53: Ninja Gaiden II

Genre: Platformer

Developer: Tecmo
Publisher: Tecmo
Year: 1990

Basic Idea: Save Irene again while blowing in the wind.

Review: I remember for my 10th birthday weekend, my best friend came over.  It wasn’t time to open presents yet (my birthday wasn’t until Monday), but my parents gave me one before hand because my friend was over.  That game was Ninja Gaiden II.  I had played the previously one to death and was anxiously awaiting the sequel.  I was a bit disappointed.

One of the hallmarks of the first game, the plot and cut scenes, is possibly better in this version.  And there’s a few added features that are really nice.  The ability to climb walls is a relief.  There is a wider variety of power-ups (and the shuriken is now the default), including the shadow ninjas who follow you, do what you do (including using power-ups), and cannot be hurt.  Sometimes they can clutter up the screen, but they can be used very effectively to get out of sticky situations, or attack bosses from a distance.  Sadly, the jump’n’slash power-up is gone, a very welcome tool when falling onto a ledge with enemies.

What drops this game so far down the list for me is the unfair difficulty present in some of the levels.  One level has the wind randomly howling at your front or back.  There’s nothing like timing a long jump, then having the wind knock you into a pit.  You thought the eagles were tough to avoid in the first game?  Try doing so in the wind.  Or how about in the dark?  One level puts you in near blackness except for when lightning strikes, giving you brief visibility.

If you loved the first game, it’s still worth picking this one up.  But be prepared for increased difficulty.  The third game, which won’t have another mention in this list, is harder still and worth playing only with a game genie.

5 thoughts on “53: Ninja Gaiden II”

  1. I absolutely love this game. I was a glutton for punishment, and as such, got to the point where I could beat this game legitimately. This one is probably top five or so for me, but I would have died a happy man if you hadn’t reminded me of the arbitrary changing of the wind. That level made me want to devil worship.

    I also beat III legitimately, but by the end, I was having literally no fun. That was a beast that has been met only by Viewtiful Joe.

    1. Wow, I can’t believe you beat III. That’s insane.

      I think we all have games that are hard, but we obsessed over them and overcame the difficulty curve, making the game more enjoyable. I know there are a few of those higher up on the list for me. For some reason, I never wanted to obsess over this game, so here it sits.

      1. I can’t really remember any of the top of my head like this. Maybe as we go up the list, I’ll find one or two. Honestly, I think I kind of sucked at gaming when this system was around.

      2. I’m getting to that point with Super Meat Boy, to the point where it would almost certainly be top 20 were I to remake my list.

        None of the Ninja Gaiden games ever struck my fancy like that. I should go back to the first one and give it an honest effort.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s