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Ninja Gaiden


I have wanted to pick up a copy of "Ninja Gaiden" for more than a year, but I have been expecting a Platinum Hits version to come out and one never has.  So, I found someone on eBay willing to give a copy up for $20...and, now that I have survived playing through about six levels on the Normal difficulty setting, I am going to hide it in a box, never to be seen again.

"Ninja Gaiden", full of fantastic graphics, great moves, and maybe the best player-to-controller interface on Xbox, is far and away the hardest video game I have played since I bought the system.  How hard is it?  It took me two days just to beat the first of its 20+ levels.  I must have spent a few hours trying to beat the first boss.  And, the levels don't get much easier after that...certainly, I believe that with time, I could beat this game.  But, do I have 50 hours to invest in an action game?  For an RPG, that's the minimum to get through a long quest, but for a third-person hack-and-slasher?

The game is unforgiving in its steady waves of enemy progression and volume; simply, you are always fighting three or more ninjas at once, and all of them are as adept at dodging or parrying your sword moves as you are to theirs.  Worse, because they do not possess anything resembling honor, you will regularly find yourself fighting one ninja while another is sneaking up to slash you through your backside.  Your health (realistically) drops in large chunks every time you take a hit; health paks do NOT abound in the levels themselves, unless you can find secret areas.  And, the bosses are Mike-Tyson-in-"Punch-Out!" hard.

When I had almost no life, I would look forward to the challenge of playing a game like this; now, with only an hour or two a night to play my games, "Ninja Gaiden" is a time investment I am not willing to make.  Maybe on a snow day...

Rating:  Rental


Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09