I’ve never understood the appreciation for these games beyond anything other than it featuring a ninja (oh, and I guess these days the series is known for comically sized breasts and when you twitch the controller the female characters breasts bounce around accordingly because I GUESS THE JAPANESE HAVE PRIORITIES). I remember renting all three of these games and I remember actually actively hating them after failing to get through certain levels after innumerable tries. Arguably, the game might not have been for children but this was certainly an era where pretty much all games were for children. But I rented it, as a child, probably specifically because you could be a ninja and chop shit with swords. It wouldn’t be until Tenchu that I’d really get to scratch that ninja itch (albeit with equally ridiculous plot).
But I have to confess, I’m a little torn. I have never had the patience for games that are hard simply for the sake of being hard. I’m not that guy. I like to take games slowly and check out the scenery. In RTS games I usually turtle a bit (or a lot, depending on the series and what it’ll let me accomplish). I will grind enemies for money or resources in an RPG style game. So Ninja Gaiden, a game where you plow through waves of enemies and do a lot of insane and, by necessity, precise platforming just isn’t my thing. I just don’t derive my gaming pleasure from the self-satisfaction of defeating wave after wave of insane enemies unless I get some sort of delicious reward (like, say, the graphic novel cutscenes of Max Payne [or maybe loot and dollars like Torchlight/Borderlands/Neverwinter Nights/whatever]). Ninja Gaiden doesn’t really offer me that story reward because I think it’s plot is stupid, and maybe I’ll find a health potion but who cares.
BUT, on the other hand, apparently Ninja Gaiden was one of the first games to feature cutscene style backstory. It might have been ahead of it’s time. And sure, I guess the dialogue was super shitty and it was basically like “save your blonde girlfriend, man.”, but it’s still neat that it blazed a trail and was as popular as it was.
Anyway… I tried to appreciate these games with fresh eyes but I just couldn’t do it. I died in very familiar places. Like in Ninja Gaiden II when you’re on that train and there’s fucking football player guys with guns and these fucking birds are divebombing you (fucking birds, man). I hated it then, and I hate it now. It’s not even about chops. It’s about patience. Just like how I usually roll my eyes when someone tells me something is an “acquired taste”, I hate the idea of having to work at a game before I find it enjoyable. This is probably why people hate Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer when they first start. It’s all bombs from the air and snipers with bullshit scopes and you’re out there with your fucking goober gun and warm blood. Except when I play a game like MW2, my hard work means that I’ll eventually be turning the tide and be the one hosing people down. In Ninja Gaiden, my hard work means that I get another punishly difficult level that I need to memorize so that muscle memory gets me through it.
Anyway, I’m sorry if I’m shitting on your favorite game. It’s probably great if you either like masochism or, these days, watching breasts rise and fall to the touch of invisible hands (enjoy that one, though, because I guess if that’s what you’re into you probably won’t be touching many actual breasts).