October 2016 – Illusion of Gaia / Ninja Gaiden

Title: Illusion of Gaia / Ninja Gaiden
Platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System / Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date: September 1, 1994 / March 1989
Developer: Quintet / Tecmo
Publisher: Nintendo / Tecmo
Genre: Action RPG / 2D Platformer

Members Completed: 1 
Average Rating: —/100 | —/100
Member Progress Rating Review and/or Comments
Apple Currently Playing —/100
gamma Currently Playing —/100
ladyjuice Currently Playing —/100
Refia Completed 10/11
(Ninja Gaiden)
Ninja Gaiden has a lot of problems, but it’s one of my top 10 NES games. It might seem contradictory, but once you play the game enough, it’s one of the most fun games on the system in my opinion. The two main problems in my opinion are that enemies respawn from the sides of the screen inward a bit from the actual side of the screen, to compensate for CRTs that cut off the sides, and that the final boss is way too random and dying on any of the three parts makes it so when you get back and rematch that part you no longer get all your health refilled, which in my opinion is much more of an annoyance than the fact that it starts you at 6-1, as 6-1 through 6-3 are rather trivial once you’ve worked out the strategies. The reason I really like the game despite all that is that you can use the respawning to your advantage. It’s not a platforming game but more of a puzzle game. Once you learn to use the respawn points inside the screen to your advantage, the game becomes a really cool intellectual exercise. The thing about the enemies respawning inward from the actual edge of the screen is that they despawn there too when they walk off-screen, and many parts of the game are vastly easier when you find techniques to make this happen. Another thing you can do is jump over enemies that track you (like birds) to make them move to a position where they’re easier to take out. This is pretty handy for spots where trying to just kill the bird normally won’t work because it would respawn, since it lets you move forward past its respawn point to kill it, making it no longer respawn (see 6-2 for a stage that benefits from this greatly, on the infamous “AVGN screen”). After some practice you’ll find the game flows amazingly well. Every enemy that’s not a boss dies in one hit except for the guys that throw axes, and you can jump around all those naturally anyway with the right patterns. Add to this the fact that for 90% of the game continually moving is the best strategy, and you have a game that feels truly amazing to play once you’ve mastered the stages. The only real flaw it has IMO is the final boss’ second (and to some extent third) form, which is pretty much impossible unless you know how to air mash (what I call a technique that lets you slash multiple times in mid-air), which is done by pressing down and then b, and then you can repeat it pretty much as fast as you can press the combination. The boss is EXTREMELY hard without this technique, and hard even with it a lot of the time. You can also use this to attack without using your spin slash, although I don’t really make use of the powerups very much normally because it’s just too much hassle to worry about most of the time when you one shot most things. I’m not super proud of my run, since I did it after not having played it a long time, but I didn’t even expect to beat the second form the first time, so in some sense, it was above my expectations. Ninja Gaiden is a great game that most people just dismiss because it’s hard, but it’s got incredibly precise and tight control for an NES game, and it’s really fun once you’ve got the hang of it. (Stream Highlight)
Yoshi Currently Playing —/100

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