It’s ninja day here on the Backlog Odyssey, so let’s talk about the greatest ninja of all, Ryu Hayabusa!!
Dragon Ninja Wednesday
Happy hump-day afternoon backloggers!! That always sounds so weird, I’m not sure why I keep saying it. Anyways, since I’m still in the thralls of Vambrace: Cold Soul with not too much more to say than that at this point, I thought it would be fun to do something a little different. Well, different than just your standard “backlog update” that is.
So, today I want to talk about a gaming series that has tortured me since my youth with its difficulty and one that I keep coming back to when there’s new ones to play, Ninja Gaiden!! Honestly, I don’t know what it is with my obsession with challenging games. I must love failing hundreds of times before succeeding or something! But, personally, I have a bit of a rocky history with the Ninja Gaiden series. Not in a “love/hate” way or anything, just that I’ve had limited experience playing the original three. With Ninja Gaiden II being my first point of contact for a long time!
I remember being blown away that I could cling to walls, throw shurikens and dash around as a badass ninja! What more could a pre-teen want?! Then, when the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy was released on the SNES, I was finally able to play all three. It was also nice that this collection gave us a set of remastered games, similar to how Nintendo remastered the first three Mario games when they released Super Mario All-Stars. It may not have been the best version of those games since they were known to suffer from performance issues, but it was a great way for me to experience them! Especially since at that time, I was all in with the SNES. To this day, I’ve not beaten any of the original three, but I intend to fix that one day!! The first step is getting them in my collection though. Well, except for Ninja Gaiden II, I already have that one.
Now For the Real Pain
For many years, the original three Ninja Gaiden have always been at the back of my mind. So, when I happened to run across Ninja Gaiden II, there was no question I needed to pick it up, with the idea that one day, I’d try to acquire all three. They were great games after all. But if I was to attribute my obsession with the series to one game, I’m not sure if I’d pick one of the original three. No, instead, I would probably land within the trilogy that re-imagined Ryu Hayabusa’s story. Specifically the game that started development in 1999 for the Dreamcast and eventually made its way to the Xbox as an exclusive, Ninja Gaiden! It has the same name as the NES game, so it’s sometimes hard to Google.
Unfortunately, I never got my hands on the original Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox, nor did I play the enhanced version Ninja Gaiden Black that added the infamous Master Ninja mode. I did however, jump in when Ninja Gaiden Sigma was released on the PlayStation 3! Which further enhanced the game by adding new enemies and some new modes. Although Black may be considered the definitive version of the original game (even its director Itagaki agrees), Sigma solidified my love for this new “hard as nails” approach! And to this day, I’m still in love with the over-the-top action and fluid combat! And it’s legacy lived on in Sigma 2 then eventually Ninja Gaiden 3: Razors Edge. Now I just need to go back and replay the original NES games as well as Ninja Gaiden Black. Then I think I’ll be satisfied and I’ll finally be able to call myself a real Ninpo-Master!
Oh, and I almost forgot about Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z! Which looks super fun and even more over the top (it features zombies!), but I’m not quite sure if it would be considered “Gaiden Canon”. That’s fine with me though, because all I want to do it hack and slash some zombies, ninja style!!
Day One Hundred and Thirty Five
Well my friends, I think that’ll do it for today!! The more I talk about Ninja Gaiden the more I really want to bust out my NES and playthrough them again. Which means, now I’m going to obsess over trying to find a way to add them to my collection! I also really have to go back and play Ninja Gaiden Black too! You know what? Maybe after I’m done with my Metroidvania stint, I’ll try to find a way to make that happen!!
Until tomorrow folks, have a great rest of your hump day!! Dang it! I did it again!!
Vambrace: Cold Soul (Steam)
Marenian Tavern Story: Patty and the Hungry God (Nintendo Switch)
Total Backlogged Games: 728 …number of imaginary ninja stars thrown around my work desk today!
Total Completed Games: 40 …number of questionable looks I’ve received from my coworkers… they probably felt my awesome ninja powers!
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