Ninja Gaiden was voted # 93 in the Top 100 Games of All Time poll published by Game Informer Magazine (Issue 100, August 2001).
The NES version, while starring the same main character (our man, Ryu Hayabusa), bears little or no connection to the original arcade Nina Gaiden; nonetheless, some aspects of it were carried over to the NES title. The first stage is a vague adaptation of the arcade's first stage, the opening cutscenes are resemblant albeit not tightly. Both games feature Jason Voorhees look-alikes and, moreover, Bloody Malth from the NES game reminds of the coin-op's final boss.
The word "Gaiden" in the title means "Letter". It can also mean "sidestory".