A "life" is lost when the life meter is depleted entirely, when Ryu falls off the screen, or when the timer runs out. A game over screen appears when all lives are lost;  however, the player may restart the level where this occurred by continuing.
When its life meter is depleted entirely, a boss is defeated. Players attack enemies by thrusting at them with Ryu's Dragon Sword—a katana -like sword passed down by the Hayabusa clan for generations. Players can replenish Ryu's spiritual strength by collecting red and blue "spiritual strength" items found in lamps and lanterns. Other items found along the way include hourglasses that freeze all enemies and projectiles for five seconds, bonus point containers, potions that restore six units of physical strength, "invincible fire wheels" that make Ryu temporarily invincible to attacks and 1-ups.
Ryu can jump on and off ladders and walls, and by using the directional pad, he can climb up or down ladders. Ryu can spring off walls by holding the directional pad in the opposite direction he is facing and pressing the jump button. He cannot attack while on walls or ladders. Players can use this technique to get Ryu to climb up spaces between walls and columns by holding down the jump button and alternating between left and right on the directional pad.
He can also climb a single wall vertically by springing off it and then quickly pressing the directional pad back towards the wall. Tecmo first announced the Famicom version of the game in the January 15, , issue of Family Computer Magazine under the title Ninja Gaiden which would later be used for the game's American version.
Drawing inspiration from the Mario series,  Yoshizawa kept the same title but changed everything else; it became a platform game as opposed to a beat 'em up such as Double Dragon ;  the gameplay was modeled after Konami 's Castlevania ,  with Ryu being equipped with a katana -like Dragon Sword, shurikens , and ninpo techniques such as fire wheels. They designed him with a ninja vest to place emphasis on his muscles, and they furnished him with a cowl that arched outward.
They originally wanted to equip Ryu with sensors and a helmet with an inside monitor to check his surroundings, but that idea was scrapped. According to Kato, they used specific locations and environments to justify the need for having a ninja for a main character. He recalled that during development, Tecmo adhered to "the philosophy that the user would throw a game away if it wasn't hard enough".
As a result, Yoshizawa decided to give the game an overall high level of difficulty. Yoshizawa placed greater emphasis on the story, unlike the arcade version,  and wrote and designed a plot that included over 20 minutes of cinematic cutscenes —the first time an NES game contained such sequences. They are used at the beginning of each Act to introduce new characters such as Irene Lew, Walter Smith, and the Jaquio. Dimitri Criona, Tecmo USA's director of sales and marketing, said that console games had an advantage over arcade games in that they allowed the creation of a longer game and the inclusion of cutscenes, which Tecmo trademarked as "cinema screens".
He noted console games required a different reward structure than arcade games. When the game's text was translated from Japanese to English, the game needed to be reprogrammed to accomplish this; different companies handled this process in different ways. Tecmo's Japanese writers wrote rough translations in English and then faxed them to the American division. According to Criona, the American division would "edit it and put it back together, telling the story in a context that an American English speaker would understand.
This would go back and forth several times. Because of the NES's hardware limitations, the English text needed to be very clear and concise to fall within those limitations; many times, different words with the same meaning but with fewer characters had to be used. All symbols and objects were scrutinized by Nintendo of America , who had specific rules on what could be included for North American releases; for instance, any Satanic , Christian , or any other religious, sexual, or drug-related references were not allowed.
Since the game's title was deemed too difficult for English audiences to read, it was renamed when it was released in Western markets. Upon Ninja Gaiden ' s North American release, Nintendo of America, whose play-testers liked the game and gave it high ratings, decided to help with its marketing. Nintendo's house organ Nintendo Power featured it prominently. According to Criona, it did not take a lot of effort to market the game through the magazine, nor did Tecmo or Nintendo do much else to promote it.
Ninja Gaiden received strong publicity in Nintendo Power in and It "got the highest marks of any title It was expected to be No. The preview compared Ryu's ability to climb and spring off walls to the gameplay in Metroid. Its display featured a demo of the game and a live person dressed as a ninja. Demand for the game eventually exceeded its supply. While Tecmo anticipated the game would be a hit, according to Kohler they did not realize at the time the impact it would have on the video game industry "with its groundbreaking use of cinematics".
It features more colorful and detailed graphics, along with difficulty and gameplay tweaks and a different soundtrack. This version also supports three different language settings with Japanese, English and Chinese as the available options.
However, the English translation used in this version differs from the one used in the earlier NES version. Some reviewers appreciated the redrawn graphics and music in this version, but others found them to be an inadequate effort. Electronic Gaming Monthly reviewers compared it unfavorably to another updated NES remake, Mega Man: The Wily Wars ; they called the version "an exact port-over with no noticeable enhancements in graphics, sound and play control".
The game debuted at No. These cinema scenes made Ninja Gaiden play almost like a movie. Reflecting on his career as a game designer, Yoshizawa considered Ninja Gaiden —along with Klonoa: Door to Phantomile —his proudest accomplishment, explaining that the title enjoyed the best sales performance out of all of his projects. The review praised the game's animation in these cutscenes and noted Tecmo's usage of close-ups and body movements.
The reviewer said that while the cutscenes were not fluid, they were effective and entertaining and provided important information about what the player was supposed to do. He appreciated the game had unlimited continues which slightly offset its difficulty, but he criticized it for having over-detailed background graphics especially in the indoor levels, saying that some bottomless pits and items in these levels become slightly camouflaged.
The staff said that Ninja Gaiden "proved to be an instant winner" with its cinematic cutscenes and unique gameplay. They added the game's climax was better than some movies' climaxes at the time and that it established continuity for a sequel, which would be released the following year.
He noted the game has great graphics that feature diverse backgrounds and character sprites; he especially praised its use of cartoon-like animation sequences between Acts where the game's plot unfolds. He enjoyed the game's difficulty especially with the bosses, but he noted the game will seem tough at first until players become accustomed to the controls. He criticized the game for its sound, which he said did not fit with the graphics and was "racy" but added "what's there is atmospheric and suits the action".
He highly recommended the game to fans of the beat 'em up and combat genres. In the review, Matt Regan and Paul Glancey praised its detailed and animated character sprites and its difficulty level. The game's high standards of gameplay, sound, and overall depth impressed Regan; he noted the game's frustrating difficulty but pointed out that it has unlimited continues. Glancey compared the game to the NES version of Batman released later in with its similar wall-jumping mechanics; he said that its graphics were not as well-developed as Batman ' s but were still satisfactory.
He praised its detailed sprites and their animations along with the "Tecmo Theater" concept, noting that the cutscenes "help supply a lot of atmosphere". He said it is one of the best arcade-style games on the NES as well as the best ninja-related game on the system. The Japanese magazine Famitsu gave it a score of 28 out of The review praised the game for its attention to detail and challenge and noted players need to master certain gameplay skills to move on.
Criticisms included a "lack of variety" and dullness in gameplay which was compared to a "visit to the tax office". They noted the faithful translation from the NES version as well as the revamped and more detailed graphics, saying "PC Engine owners should not miss this one! The official English Tecmo Games' mobile website advertised it for a future release along with a mobile version of Tecmo Bowl.
The port featured the same visuals and soundtrack as the NES version. Each installment was to consist of several levels of gameplay at a time. The mobile phone port of Ninja Gaiden was met with some praise and criticism. They praised the game's controls, despite the omission of the ability to duck so that pressing "down" on the phone's directional pad could be used for secondary weapons; Brown said the port had better controls than most other mobile phone games at the time.
They both criticized the port for its lack of sound quality, but Buchanan said this was not Tecmo's fault. Retro Gamer took a look back at Ninja Gaiden in its March issue, when the Xbox remake was released. They said the game broke the mold of conventional video game titles by including a plot with cinematic cutscenes added between gameplay segments, adding that the concept of adding cinematics for a game's introduction, plot, and ending was a new concept which "naturally impressed the gaming public".
The article noted the game's high level of difficulty, saying the game "threw up an immense challenge even for the veteran gamer, and almost dared you to complete it mentally and physically intact". Upon its release on the Virtual Console, Ninja Gaiden was met with high praise, especially for its elaborate story, amount of narrative, and use of anime -like cinematic sequences. A 1UP. Reviewers have criticized the game for its high and unforgiving difficulty level especially late in the game, and it has been considered an example of " Nintendo Hard " video games.
According to his review, the game starts easy, but the difficulty begins to increase halfway through the second Act and continues through the sixth Act; Navarro describes the sixth Act's difficulty as "one of the bottom levels of gaming hell". Over fifteen years after its creation, Ninja Gaiden has maintained its position as one of the most popular games for the NES. A Joystiq reader poll, with over 12, votes, listed the game at No. The list, which included games for all Nintendo systems, placed the game at No.
Nintendo Power honored the game in its November issue, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the NES. The magazine listed its box art, which depicts a ninja with a burning city in the background, as one of its favorite designs in the NES library. He also reminisced about the game's high level of difficulty with its re-spawning enemies and enemy birds that knocked players into pits, saying this game "may have taught me how to curse". He further praised gameplay features such as clinging on walls and using ninpo techniques, and he noted the game's cinematic cutscenes, including the ominous opening sequence that featured two ninjas who launch into the air at each other clashing their swords in the moonlight.
He said that " Ninja Gaiden was about as cool as an 8-bit game could be, especially for ninja-crazed kids of the '80s who, like me, had worn out their VHS copies of Enter the Ninja ". The magazine noted how its use of cutscenes, animations, and overall presentation put the game above most other action titles at the time. While it lauded the controls and gameplay elements, as with other reviews, it criticized the difficulty, calling it "one of the most challenging games on the console".
It noted how defeated enemies re-spawn in certain spots, how enemies are placed on the edges of platforms, and the structure of the final level. Godin and Peter Lerangis , under the pseudonym A. Singer, wrote the novelization. The novel did not adhere strictly to the game's storyline; for instance, the ending was changed so that Ryu's father survived. As real-life fathers Godin and Lerangis were reluctant to leave Ryu fatherless.
The first half of the CD starts with an arranged medley of the game's music. It continues with enhanced versions of the game's music which used stereophonic sound and additional PCM channels. The rest of the CD features music from the arcade version. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. JP : January 24, Japan portal Video games portal. Nintendo Times. Mean Machines. May If it is my destiny that I not return, you are to take the Dragon sword of the Hayabusa family and go to America and see the archaeologist, Walter Smith.
Nintendo Power. Redmond, WA : Nintendo. March—April ISSN OCLC Walter Smith : The demon came to this earth and caused many deaths. Foster : In the upper reaches of the Amazon, some ancient ruins were discovered. It seems the temple was built more than years ago. Essences are an important part of the gameplay.
They are coloured globes of energy released when enemies die; and serve as power-ups when Ryu steps near them by healing, restoring magic power or increasing his cash. The player, however, can actively pull essences into Ryu to unleash powerful attacks known as ultimate techniques. Each weapon has a unique technique; and besides dealing heavy damage to foes caught in them, ultimate techniques grant Ryu immunity to damage while they are active. In later versions of Ninja Gaiden , these techniques award karma points, making them an integral part of high scoring play.
Lastly, the player can make Ryu cast ninpo such as fireballs, ice storms or bolts of lightning. These spells function in a similar manner to the bombs of shooter action games, allowing players to inflict heavy damage on enemies while avoiding damage from their attacks. Itagaki, however, was not totally satisfied with the visual effects for ninpo attacks. As such, he intended to discourage players from using ninpo by giving a score bonus if they clear a stage without using ninpo.
The Intercept technique added through the Hurricane Pack allowed players to negate damage by blocking just as an attack is about to land. A blue flash appears to signify that the move was done correctly, it is even able to cancel damage done by rockets, tank shells, fireballs and thrown pillars.
In addition to negating damage it also allowed Ryu to instantly absorb essence for an instant Ultimate Technique. Ninja Gaiden takes place in the same fictional setting as Tecmo's fighting game series Dead or Alive and features characters from the fighting game. Its game world comprises fictional locations in Japan and the fictional Vigoor Empire in Asia. For the Japanese locations, the ninja fortress and the Hayabusa village are designed with Heian period architecture set in the mountains.
The art style of the Vigoor Empire blends a variety of real world cultural influences. The city of Tairon comprises European structures, and has Arabic letterings on several of its gates. The monastery bears the looks of Gothic architecture with its large spacious hall, and multiple levels of windows and archways.
The hidden underground level carries the influence of ancient Egypt with its sand-colored round pillars and cat-headed statues, whereas an Aztecan-styled pyramid is located before a labyrinth. The hodgepodge of cultures in Ninja Gaiden is a result of Itagaki's desire to throw in everything that he wanted to create. The protagonist of Ninja Gaiden is super ninja, Ryu Hayabusa.
Ryu has a long history with Tecmo, starring in the old Ninja Gaiden series in the —90s and joining the Dead or Alive roster since its first game in These appearances have made him popular among the gaming industry.
He is by the voluptuous Rachel, the relationship between her and the Greater Fiends serves as a plot device to move the story. The player faces a variety of enemies in the game. Itagaki preferred to create monsters which are not humanoid in appearance, saying he gets more ideas from thinking up something not human. Hence, the bulk of enemies are non-human creatures called fiends who were humans transformed into monsters by a curse of their blood.
Among them, three Greater Fiends play more significant roles in the story, Rachel's sister, Alma; the primary antagonist, Doku; and the guardian to the Emperor of the fiends, Marbus. Team Ninja paid attention to detail when it came to creating the 3D computer models for the game; they studied human anatomy to create realistic skeletal and muscle structures for the characters.
Hayashi also said the pistols of the henchman, Gamov, are modelled on real-world handguns. Although Team Ninja has motion captured the moves of martial artists, they did not directly used the captured animations in the game. Instead, the animators used the captured animations as references, and added their own ideas to animate the characters. Players can customize the appearance of their characters by changing their costume. The story of Ninja Gaiden takes place two years before the first Dead or Alive game [ citation needed ] , and is mainly delivered through cut scenes at the start and end of each chapter.
The player starts taking control of Ryu to infiltrate the Shadow clan ninja fortress and visit its clan leader, Murai , who is also Ryu's uncle. During the visit, the female ninja Ayane delivers news of a raid on the Hayabusa village through a cut scene.
Ryu fights his way back to his village, and encounters Doku who has taken the Dark Dragon Blade and killed Kureha , the Hayabusa shrine maiden. The first part of the story ends with a cut scene of Doku cutting down Ryu with the Blade. The scene ends with a falcon, the Hayabusa's spiritual animal, watching over Ryu's fallen body.
The story continues with the falcon bringing back Ryu to life offscreen. Ryu prepares for his quest at the ninja fortress where Murai tells him the raiding party was from the Vigoor Empire. Ryu stows aboard a Zeppelin to begin his vengeance on the leaders of the Vigoor Empire.
Ayane performs as a guide throughout the game, informing the player of the next objective and tips to handle situations. Ryu fights through the streets of Tairon, cutting down those who stand in his way. Most of the characters encountered are enemies, with no other interaction option except to fight. However, the swordsmith, Muramasa provides a shop for the player to purchase and upgrade items, and dispenses back-stories, quests, and hints; he tells Ryu to locate the Dragon Eye jewel back at the Hayabusa village to upgrade the Dragon Sword to its full potential.
The Fiend Hunter, Rachel , offers expositions and serves as the occasional damsel in distress. The player faces several bosses in Ryu's rampage through Tairon. Most of them are giant non-human fiends, and the humanoid bosses include the three Greater Fiends.
Ryu first defeats Greater Fiend Alma in a battle which wrecks the city. However, the two sisters' fate are entwined with Lord of the Greater Fiends Doku, and he captures Rachel to sacrifice her. Ryu rescues Rachel, and destroys Doku's spirit in a showdown in a labyrinth. Doku, however, casts the blood curse on Ryu with his last breath. Ryu battles through the palace to lift the curse. The player has to clear two successive boss fights to destroy the Emperor. The realm starts to collapse with the Emperor's death, and the player has to navigate Ryu up a series of ledges to escape.
Ryu loses his grip on the recovered Dark Dragon Blade in his escape, and it lands at the feet of the Dark Disciple who has been shadowing Ryu throughout the story. The Disciple picks up the Blade and unmasks himself as Murai. He admits to planning the entire scheme to restore the Blade's evil power with souls harnessed from Ryu's quest of vengeance. Ryu overcomes the dark power enhanced Murai in the final boss fight. Ryu places the Dragon Eye back on Kureha's tombstone before disappearing into the night.
They then planned to move the project to the Dreamcast console for further development and release, but this was abandoned when Sega announced the end of Dreamcast product line in The company kept silent on this change in direction, and surprised both the games industry and fans when they announced at E3 that Ninja Gaiden would be released exclusively on the Xbox gaming console. Most fans who voted on Tecmo's poll wanted the game on the Nintendo GameCube.
Ninja Gaiden was Team Ninja's first action game. Its initial concept had nothing in common with the original Ninja Gaiden series that was released for the NES. Analysing the earlier games, he concluded that their violence appealed to players, and included gory content, such as beheadings, in the Xbox game to retain that spirit.
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