By Philip Dunkley
When the Ninja Gaiden franchise was resurrected on the XBOX back in 2004, after previous releases on Arcade and NES, it developed quite a following worldwide with its fast paced action, over the top gore and fiendish difficulty levels. Fans rejoiced last year when the real successor to the XBOX version was announced, and it’s set to release locally in the next month.
We had the opportunity to get a hands on look at the game over the last week, and while I can’t release all the ins and outs of the story and gameplay, what I can tell you, is that it looks like it’s going to live up to expectations, and it plays faster and harder than ever before.
The game is based around the character Ryu Hayabusa, as in the previous iterations. It’s had the obvious graphical makeover, and it’s looking really good in the code that I played, along with a healthy dose of difficulty thrown in, as all fans of the series will be expecting. It also looks as stylish as hell, and Ryu has a plethora of moves that are not only effective, but look just as good to pull off. Fans will also be treated to similar faces and characters from the previous games, and many a favourite character makes a welcome return. Once again the series turns to one of most well known features, violence, and dishes out a generous portion of not only blood and guts, but a couple of added bonuses this time around. If hacked off limbs and blood galore are your type of thing, you’re going to love this.
The game also features a new health regeneration system, basically filling back up after each bout of fighting, but loses a certain â€œpermanentâ€ portion every time you take damage.
Weapons in the game have had a decent overhaul, and they feel fresh, yet remarkably familiar, and each weapon has a trademark â€œObliterationâ€ Moves, providing a seriously gory and permanent end to anyone who get’s in Ryu’s way. There are also a few new weapons, providing hours of glorious fun.
I wish I could give you all a further insight to the game, but not to spoil it for anyone, or get into trouble, I can’t. What I can tell you is this. If you get the opportunity to get hold of Ninja Gaiden on XBOX, and various stores in SA do a lot of original XBOX imports, give it a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that South Africa missed out on quite a few decent games in the original XBOX era, and this is one not to be missed.
Ninja Gaiden II is looking really good, and I always worry about titles like this locally, as we never got to see the Ninja Gaiden released on XBOX in this country, expect for folks who had import machines and games, but it’s a series with a decent history, and it’s definitely worth more than just a look. Trust me on this, if you’re into a serious challenge, love violent, action packed games, hold on to your seats, cause Ninja Gaiden is about to rock your world.
Last Updated: May 26, 2008