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Ninja Gaiden Trilogy

Super Nintendo

Game Review (by Jedi QuestMaster):

Tecmo Presents 1995; too bad there’s no impressive opening to Ninja Gaiden Trilogy. Whatever, though! All the games are there… but at what cost?

Graphics:

  • The Good: The cutscenes & gameplay graphics are improved with the added color palette of the SNES. Even the brickish tile backgrounds of Ninja Gaiden 1 (NG1) were improved!
  • The Bad: For some reason, during some cutscenes there will be a sudden “blackout frame” before a transition. When there is a Game Over in NG1 or Ninja Gaiden 3 (NG3), the screen doesn’t “flash” or make any interesting effects like in the originals.
  • The Good: Ninja Gaiden 2 (NG2): kept most of its shining glory. The backgrounds still have all their vibrancy.
  • The Bad: But what happened to the fancy hue cycling HUD?!
  • The Strange: Also, during one or two scenes, Ashtar’s sprite appears in front of Irene as opposed to the original: Irene transforming into him. Why the change? Was this the original idea?
  • The Horrible: These were just minor compared to what happened in stage 3-1; that dark stage with the lightning, where players could pause the game and wait for the lightning to recur and progress the stage. That’s not necessary anymore. The stage is visible the entire time.
  • The Hell!: NG3: the graphical effects that took advantage of every feature of the NES were taken away. No seizure-inducing flashes when striking boss enemies, and no moving clouds in Stage 7-1.

Sound:

Just about every track was remixed. For a SNES game, one would expect decent arrangements. Yet the choice of instruments used to replace the chiptunes are questionable. The only really good arrangement was the brief “Twist of Fate” theme. It seems that for most of the music in this trilogy, the arrangers were off key, no wonder there is no Sound Test!

  • The Bad News: The SFX at times sound too loud or distorted.
  • The Good News: Some of the sounds have improved, though, like the slashing sfx.

NG1: some incidental event sounds were removed or altered, and a seriously screwed up “Tragic Fate” arrangement.

NG2: there seems to be one incidental sound that lags (comes late). There was also music missing during some cutscenes. Strangely, when Ryu takes a hit in NG2, it sounds like the fart noises in bad Megadrive pirate games.

NG3: Handles sound better than the other two. There are good remixes: Stage 2-2, Stage 4-1, Act 6 scene, and stage 6-2 were my favorites. One that I found terrible was stage 3-1. By the way, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE STAGE 4-2 THEME? The sound effects are still strange, but Ryu’s voice sample has been improved.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is precisely identical, except in NG1, there is one noticeable part in Act 6-3: Temple of Darkness - Hall of Judgment where Ryu has to jump onto a ladder. The player can jump up straight to the next screen - oh well.

NG3: Ryu still “floats.” Running out of time is still a problem in the last Act of NG3 if you survive all the way to the final stages. Surviving is also easier in NG3; the health glitch is fixed (whether that was a glitch or intentional in the first place).

What really helps is the password function that had been removed from the U.S. version.

Overall:

“Getting fight to the point…”

Tecmo improves the graphics in many ways, but at the same time, degrades them. Ninja Gaiden Trilogy features better sound quality, but bad use of samples. The gameplay is identical to each of the installments. Ironically, the third Ninja Gaiden is the best to play of these in the trilogy. Although it is still the blacksheep of the series.

It’s disappointing that there are NO ending credits whatsoever; now we have no one to blame.

So if you have an NES then PLEASE, play the originals.

By the way: In NG3, on Act 7-3B, DON’T enter back through the door you entered - unless you have save states.