Reviewed by Tinnanski | 11.16.05

Introduction:Ninja Gaiden didn't really need to be re-tooled and re-released because it's already one of the best games to be released for the Xbox console. Neverless, Ryu Hayabusa is back in black with more content and action then before. Tecmo has done the impossible and made this game better. It's beautiful thing!

The Game: All you need to do is ask any Xbox owner and the will sing the praises of a two games, Halo 2 and Ninja Gaiden. Both games have showcased the system like no other. Both these titles went head to head for 2004's game of the year, but overall Halo 2 came out the winner. Not to take anything away from Ninja Gaiden because it snagged our Best Action Game of 2004 award. Ninja Gaiden has returned this year with it's swords drawn and once again looks for the GOTY crown, this time with the updated, bigger and badder Ninja Gaiden: Black.

If you played the original you would know Ninja Gaiden was a tough damn game! Well guess what? Now it's even harder! Team Ninja must think we are all real ninja's because the boosted this puppy up a few notches. The "Master Ninja" mode makes the game almost impossible, but I'm sure gamers are up to the challenge. In Master Ninja it only takes three or four hits from the enemy to die! You know how fast these guys can be and I think we can all agree, that's a challenge. For the untalented ninja, kind of like myself you will be happy you can play on "Ninja Dog". Ninja Dog is an easier setting which isn't really easy, but easier then normal. This mode isn't unlocked at first, after you die a bunch of times it will pop up and then you can go on fighting with no self esteem like a dog! Geez, what has the world of gaming come to. Ninja Gaiden: Black is the perfect game for those gamers who love a challenging experience. If you can handle it, Tecmo will dish it out.

Gamers who have already completed the first edition of the game will still find some some enjoyment out of Ninja Gaiden Black. Like I mentioned it's tougher, but it also moved around the enemies and has added some new rewards, and has some new mission modes to try. For missions Gaiden hits up around the 50 mark of multi tiered levels. Yes there is so much and Yes, it's almost impossible to beat some of these levels. So go run around with your new weapons and have fun testing your skills because if you can conquer this game you are a master. If you want to brag Ninja Gaiden Black supports the old mighty leader board, so you can gloat to all your friends. and who wouldn't.

If you are new to Ninja Gaiden, I'm sure you are either excited or scared of the level of difficulty. Well yes, I won't lie this will challenge you but it's extremely rewarding. The storyline along with it's excellent gameplay is pretty good tale of Ninja recycling. Ryu Hayabusa is the watcher of a mighty ancient sword of evil power called the Dark Dragon Blade. As you can suspect the Evil Sword falls into the wrong hands of a warrior called Doku. No, it's not the same guy as in Star Wars! Although they both have an evil streak, this Doku has stolen the Dragon Blade and destroyed the Hayabusa village. Enter player as Ryu and you begin your quest of vengeance for his fallen people and to regain evil Dark Dragon Blade. You don't have to worry about Ryu because he is quite skilled in the right hands and he carries a powerful sword named, the Dragon Sword. The Dragon Sword has the power of light forged into its blade. This classic story of revenge works well in the games beautiful surroundings and you will be pulled in like many others as you roll through the countryside.

Also included in Ninja Gaiden Black is the original classic Ninja Gaiden from the early 80s. Although there is one major problem with this .. The mission mode and the classic Ninja Gaiden game have to be unlocked! (You're not going to like this next part) The way you unlock these two features is by beating the game! ouch! Yes that is right! Talk about devious! Both these two features are enough to purchase the game, but if you're not up to the challenge you might want to hold off. All the other content on the disc can be downloaded via Xbox Live as the Hurricane Pack. It seems Tecmo has pulled a fast one over our eyes in that aspect, and I'm sure some gamers aren't too to happy about this.

In all other aspects the game has been kept par the original. The graphics and sound remain at their outstanding high standard. They have thrown in some new cinematic's which is nice and will give old players one more reason to play. It's a wonder why the first game wasn't like this "Black" edition. It's nice to see this game surface and maybe hit a few new gamers hands. Even though this game fundamentally is a year old, it still holds it's own going into the next generation of gaming.

Lowdown:Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden: Black will test your reflexes like no other game. This new edition is 100% worth your money at it's low price. Gamers who already own the original without Xbox Live, this will also be a sure thing just for the Hurricane pack add-on. Just beware that you have to run through the game to unlock the new mission modes, but if you're a big fan, you will probably welcome the idea. Overall the final product. is pretty unbelievable! And if you haven't tired it yet, now is the time.

Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 10, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 8. Final: 9 / 10


  • Karma scores can be uploaded to the online leader boards via Xbox Live
  • Increased Levels of Difficulty: Five levels of difficulty for all kinds of gamers including "Ninja Dog" to "Very Difficult Master Ninja"
  • Increased Action-Packed Missions: Play in Story mode or Mission Mode with a massive number of missions to complete, including traditional enemy battles, time challenges, boss battles and more!
  • Challenging Hurricane Packs Content: Content such as new enemies and big, bad bosses from Hurricane Packs 1&2 included as special bonus for an extra ninja challenge.
  • Never-Before-Seen Content: New cinematic cut scenes that reveal secrets from the world of Ninja Gaiden.
  • Jaw-dropping Sounds and Graphics: Stunning graphics and incredible sounds as you would expect from Tecmo's esteemed development team, Team NINJA
  • Colossal Amounts of Bonus Content: Hidden unlockable's including the original arcade version of Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Ryukenden, available for the first time on a video game console in Ninja Gaiden: BLACK.

Ninja Gaiden:

Team Ninja
Sept 2005