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Ninja Gaiden Black Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Ninja Gaiden Black Review
Ninja Gaiden Black is an updated version of 2004’s amazing Ninja Gaiden. It includes everything from the original game, of course, along with a ton of new features and options. For fans of the first game and newcomers to Ninja Gaiden alike, Ninja Gaiden Black is an amazing game that deserves a spot in any Xbox owner’s collection.

Story and Setting

Ninja Gaiden follows young ninja Ryu Hayabusa as his village is attacked and the evil Dark Dragon Blade (a sword the Hayabusa Ninja Clan is responsible for protecting) is stolen. Ryu sets out to retrieve the blade and find those responsible for destroying his village. The setting of the game is in modern times and it is very interesting to move from ancient villages and temples to futuristic airships and huge cities. It still definitely has that classic ancient ninja feel, but with some technology thrown in so it is very cool.


The gameplay in Ninja Gaiden Black is fast, furious, and difficult. Think of every cool ninja move you have ever seen in a videogame, anime, or movie and you’ll have some idea of what playing Ninja Gaiden is like. Ryu can do all of those things plus a lot more. The controls are fairly intuitive – you have a couple of attack buttons, a block button, a jump button, and a projectile button – and everything you do is extremely smooth and seamless. Different combinations of the attack buttons result in different attacks and combos and you earn new attacks as you play the game. You also pick up magic attacks that you can use. On top of all of this, you are constantly finding new weapons and you can also upgrade your weapons so the experience always feels fresh and new. In addition to the hacking, slashing, stabbing, decapitating combat, Ninja Gaiden also has some puzzle elements. Somewhat like Prince of Persia (but not nearly as focused upon it) acrobatics and figuring out how to get to those far out of reach places is part of the fun since you can find new items and areas to explore.

Extreme Difficulty

The gameplay is fast and smooth and flows together better than just about any other action game ever, but be warned that Ninja Gaiden is unrelentingly difficult. The enemies are fast and have just as many moves as you do and they are also very smart. Their attacks are also surprisingly powerful. Thankfully, you only ever face a handful of enemies at a time, so the game never seems impossible. It can get frustrating at times, though. As long as you make sure to block carefully, be patient, and use all of the moves at your disposal, you should be all right. With that said, however, I can say with some confidence that many players won’t be able to beat Ninja Gaiden because it requires skills that older games have forgotten and younger gamers never learned. Like I said, though, nothing in this game is impossible, but a lot of people will probably get frustrated before they get to the end. And that is really the only complaint I have with Ninja Gaiden – it is just too darn difficult for its own good at times. What is most amazing about the difficulty is that there is actually higher difficulty levels beyond the normal setting. Absolute craziness.
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