Ninja Gaiden Shadow

Game Boy

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

There's simply not much the Game Boy can do with the action genre. Add a slow processor in with some horrific screen blur, and most of these games end up being impossible simply due to the hardware. Leave it to Tecmo to figure everything out. Obviously based on the NES series, "Ninja Gaiden Shadow" does about everything right and remains one of the most enjoyable experiences on the system.

About the only thing missing from the totally original game in the series are trademark cinematics. No loss. You never really need to know WHY you're hacking away at various enemy types anyway. That's probably the least most important part of this equation. What matters is the gameplay, and this one has plenty of it.

Yes, it's simple. You run right, slowly hacking down the approaching mass of evil one by one. The overall speed is a bit slower than the home versions, but in the end, it's for the better. This is one isn't quite as challenging so the frustration factor this series is known for really isn't a problem. Unlimited continues makes everything more tolerable too.

Ninja Arts are limited in this version as only the fire wheel is available. Power-ups determine how many shots you have left, though you never seem to have enough for those boss fights. Thankfully, most of these have easy to figure out patterns. It's a classic case of replaying levels to learn the layouts.

Ryu Hayabusa appears to be a bit bigger, most obviously due to a lower screen resolution. Details are fairly sparse, but there are some nice background touches. Animation is as fluid as it probably can be. There are rarely more than three sprites on screen at once, which cuts down almost entirely on flicker and slowdown.

Classic gaming music sits nicely behind the action. Stage three has an especially memorable theme. Only the stage intro music and game over themes are repeated from the NES.

If you have found yourself battling the frustration of the NES editions, there's no reason not to track this one down. Not only do you not have the deal with the insane difficulty, it offers what comes to basically the same experience. With great level design and that same classic gameplay, "Ninja Gaiden Shadow" earns a spot with the best the Game Boy has to offer.


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Last updated: Friday, February 25, 2005 05:49 AM