I got my copy of Ninja Gaiden II last week and dropped it into my XBox 360 with every intention of playing through the game and writing up a thorough review. I played the original Ninja Gaiden games way back on the NES, but I never got around to playing the first XBox version. So this would be my first foray into the 3D world of Itagaki’s slice and dice hero, aside from Ryu’s appearances in Dead or Alive, and I was looking forward to it. My non-review follows after the jump.
Everything started swimmingly. I was hacking, chopping, and dicing my enemies with wild abandon. I even managed to get some good blocks in and learned to run across walls and slide to dodge attacks. The scroll system and save system were working splendidly, and I was having a great time. And then I ran into the first frakking enormous spider dude. He killed me pretty quickly, but I wasn’t worried. I’d heard stories passed down through the annals of geekdom about how crazily difficult Ninja Gaiden bosses could be, so I figured it would just take me a few tries to bypass this one. That turned out to be mostly true, as I eventually used my ninpo magic to deep fry his multilegged ass, and I was on to level two.
The achievements were coming pretty easily as I mastered all the various moves and attacks that were presented to me, and the pace picked up again as I barreled through the next level full of wicked ninja weaklings. I cackled with menace (silently, I promise) as I chopped off arms, legs, and heads, and was back in the groove of things. Then I found a bow and arrow and got all excited about the prospect of ninja-sniping later in the level.
And then I fell into the big round room with not only the second boss but a whole mess of underlings as well.
No sweat, thinks I, as I try my ninpo awesomeness again. But wait, what’s this? I’m dying! Oh no, I’m dead! The big spider dude (wait, didn’t I already kill him?) has trounced me again. Fortified by my previous experience, I nevertheless was becoming a little frustrated with the boss fights. I persevered, though, and I eventually made it through and on to the rest of level two. That’s when disaster struck.
I made it to the end of the level and to the showdown with big boss. Before I could even think about taking a swing, he unleashed an unholy combo on me that I can only compare to the butt-whipping I got from the utterly unfair cyber-Katsumi in Itagaki’s other big 360 release, Dead or Alive 4. When I say I got trounced, I mean I was on the floor with “GAME OVER” across the screen in my vented ninja blood within ten seconds of the start of the fight. He stopped my progress as surely as a ninja-fied Gandalf with claws telling me, “You shall not pass!”
Not one to give up, I tried again. And again. And again. I actually managed to get the boss down to about half of his life before he killed me the last time. But when I fell that time, the tell-tale sign of gamer frustration struck. I watched in horror as my $50 wireless controller sailed out of my hands to bounce across my thankfully carpeted floor. I’m normally a level headed gamer, so when I get to the point of throwing my controller, I know I’ve met my match. I calmly made sure my controller was intact (it was) and extracted the disc from the 360, quickly and safely packing it back into the Gamefly sleeve for its trip back to the distribution center.
So this, gentle reader, is why I have no real review of Ninja Gaiden II for you. It will have to suffice for me to say that the game is fun–a LOT of fun, in fact. The mechanics all work very well, and the controls are awesome for pulling off those insanely fast moves ninjas like to pull when they flip out and kill people. I did have some issues with the camera getting blocked and occasionally swinging around wildly, as I’ve read some other people have had as well. The levels I got to play were well paced and structured, and the run-of-the-mill enemies were just about the right level of difficulty to provide a challenge without utterly crippling me. The bosses, though… Let’s just say they’re an entirely different experience than the rest of the levels.
There you have it: I suck at Ninja Gaiden, which looks like it would be a fantastic game if I could make it past level two.
Dude, let me just tell you that you’re not alone on this one. I own Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, and Genshin(The guy that you gave up against) is actually one of the toughest bosses in the entire game, even at early stages. I actually got my ass kicked about 5 times before I got him. But 2 things. One, Genshin may be tough, but once you get to later levels, it gets easier. In the New York level(Level 3, I think), you fight the Lightning Greater Fiend, Alexei, and despite his teleporting and his electrofied tornadoes, I killed him in one try without even using a health potion. Now, keep in mind that I used the same weapon (Dragon Sword) and spammed the same attack (Flying Swallow) over and over again until he died. Genshin also gets easier as the game progresses, if the only proof being that you get used to his fighting style quickly. Although, when I fought him the second time in level ten I think (It’s the one where you’re in a giant airship) Genshin still killed me once, but I beat him on my second try and Genshin, aside from doing slightly more damage, hadn’t changed at all. Another easy boss that comes up later in the game is the Ruler of Storms, Volf. His big, muscular body gives the impression that he’s a power attacker, and that’s basically what he is. Against him, I just did the same thing that I did against Alexei and I actually beat him with even less difficulty than Alexei. My point is, there are a lot of tough bosses throughout both versions of Ninja Gaiden 2, but they get easier after you beat level 2. Once you beat Genshin, everything is smooth sailing right up until you fight the Blood queen (Forgot her name) in either level 12 or 13 (you may want to look at a walkthrough for all level listings because I can’t give you an accurate representation).
Point number 2 is a strategy on how to beat Genshin. I honestly have no way of knowing whether you’re going to play Ninja Gaiden 2 or Sigma 2, but I’m giving you this info just in case you decide to pick up the Dragon Sword once again. You see, Genshin, throughout the entire game, relies on dashes, quick slashes, and will occassionally use The art of the Piercing void (Black Ninpo which takes out a lot of your health). All you have to do is keep moving (Not blocking, moving) until he stops to take a breather. After the art of the piercing void, he takes a bit of time to rest. Use that time to use the Flying swallow to hit him hard and fast. You’ll only have enough time to use it once, using it more than once will leave you wide open to attack, and any other combo will get you beaten more often than not, but watching for the art of the piercing void, dodging it, then using the flying swallow will give you a win in about 5 minutes. Genshin gets harder on later difficulties because he’s used to your moves, but you use that to your advantage. In later levels, you feign a combo by doing a quick slash against him. That’ll force him into either dodging or using the art of the piercing void again. Either way, that’ll allow you to hit him where it hurts with the flying swallow. The flying swallow does less damage during the second fight against Genshin, but it will still cause a good amount of damage. But this strategy only works if you use a single slash rather than an entire combo. Also, both strategies only work if you’re using the Dragon Sword. The Dragon claw and tiger fang works, too. Actually, since that particular weapon restricts you to using just one flying swallow instead of 3 consecutive flying swallows with a fully upgraded Dragon Sword, it may be even better against Genshin. It’s also noteworthy that you can beat him with this strategy using any weapon that allows the flying swallow (I think the Falcon Talons allow the Flying Swallow, as well, but I’m not sure on that one).
Again, I have no way of knowing if you’re ever going to play Ninja Gaiden 2 again, or if you’re already playing it. I’m just giving some helpful advice because, trust me, Genshin was tough as hell for me, too. This entire comment is just to act as a guide and as an encouragement for you. I hope you read this thoroughly and memorize the strategy before you try it out.
I thank you for the time you’ve spent reading this long comment, and I hope you have better luck in your next try.