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Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom

Nintendo Entertainment System

Game Description:

There’s nothing like playing the newer generation of classic games (oxymoron?). Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom, which came out in ‘91, is the newest installment of the CLASSIC Ninja Gaiden trilogy. Like any sequel, it features improvements from its predecessors. Unfortunately, though, like some sequels, it fails to bring out the quality that it could have.


Since Ninja Gaiden III, (NG3), came out later, one would expect more out of its graphics. NG3 improves on backgrounds and sprite images, but the illusion of depth was taken away. Now the ground is solid flat, like in Batman. Fortunately, some depth was added by using parallax scrolling (i.e. In Act 2-1, the background of the desert scrolls slower as you progress, kind of like the way the backdrop moves during the running scene of Punch Out!!). Another plus side to NG3’s graphics are its added visual effects: Ryu’s headband moves, & when a boss is defeated there is a quick screen flash. The cinema sense of the series is back, but they’re nothing too special. By this time, several games had already adapted dynamic cutscenes:

  • Batman
  • The Mafat Conspiracy
  • Street Fighter 2010
  • Vice: Project Doom


More improvements have been added to the sfx. Ryu yells when he swings, and an added “clang” of the sword is heard when striking something impenetrable.

The music seems to suffer from bad sound programming. The compositions in themselves are admirable, yet don’t sound as pleasant as they should. Take the boss music, (the reused “Battlefield” theme from the previous two) could have been done better. The “Death” music sounds equally as strange. The cinematic songs are just as striking (and similar) as before.


In Ninja Gaiden, Ryu had the ability to cling and jump off obstructions; in Ninja Gaiden II, Ryu is able to climb obstructions (like Spiderman); and in Ninja Gaiden III, Ryu can clasp bars (just like in the Arcade game!), as well as other similar objects. A remedy to an annoying problem in Ninja Gaiden II is fixed by allowing the player, when scaling a wall, to jump straight onto the top by pressing Forward + Jump.

NG3 takes away the best element: the shadow ninjas. The game tries to make up for it by adding a “blade” extension, giving it that Strider feel, which is quite nifty but doesn’t “follow Ryu around” between levels like the shadow ninjas do. The player will need the blade, too. It helps significantly during some of the climactic parts, which is another issue: NG3 has too many spikes in difficulty. They happen quite frequently and start relatively early.

The physics are a little strange: Ryu is a feather weight. When he jumps, he floats longer than usual. This can be pretty good sometimes. Ryu can make longer jumps that would normally seem impossible, and it keeps the player from falling too quickly during the vertically-scrolling areas. Yet, it causes trouble when the player needs to land quickly, which happens quite often when enemies knock you off ledges and small platforms in Stage 3-1. Watch carefully and you’ll see Ryu get hit, land on a platform, and bounce off of it!


Whoever wrote this must have quit halfway through the making, because the storyline starts out strong in the intro, with as much creativity as its predecessors. But somewhere, halfway through the game, the storyline crashed… like our economy! The game’s story is then cliché, comparable to the average videogame story, where the hero must save the world, and he is their only hope, or where the hero’s friend is really… never mind, I won’t spoil that one.


A true Tecmo hardcore Ninja Gaiden guru will love this title and see it as a challenge. The rest of us will either give up hopelessly or continue trying against hope when all seems lost, finally finding luck with fate somehow and crawling out alive with one hit point left and no lives.

NG3, by far, offers the hardest difficulty - it does not include unlimited continues this time! Those a-holes! However, unlike the final bosses of the previous series, when the player loses and still has lives left, poor Ryu does not get sent back to the beginning of the entire Act.


Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom, succeeds its predecessors in graphical effects (but not overall graphics) & difficulty. Ninja Gaiden III also ranks 3rd in the trilogy, which is not a bad thing when looking at how high the pedestal is for this series.

Tecmo disappoints us by including a “bug” in the North American version - the player takes more damage than usual compared to other ports.

Tecmo disappoints us again by not including a password feature that had been added to the Japanese version!

Tecmo disappoints us all once more by not including a soundtrack mode! If you’re really into Ninja Gaiden music, though, go to here. You’ll need Notso Fatso for Winamp.

Also, if you have a SNES, you might want to check out Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, offering all three of the these exciting ninja adventures!

Translation Description:

The translation of Ninja Gaiden III to Arabic for NES. Proudly presented for Arabic speakers residents by Hisoka.

Translation : 100%

ROM / ISO Information:

  • No-Intro Name: Ninja Gaiden III - The Ancient Ship of Doom (USA)
  • (No-Intro version 20130731-235630)
  • File SHA-1: 3F2E6DAC76BA14EFC177B5653AB043E53A04D365
  • ROM SHA-1: 503B64A28E0EAD2EE7312A46A4646B334A899846


Screenshots: Patch Patch Patch Images


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