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Wenn man auch nur ansatzweise etwas für Actiontitel auf dem NES übrig hat und nicht vor Herausforderungen zurückschreckt, wird man Ninja Gaiden lieben. Hat man die Steuerung erst einmal verinnerlicht und ist im schnellen Spielfluss drin, offenbart sich ein Gameplay, das, so simpel es im Grund ist, fesselnder nicht sein könnte.
So be well warned ahead of time – this isn't the kind of game you can pick up and breeze through on your first try. Completing the adventure takes practice and patience, both of which you'll likely be willing to invest given the solid and satisfying fun factor of the core gameplay and, too, given that you'll want to see how the story ends. Getting to the next cutscene, seeing the next piece of the plot, was a motivation not used before Ninja Gaiden in 1989. That novel narrative nature, paired with the high degree of difficulty, made this first Gaiden game a hit. A hit that started Tecmo's most powerful franchise, and a hit that's certainly worth the asking price of 500 Wii Points to re-experience.
While Ninja Gaiden rewards gamers that are aggressive, it also forces them to play wisely by punishing those that are too aggressive. Much like a ninja, you must move with care, move with precision, and move with a sense of urgency not found in most modern games. It’s old school gaming in its finest, and most frustratingly satisfying, form.
There are some irritations - the respawning bad guys are a pain, while scaling higher sections using Ryu's wall-grab move is clumsier than I remembered - but for the vast majority of the time Ninja Gaiden is a fine example of the sort of solid, honest gameplay that retro gaming should celebrate.
Although the visuals have aged poorly, Ninja Gaiden still has plenty of gameplay and challenge. The musical score should be noted as one of the finest to be found on the NES. In terms of NES platform action, it doesn't really get much better than this!
However, the key difference between this masochistically tough game and other masochistically tough games from this time period is that Ninja Gaiden doesn't use its difficulty level as a crutch. The underlying gameplay in Ninja Gaiden is good enough to keep you playing, no matter how many times it punches you in the face with some cheap enemy placement or completely insane boss fight. For those who like their classic games angry and challenging, Ninja Gaiden is one of the better examples of that style of game, because it's hard and it's fun. And ninjas are awesome.