Ninja Gaiden: Awesome NES Fun… But Bloody Difficult!

Ninja Gaiden - NES
Oh yeah!

Having been enjoying our NES Mini a great deal, we were surprised by Ninja Gaiden – it’s awesome! It’s also one difficult SOB. The type of game which makes you stop for a second after another death and wonder what on Earth Temco was playing at.

It was highly innovative at the time, boasting cut scenes (which still look effing awesome to this day) and a story (which is, frankly, boring – as with most video games, it interferes with the fun of getting into the game). It’s a gosh darned awesome title, but it’s also insanely difficult. Onwards, sir or madam!

Ninja Gaiden

It’s one of those insanely difficult NES era games which simply stops you in your tracks. NES gaming is about perfecting your approach and Ninja Gaiden demands this big time – you’ll have to really master each level to get through it and use everything available to you.

The big problem is, as with Castlevania (and as how the AVGN has pointed out on many occasions), when you get hit, your character is thrown backwards. With badly positioned pits positioned all around you, there’s often an unfortunate plunge to your doom. Factor in a strict time limit for each level and this means you don’t really have time to consider this – it’s simply a game of skill. You’ve either got it in you, or you’re going to be Numpty Gaiden (see what we did there?!).

As a result, the player must use perfect timing and the ninja’s abilities to traverse levels. This is where the fun kicks in, as you can jump from wall to wall, pick up power ups, and massacre your way to the end boss. It’s very satisfying when you manage to complete a level, simply put.

Of course, along the way you’re up against baddies who often respawn instantaneously after you’ve defeated them. It’s not uncommon in many games to defeat some bad guys, return to an area after a short while, and find them back milling around again. For them to respawn right before your eyes, over and over, however, is really quite something. Insulting, in fact, as this makes some jumps later in the game mind-bendingly difficult. NES era gaming, eh?

Yo, Ninja!

This is an awesome game though – it’s difficulty isn’t up there with Ghosts ‘N Goblins, so you should be able to make your way quite deep into what, for the time, was an innovative title. It’s another one which really stands the test of time, too, in terms of gameplay.

So! If you’ve got your NES Mini, or you’re about to pick it up, here’s another title to give a whirl. Give yourself some time to get to grips with it, but after this you should be away and, by Jove, it’ll be marvellous!


  1. I pondered robbing an evil reseller, for the greater good of the gaming community, but I’m still patiently waiting for NES classic stock to replenish. 🙂


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