30 Days of Xbox: Ninja Gaiden

A legendarily hard game meets an arbitrarily imposed time limit. Bad things happen.
Ninja Gaiden was one of Microsoft’s flagship games for the original Xbox, intended to show off just how much more powerful it was than Sony’s PlayStation 2. At one level, it succeeded masterfully, because even after all these years, this is one gorgeous game.

But before I can face those gorgeous visuals, I’ve got to face some serious, serious load times. I’d forgotten about those, even if the game’s legendary difficulty spikes had stayed with me.
One of the issues with doing this kind of rapid-fire challenge is that I never settle on one game for long, and that’s going to be very problematic for a game like Ninja Gaiden.
It’s a precise and often punishing game, even on Normal difficulty, and while I can pull off insane moves that make me look very graceful indeed, they’re counterbalanced by the limited camera controls and smarts of my enemies, who know when to block and respawn if I wander too far away.
Which is the polite way of saying that I died.
A lot.
A whole lot. With persistence (and very limited time) I get to the first boss fight, and he absolutely wipes the floor with me.

“Can we get your beating over and done with? I need to get back to fronting Warrant.”

More than a dozen times.
Here’s the thing, though. While Ninja Gaiden is a hard game, and the camera really could do with some tightening up because there are areas where you genuinely can’t see foes coming for you, it’s also one that benefits from steady play and learning of attack patterns.
I can totally see that with a lot of time and patience, I could slice and dice through every foe that’s defeating me right now as if they weren’t even there.
Sadly, I don’t have time to hang around.

That’s time I don’t quite have, though, as I must move onto the next game. That can also only mean that it’s time for the…

Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings

  1. Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
  2. Taito Legends 2
  3. Outrun 2
  4. Ninja Gaiden
  5. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
  6. SSX Tricky
  7. NFL Street
  8. Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
  9. FIFA 2004
  10. NHL Rivals 2004
  11. Rocky
  12. Spy vs Spy
  13. Rugby League
  14. Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
  15. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball

Another very tough call, but then again, this is a very tough game. Realistically, this is my entirely subjective list, and I could well see myself dedicating a bit of proper gaming time to this, if I had the time.
But am I likely to drop it in the Xbox for a bit of casual gaming? No, because there’s not much point, just as there wouldn’t be much point in doing so with a lengthy RPG title. At least, not this month.
Next time: Are you a God?

Author: Alex

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