Reviewed by Charlie Duke
May 31st 2004

Introduction:Action games were popular very recently with games like Devil May Cry and it's sequel. Team Ninja has been working on its action title for a while now and what better time could it be released but now. Stock up on throwing disks and practice your gymnastics because Ninja Gaiden is back!

The Game:The first thing you are going to notice from the start are the easy controls. With a couple of random taps you're pulling off flowing combos and looking like a master (apart from when you die of course). Of course, you will need to learn the combos and their effectiveness, as random taps will not save you in later situations. You will undoubtedly also realise that your movement is not restricted. Everything is interactive , like running across walls and swinging on branches. This provides great fun and allows you to pull off some sweet combos in battle. But this does not mean that battle is easy, no, not in the slightest. The action is very fast - paced and with one wrong move, you can end up in a world of pain - especially when you're surrounded by ten zombies who all want a bite. However, this game does not require the mashing of buttons it's more about precision. You won't have to worry so much i f you do combos correctly and avoid the enemies ' attacks. This game is also great because of the strategies you have to employ . Each enemy has a different way of attacking, so, simply charging in won't work as well as learning the way they move and then adapting to that.

Ninja Gaiden is very fun to play over and over again. For the average gamer it will take 15-20 hours to complete it the first time. You will then most likely play it through again finding all the secrets and unlocking everything. See, in the game, you collect scarabs which when given to the game shops can unlock weapons, items even... no I won't spoil it for you. There are also 3 difficulties - so when you're feeling suicidal you can take very hard mode for a spin.

The only gripe I have with this game, and others in the action genre, is that it can seem repetitive as it is just beating enemies up and the odd platform jumping session. But don't let this ruin your play, it definitely didn't ruin mine. This is a great game and will provide a challenging and rewarding experience.

Graphics & Sound:Ninja Gaiden boasts the best graphics ever seen on a console in my opinion. The character models are slick and life - like, and the texture hardly ever repeats creating an interesting world to look a round rather than just a wish - wash of drab colours. The locations that appear in each chapter range from ice caverns to the demon realm, all with a unique feel and a fitting music score. The sound effects are great providing the feel of contact with the enemy and not overdoing either, it's just right. This game is truly an adventure for your ears and eyes.

Innovation:Ninja Gaiden is Devil May Cry with ninjas so on the surface it seems like there is nothing new. The construction of the worlds are innovative which, in turn, provide for some excellent fun and different arenas to fight in. You will be engaging the enemy in narrow passages, large open halls and even on top of an airship. It's an around - the - world tour in your XBox!

Games like this are all about depth and this game has been so fine - tune d that everything is near perfect and suits most gamers. What a great achievement for the development team (Team Ninja).

Mojo:This game is cooler than ice cream stored in a fridge on Pluto. It look cools, it plays cool, it sounds cool. This game is a sweet ride for the senses , providing hours of fun and flowing combos. The mojo is in bucket loads here, once you have it you can't turn to another action game without crying in disappointment.

Lowdown:Ninja Gaiden is everything you could want from an action game and more. The repetitions in gameplay can be slightly annoying and the difficulty could put you off but don't let it. Buy a copy, no, buy two copies so you can hang one on your wall.

Gameplay: 10, Graphics/Sound: 10, Innovation: 9, Mojo: 10. Final: 10


  • Increasing skills and new weapons. As you progress through the game your skills will be rewarded with new weapons to fight your opponents and the better you beat your enemies the better you will become, unlocking new combinations and skills. Wit and skill are also rewarded as the way you play and decisions you make affect the weapons and skills you can acquire.
  • Amazing next-generation visual effects. Gamers witness an amazing level of detail as they take on their opponents in a variety of environments. You'll hear the swords slicing the air and jump as gouts of blood pulse out from vanquished enemies. Beautifully rendered graphics, amazing effects and realistic combat bring Ninja Gaiden to life.
  • Multiple modes. In addition to the main Story Mode, gamers can enjoy a series of mini-games which can be completed in a shorter time. Gamers that clear Ninja Gaiden's Story Mode will unlock a hidden mode
  • Twenty challenging levels to complete. Your ninja skills will be put to the ultimate test as you battle through twenty levels in your mission to avenge your family.
  • Continual gameplay. Once you embark on your role as a ninja hero you never have to stop - the Xbox allows you to quit the game at any time and re-start at the very same point.

Ninja Gaiden
March 2004