's more than the 15 page research paper I turned in the other night.
Posted by Guided_By_Tigers
@dbz1995: I love me some Shinobi III.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@StarFoxA: 
 
Shit. I think I wrote something longer than what most people would write at school. That's the definition of "nerd."
Posted by StarFoxA
@Video_Game_King: I think you've already attained the status of "nerd" by keeping track of every game you've beat and blogging about them as well.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@StarFoxA: 
 
It's part of a book I'm writing. It's called, "THESE ARE NOT OPINIONS, BUT FACT. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, THEN YOU ARE WRONG AND NEED THIS BOOK." I have to yell the title because that's how important it is.
Posted by StarFoxA
@Video_Game_King: I think you should revise the title to show that even if the reader does agree with the opinions, they should still purchase the book.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@StarFoxA: 
 
So the subtitle should be, "(Even if you agree with it, still buy it; who doesn't love masturbating to their own opinion?)"?
Posted by StarFoxA
@Video_Game_King: Yes, exactly. 
 
Also, good to see that you're beating some good games, rather than focusing on mediocre (referring to Ninja Gaiden Trilogy here).
Posted by Video_Game_King
@StarFoxA: 
 
To be fair, I never really know what I'm going to get with a game. I didn't expect both Ninja Combat and Ninja Commando to be made by the exact same people, so that was a welcome surprise.
Posted by buzz_clik

It is my not-so-secret shame (hell, I'm not even that ashamed) that I used to play and enjoy both Ninjas Commando & Combat as a kid; along with Cyber-Lip and Super Spy, they are my most oft-played Neo•Geo arcade titles.

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King
@buzz_clik: 
 
While I can understand Combat (I saw something redeemable in it), how the hell can you enjoy Ninja Commando? It sucks.
Posted by buzz_clik
@Video_Game_King: Hell, I was young at the time and just consuming everything gaming. I think I just enjoyed the fact that your dude spewed a buttload of bullets as he tore up the screen. I never really got all that good at it, and certainly not as good as I did with Ninja Combat. Plus the arcade I'd play Ninja Commando in just had flat out obscure titles in it like Legend of Hero Tonma and Psycho-Nics OSCAR (both of which I also loved) so it kind of fit with the whole bizarre mood of the place.
Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King
@buzz_clik: 
 
I have not heard of those games, so yea, they're obscure at hell.
Edited by ArbitraryWater

For once, I find the massive chunk of text that is your blog to be intimidating. But I read it anyways, even though what I mostly got out of it is "I still think Ninjas are cool, even though most Ninja-based video games aren't great". This is of course coming from someone who stopped playing Ninja Gaiden Black because that shit be crazy (hard) and would probably play Sid Meyer's Pirates if given a choice (though that game isn't particularly high on my list of Sid Meyer games I would like to play).
 
Also, I found that Wesker old spice parody funnier than it had any right to be simply because it was the actual voice actor.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@ArbitraryWater: 
 
But ninjas are cool. They're like the James Bond of the Sengoku period, only with badass instead of Scottish accents.
 
Oh, yea, I forgot about the ninja/pirate dichotomy. Ninjas are still cooler.
 
I'm more a fan of the Webcam Ward clip.
Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Video_Game_King:  Well, obviously Ninjas are way cooler and that's why a lot of RPGs have a random Ninja class or character pretty much for the hell of it (see: Wizardry, Might and Magic, Edge from FFIV, even D&D added a Ninja class in one of their supplements). If this conflict truly exists, it's fairly obvious that Ninjas are trouncing Pirates. There isn't a Pirate class in D&D, and the last random pirate in a RPG I can think of is Faris from FFV.  But most Ninja-based video games are kind of ass, whereas most Pirate games are probably trading sims and therefore less plentiful.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@ArbitraryWater: 
 
So they're mostly ass because of a saturation of ass? It seems that ninjas share an enemy with people who want to organize gay orgies. To make things more fair, let's compare Ninja Gaiden II with Donkey Kong Country 2 (that's the one where King K Rool becomes Kaptain K Rool (gotta love how Nintendo is consistent with his demotion)). *checks scores* Damn. Pirates beat ninjas by a single point. A single point.
Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Video_Game_King:  Both games are hard, but I'd rather play DKC2 simply by value of its difficulty being less reliant on you being knocked off an edge every time the enemy hits you. And you can save.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@ArbitraryWater: 
 
Well, Ninja Gaiden Trilogy did have a continue option, so I'm guessing that there's a save system of some type.
Posted by auspiciousqueue

Sweet calderas! That was quite long. I'm surprised an eyeless ninja didn't stab me in the back of the head before I got through reading it!  But very enlightening and entertaining none the less.