Ninja Gaiden (Game Gear)

Ninja Gaiden (忍者外伝) - Game Gear (1991)


In 1991, Sega began to release licensed Ninja Gaiden games for their own hardware. In the title screens they all state “Reprogrammed Game Copyright Sega 199X”, but they’re all new and original games and not based on any of the previous ones.

Ninja Gaiden for the Sega Game Gear was the first one to share one title for all regions. If anything, Sega Europe had more balls than Nintendo and made do without family friendly self-censorship. On top of that, now the title “Gaiden” finally made sense, since the plot of the game wasn’t related to the main series at all. This story, though, is definitely the stupidest one in any series entry ever. Ryu is hunting a terrorist demon, who wants to bring the whole world to war. None of the following events make any real sense, and it’s best to just ignore it and play the game.

Ninja Gaiden (Game Gear)

On the other hand, the gameplay isn’t too hot, either. The controls feel rather loose and hectic and most of the weapons got replaced by more common and boring energy shots. At least you can run and slash your sword at the same time, making for a very different feel than the other games. The level design is very simple, and most of the time you just need to rush from left to right, or up a skyscraper while stuff is falling down on Ryu. The only refreshing exception brings the fourth (and last!) act, where you have to jump from wall to wall and can turn around with certain wall segments. The bosses are easy to beat, but you should never get hit by them when you are right above their heads, because if that happens, you’ll most likely bounce of and get hit again until you’re dead, and that doesn’t take a lot of hits.

Ninja Gaiden (Game Gear)

The graphics look boring and glitchy, and there’s terrible flickering in the skyscraper stage. Everything’s bright and colorful, though, so you won’t have any trouble recognizing stuff. Playing this game for longer than an hour would be terribly boring. Fortunately (?), it can easily be finished well before that hour passes.

Ninja Gaiden (Game Gear)

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