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Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword Of Chaos / Ninja Ryukenden 2: Ankoku no Jashin Ken
TM & © 1990 Tecmo, Ltd.
Reviewed by Kitsune Sniper

      As the sequel to 1989's smash hit, Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Gaiden II had a lot to live up to. For a game made and published in 1989, Ninja Gaiden II is one of the venerable NES's best titles, and a quick play can show you why.

      The original game had as its main feature the narration of its story through Cinema Scenes, a feature rarely seen back then, featuring good graphics and a compelling storyline. The sequel starts one year after the original ends, with the appearance of another bad guy that threatens to awaken demons in order to take over the world. But who is Lord Ashtar, and what are his true intentions?

      This time, Ryu has some new abilities up his sleeves [um...like he had any]: He can split up into three beings, and his attacking ability increases when he does. And he gained the ability to climb walls and throw special attacks when he's holding a wall.

      As usual, the game has pretty good gameplay, and the difficulty factor is quite high. On the downside, the game has unlimited continues, which can be rather useful if you plan on beating the game in one sitting. Also, there are some really cheap enemies, like the Eagles and the Mini-dragons, which can swoop down on you repeatedly.

Graphics: 9
      The game has some of the best graphics ever seen in the NES: the cinema scenes are exquisitely drawn, the backgrounds are somewhat dark, but finely detailed, and the enemies are small, yet colorful and well animated.

Music & Sound: 8
      The music seems fitting to the scene that you are on. Especially the one's used on the cinema scenes! All of the game's arrangements are great, but the NES' hardware really makes 'em sound kinda bad, compared to other games.

Overall: 9
      This game can take many of the newer players by surprise. Though the graphics are dated, this game is a great buy.

Special Notes:
      The game was later reissued along with parts one and three under the "Ninja Gaiden Trilogy" collection on the SNES.

A little history:
      I was 10 when I played this game for the first time. I didn't have the ability to beat it then, but I kept renting it, and in 1993, I finally beat it, after struggling for two hours on the last level! Some things that may seem strange to some of us were these two particular screens:

      I'd heard about Nintendo's opinion on video game violence, and was quite surprised to see that much blood [hell, any quantity of blood] on an NES game. Also, the game pulls no punches on the subject of death, having Robert T.S., Ashtar, and others being slain in the screen. I guess that they overlooked that in the censoring revision.