May 13, 2008 - Microsoft trucked out Ninja Gaiden 2 for one last public showing in advance of its June 3 release at its Spring Showcase event. With the game on shelves in just a few weeks, new details were slim but we did squeeze some info on downloadable content out of Itagaki and company. Plus we got to slice and dice a few more members of the Black Spider clan on a never before seen stage, which is always a bloody good time.
With the recent announcement that alternate costumes would be put up for sale on the Xbox Live Marketplace, many were left wondering what that meant as far as content on the disc goes. Unfortunately, it's a look at what's to come. Itagaki told us that only a handful of extra costumes would be on the disc and that they would all simply be color variations of the first. These will be unlocked as you play through the game. Any costumes that look structurally different will have to be purchased and downloaded, though Itagaki was quick to...
Ninja Gaiden II launch trailer, gamer pics, and theme
May 13, 2008
Check out the Xbox Live Marketplace to get the Ninja Gaiden II gamer pics (100 MS points) and the Ninja Gaiden II theme (150 MS points). And be sure to check back on May 20th for some more PDLC.
Ninja Gaiden II: Friends & Fiends, Part 3 (IGN)
May 9, 2008
A wizened old shopkeeper, there is more to him than meets the eye. Knowledgeable in weapons new and old, from both East and West, he provides invaluable information for Ryu Hayabusa on his travels. His shops are oases, providing both items and weapon upgrades.
One of the Four Greater Fiends, and Ruler of Lightning, his hatred of humankind knows no bounds. He has taken the city of New York in his evil grasp and waits perched upon the Statue of Liberty, challenging Ryu Hayabusa to come and face him.
One of the four Greater Fiends and Ruler of Flame, Zedonius has nothing but contempt for human life. He has descended upon the capital of a once-great military superpower, threatening all humankind with an ultimatum: submit to the will of the Fiends or be burned by infernal flames. Ryu must ascend the city's clocktower to put an end to his fearsome reign.
Microsoft has released tons of images and videos from Ninja Gaiden 2 today, revealing different staffs and maps from the game in horribly compressed videos. Update: Information and image of upcoming DLC added
Microsoft has through the XCN announced that a costume will be available for 39 000 gamers. Press release: Inspired by the Hayabusa family's namesake, the falcon, this demonic costume mirrors the intensity of Ryu's vengeance and fury as he fights to regain the honor of his clan. It's almost as if he's been transformed into a Fiend by the evil powers of the underworld with this costume – but retains all the honor of the Hayabusa Ninja Clan."
Starting July 2008, Xbox Live members worldwide will be able to download 3 unique Hayabusa costume packs for 200 MS points each to use in Ninja Gaiden II. Each costume pack is a completely new and never before seen look for our Ninja hero, Ryu Hayabusa.
The first of the 3 costume pack designs is being revealed today. This will be exclusively available in selected countries to 39,000 gamers on launch day as part of pre-sale or launch promotions with specific retail partners. Look for more details on other two designs and specific country promotions to be revealed in the coming weeks. Go to xbox.com/ng2 or your favorite retailer to pre-order Ninja Gaiden II today!
Ruler of Storms and one of the Four Greater Fiends, Volf is a vicious warrior who seeks an opponent worthy of himself. His Lycanthrope underlings have taken over the canal-lined streets of the tranquil Aqua Capital as he sits in his throne in the castle above. Will Ryu prove to be a fitting adversary?
The father of Ryu Hayabusa, Joe has returned from training in distant lands to resume his duties as the leader of the Hayabusa Ninja Clan, only to be injured in one of his many battles against the forces of evil. He lays in rest at his home in the Castle of the Dragon, unaware that the evil shadow of the Black Spider Clan slowly descends upon his village.
May 5, 2008 - Ninja Gaiden II hits stores in less than a month. When June 3 arrives, hundreds of thousands will experience the continuing adventures of Ryu Hayabusa. But what crazy allies and enemies will Ryu meet along the way?
Team Ninja's latest splatterfest brings back a few familiar faces along with many new friends and fiends. This week, IGN brings a three-part series revealing seven of the new characters. Some will be allies assisting Ryu on his quest. Most will be enemies, looking to separate Ryu's head from the rest of his body.
Vigoorian Flails work differently then in the previous version.
There are 8 main weapons to work with.
Path of the Acolyte will be very easy, but still be enjoyable.
The Fiend's Bane Bow can be charged, but the game is very fast already, so you can fire noncharged shots very quickly too.
People tend to have the wrong idea of an action game where enemies are punching bags rather then actual enemies. That's just stupid.
The military starts to experiment with bioweapons and fuses humans with mummies and such to give them partially immortality. Those bioweapons are needed for the ultimate weapon. They are called CIWS (Close Defense Weapon System), but I can't say more without revealing spoilers.
Eclipse Scythe's early level 1 movements were very harsh, but we've made it more harsh then ever with the new added moves in the higher levels. This will go with all weapons in this game. Every weapon has it's own way of fighting and they become more clear the higher their levels are. We also upgraded the Shuriken from what it usually was. Instead of throwing 4 Shurikens in a row, it's 5 now. It's a minor change, but might become useful.
The Gatling Speargun is still very useful in water, but it becomes more useful on land now.
The water is made more interesting.
Actual waves of water affect your way of walking on it.
Gaja, the longtailed bone fiends you could find in the GDC demo, are amphibious, they can swim in the water.
They swim like snakes. If you make movement in water, the waves actually make them move differently.
In Helena's ending you see someone die by Ryu's dark Ninpo, that Ninpo will be in this game. That was not Victor Donova by the way, it was just a junior Executive. Donovan still lives and the story WILL continue. Donovan is much more ugly then the guy who died.
Art of the Pheonix Fire is an upgraded version of Art of the Firewheels.
Instead of the fires flying closely around Ryu, the fires take the forms of falcons and fly much longer around Ryu, and a bit further to make it more usful.
Recovery items are now in little powders. I thought it was stupid to have bottles of healing postions everywhere. "This time, Ryu uses drugs to heal" he said while laughing.
Armlets are discontinued. Ryu pretty much has all armlets on at the same time now.
This game will be an art of action, which is a good thing. Some games make you get tired of fighting, but not this game.
Every place gets decorated with your vengeance. You can always come back acd see all the dead bodies lying everywhere.
Continuity was put with Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, which is what makes that game exciting. But the game wasn't made to appeal to the hardcore fans, but to introduce people to the franchise, seeing how it's much more approachable.
We gave names to useful moves. Guard an attack and dash will make you dash with an after image, that move's called "Kingdom". A continuous wallrun is called "Shadowless Footsteps". You can do this anytime, but you get scrolls explaining how to do it. Those scrolls have videos to show what they are.
There are lots of enemies in this game. The Black Spider Ninjas from the previous game return, so no need to talk about them anymore. Alexia and the Werewolves are still a bit unpolished. Sonia is a Tomboyish Heroine. She kinda has the role of Ayane in the last game.
Some americans were able to finish the beta version in 15 hours, We're still adjusting that. The time playing is supposed to be huge.
Each weapons are useful now.
Dragon Sword is still the balanced weapon.
In the end of the game you'll have weapons for each situation.
People can compete in Master Ninja Tournaments.
DLC will be in the game.
The Demo will come mid May.
Ninja Gaiden II Environment Showcase #1
April 24, 2008
After being tipped off from Sonia about trouble in his hometown, Ryu heads back to Hayabusa Village in the traditional Japanese countryside, near the base of Mount Fuji. This video focuses on the last section of the chapter, inside Ryu's family's castle, which is under attack from the rival Black Spider Ninja Clan. Inside the castle, the architecture is classic Japanese with beautiful wood-carving details, painted screen doors, precious Japanese artwork and a two-story dragon statue. It's a shame that such beauty and history will be destroyed as Ryu battles to retain his family honor and prevent the resurrection of the...
The official Ninja Gaiden Homepage has been updated. Now you can view short clips of all of the weapons in action anc create your very own wallpaper. You can also play a mini-game for a chance to win an Elite Xbox 360. Do you dare to challenge me (username: Keylay). Watch the site, as a screensaver for Ninja Gaiden II will be released soon. And if you have a facebook, be sure to add the Ninja Gaiden II application.
April 10, 2008 - Recently, we received a preview build of Ninja Gaiden II which included the first six chapters in the epic sequel to the Team Ninja action slash-em-up. Though the six chapters are a little rough, they give a good sense of what we can expect from Ninja Gaiden II when it ships June 3. We asked what you wanted to know about NG2 and we received a good number of questions. While we can't answer everything, below you'll find a hefty amount of info about one of this year's most anticipated games.
There are only two difficulties available the first time you boot up Ninja Gaiden II: Path of the Acolyte and Path of the Warrior. We know of two other difficulties (Path of the Mentor and Path of the Master Ninja), which unlock when you beat the earlier difficulties. Because we don't have the complete game, we can't unlock the harder difficulties. However, playing...
To most, Ninja Gaiden is the hardest game to come out in recent memory — and that's not a hyperbolic statement. Ninja Gaiden was so incredibly difficult that many of the gamers who purchased the title were unable to get past the first level on the easiest difficulty, let alone beat the entire game. Completing Ninja Gaiden on its hardest difficulty level was the sign of a true gaming master. Even after sparking two remakes that lowered the excruciating difficulty level and gave the game an Easy mode, Ninja Gaiden is still remembered (perhaps not quite fondly) as a game that made even the hardcore gamers cry.
Beyond its challenging gameplay, Ninja Gaiden was also remembered as an excellent title that blended Prince of Persia -style acrobatics with a deep and involved combat system to create one of the finest action games of the last generation. It should come as no surprise that Team Ninja has put all of their skill into making...
Our Ninja Gaiden week is slowly drawing to a close. Don't forget to check in tomorrow for a chance to win an Xbox 360 signed by Tomonobu Itagaki. The final feature of the week is dedicated to our overall impressions. We've been playing Ninja Gaiden II for a good few weeks now and we've gone through the code more than once. On varying difficulty levels too! Who wants to touch us?
The Dragon Sword is as quick and deadly as it was in NG1. We didn't notice a lot of new combos, but certainly there are some refined animations. The Dragon Sword is a great default -- the kind of weapon you can power up and use from start to finish. And there is a "Level 4" upgrade available, meaning that once again you can have the True Dragon Sword. There are several Ultimate Technique moves this time around. Our favorite is performed by doing a half-circle + Y. Hold and you get a tornado of blades slicing enemies from bottom to top.
These are the money weapons. Though they have no range whatsoever, Falcon's Talons are probably the fastest weapons in NG2. You get to be Wolverine with six claws on your hands, but also claws on your feet. And when fully upgraded, this potent weapon is gold accented. Imagine if Elvis and Wolverine had a baby... a very angry baby. The Falcon's Talons have some of the coolest-looking combos in NG2. One has you spiraling feet first in an acrobatic move that can overpower enemies. Run up a wall and tap Y and instead of dropping straight down for an attack, you do a slick-looking diagonal slash. Clearly the weapon...
You remember these from the last Ninja Gaiden, don't you? Nothing has really changed this time around. Once again, you can tap B repeatedly to toss out shurikens that can break a foe's combos or do a bit of damage. Just be warned -- shurikens do less damage this time around, so don't think they will be much use for taking down enemies. Not even the ninja dogs.
Fiend's Bane Bow
The bow is greatly improved from the last iteration. You can now successfully shoot on the run, without having to stop and aim. Of course, if you want, you can go into first-person mode for more precise aiming. Hold B to charge the bow. On maximum charge, you can decapitate most fiends with a single shot. The bow, once a rarely used weapon, has become one of the most powerful items in Ninja Gaiden II.
You get these fairly early on and they are a big help. These are in limited supply and, as with NG1, stick into enemies and explode. You can hold down B to charge the attack and toss a volley of incendiary shurikens for some serious damage. This is an effective tactic against slow-moving bosses.
Gatling Spear Gun
The spear gun from NG1 has been completely re-imagined. In its current form (which may change before Ninja Gaiden II is released), it fires an unlimited supply of explosive spears. This powerful display actually does very little damage, but looks unbelievably cool. To balance the rapid-fire (and explosive) nature of the Gatling gun, Team Ninja gave it a slow rev-up period. You won't get a chance to fire a shot unless fiends are at a distance, as you'll be far too easy a target until the gun begins to fire.
Ninja Gaiden's 2004 Xbox debut whipped up a storm that had hardcore fans taking great pleasure in mastering its difficulty while more casual players climbed the walls in frustration. Oddly though everybody seem to agree that Team Ninja had created a masterpiece, even the ones who found the ultra-fast combat a little too much to deal with.
Series creator and Team Ninja's head man, Tomonobu Itagaki, isn't one to tone things down. For Ninja Gaiden: Black Itagaki left the main game untouched but added an easier Ninja Dog difficulty setting. Everyone was happy. So what changes have been made for...
April 7, 2008 - When Team Ninja says that a game is going to be bloody, you'd be wise to take notice. After getting the chance to play through the first six work-in-progress stages, there's no doubt that Ninja Gaiden II packs more blood and flying limbs per button press than any game I can think of. The Dragon Sword slices limbs off, leaving enemies to crawl or hobble towards Ryu in hopes of ending their lives and his with a...
Microsoft and Team Ninja passed over a video and piece of concept art from Ninja Gaiden 2 today, showing new character Sonia. The video is a cut-scene from the end of the first chapter ("Sky City Tokyo") where Ryu Hayabusa reunites with Sonia after going through the beginning of the game solo. Of course, once this scene is over he continues solo so we'll have to wait to see what happens from there.
March 25, 2008 - Tecmo, the company behind the ultimate ninja action game series Ninja Gaiden, today announced the release of the highly-anticipated Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword for the Nintendo DS. The title is the first handheld installment in the popular series, which has sold over 2 million units worldwide. Players will fight enemy ninjas and battle various fiends while taking on the role of Master Ninja Ryu Hayabusa and...
If you're in the market for an action game that wrings the most out of the Nintendo DS's visual and sonic capabilities, you need look no further than Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword. It is possibly the most technically proficient title available for the system, brimming with superb, smooth-as-silk visuals...
Up until now, holding the DS sideways like a book has triggered images of brainy minigames or self-help software meant for mommy dearest. After spending five chaotic hours with Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, it's now become synonymous with nut-busting action on par with Devil May Cry or God of War.
Developer Team Ninja has seemingly done the impossible - create an adrenaline-drenched action title that's totally stylus driven. Slashing an enemy with the pen makes Ryu attack, stroking up makes him jump, tapping an area fires an arrow, etc. These controls are obvious, and that means a lot for a system that holds such a tight grip on the casual audience. Literally anyone who owns a DS could dive in and start dicing demons within minutes. It does take a few to learn the ropes, but Dragon Sword is much more accessible than its console counterparts and, more importantly, a lot more forgiving (they're known for being infuriatingly difficult).
The DS is rife with puzzle games, RPGs, platformers, and tests of mental strength, but you don't see a lot of hardcore action games on the system. It would seem that those tiny buttons simply aren't made to withstand the furious button mashing that such games require. Despite this...
March 7, 2008 - It's clear that Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword was a gamble right from the start of its development. Very few developers outside of Nintendo are truly willing to take the risk of experimenting a brand new way of playing an established franchise, but Tecmo's Team Ninja did just that with its DS-exclusive design. The risk worked: Ninja Gaiden on the Nintendo DS...
The Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword footage starts at 4:20.
Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword goes gold
February 29, 2008
The latest game in Tecmo's series is the first for the Nintendo DS platform, and gamers hold the DS sideways to play, as in detective adventure game Hotel Dusk: Room 215.
Dragon Sword tells the story of young Ninja Ryu Hayabusa, who used family heirloom the Dragon Sword to shatter the Dark Dragon Blade, and six months have passed since this epic battle.
The title has gone golden, and will be out in stores on March 25. On March 26 between 12 and 4 p.m. at the Nintendo World Store in the Rockefeller Center in New York, game director Yosuke Hayashi will be signing autographs for fans of the games.
Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword has been rated T for Teen by the ESRB, and has a recommended retail price of $34.99.
February 20, 2008 - At Microsoft's Keynote held during GDC 2008, Tomonobu Itagaki showed a new level from Ninja Gaiden 2. The "GDC Special Edition" demo gave us a glimpse at the Temple of Sacrifice and revealed an exciting new feature for Ninja Gaiden 2.
For those who have had doubts about the visual fidelity of Ninja Gaiden 2 -- stop worrying. The Temple of Sacrifice is a gorgeous level. Set inside a gigantic gave, with bats fluttering about and dozens of enemies standing in Ryu's way, the Temple offers something not scene in the first Ninja Gaiden -- the sense of an epic scale. This is a sprawling level that makes the greatest ninja in history look like little more than an ant. Jaws dropped. And then Ryu started lopping off heads.
The combat in Ninja Gaiden 2 is fast. Yes, even faster than in Ninja Gaiden Black. And body parts and blood are everywhere -- and none of it disappears. Team Ninja has clearly kicked the creature design up a notch. The fiends in the Temple of Sacrifice are cooler than most anything seen in the previous iteration. The stars of the demo were a set of horrific eight-foot-tall beasts with a chainsaw for one arm and a gun for the other. At one point, Ryu was knocked to the ground and the fiend began sawing into his chest.
February 15, 2008 - Tecmo has revealed to us that a demo version of its hugely anticipated Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword will be available for download at Nintendo's Game Developers Conference booth starting Wednesday, February 20.
Game Developers Conference is an industry event that takes place in San Francisco beginning next week. The demo should be available through normal means at participating retailers shortly after Game Developers Conference, but attendees of the conference will be the first to get a sample of the US version.
Let's hope Nintendo's wireless signal's strong enough for non-attendees to leech the demo off the streets of San Francisco.
January 30, 2008 - Many great fictional heroes have used the staff to great effect. Donatello of the mutant ninja turtles used it to pummel the foot clan. Gambit of the X-men put a Cajun flair on the eastern weapon. In a pinch, we'd take Mr. Ryu Hayabusa and his lunar staff over all of them. IGN's favorite weapon from Ninja Gaiden is back and we have the screens and movies to prove it.
The lunar staff wasn't included on the first Ninja Gaiden revival for Xbox at first. It didn't make its appearance until the Hurricane Pack download was released through Xbox Live. The download, which got its name from the charged essence attack the lunar performs, added a significant level of difficulty to the game along with a nasty cat fiend that liked to attack in packs. The lunar was your only saving grace. Great for combos and with a wide attack range, the lunar was fantastic for taking on a single foe or an entire crowd. .
Just like last generation's version of Ninja Gaiden, you'll have to level the lunar staff up to reach its full effectiveness. The screenshots we have here show how it looks when you first obtain it at level 1. The three videos (find them all in the gallery) give you a glimpse at what you'll be wielding when it reaches level 2.
We know Team Ninja is reworking the move lists and altering the look of the attacks that carry over, but we don't have any word yet on how the lunar will change in effectiveness or control. Take a look at the movies and you'll see that even the blunt staff can remove a limb here or there and it definitely has no trouble painting the walls red.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. When the descriptions come directly from Team Ninja like they do for the screenshots below, a few sentences is all you need.
He's a quiet, philosophical man, a 21st Century ninja, a shadowy anachronism who routinely pits ancient skills against modern weaponry with absolutely brutal finesse. Common thugs, trained soldiers, armored tanks, combat cyborgs, rival ninja and all the demonic hordes his Dragon Sword can reach... nothing survives Ryu. Stealth isn't a component of the Hayabusa school of ninjitsu. Killing everything that moves, and then killing it some more is. Ryu Hayabusa is a thorough man indeed.
Games propelled by his unwavering sense of honor are legendary for their difficulty, easily among the most punishing games ever developed. They've become an unofficial test for separating button-mashers from true masters. Millions have eagerly queued up for their masochism fix over the last two decades, wading through different genres and changing platforms and flexible backstories just to get the only guarantee that matters.
If the game is called Ninja Gaiden, it's going to kick your ass. And make you like it .
January 28, 2008 - On a recent trip to Seattle we had the distinct pleasure of seeing a new area of Ninja Gaiden 2 , a game that lands firmly on every one of our "most anticipated" lists for 2008. Tomonobu Itagaki was on-hand to give us a demo of the game and answer some of the questions that we've been dying to ask since the game was last put on display.
The short game demo took place at what was presumably the very beginning of the game. Ryu found himself in a familiar setting: on the balconies of a building in Sky City Tokyo. Aside from Sky City, Team Ninja has yet to announce any other definite locations but Itagaki stated that the series is making a return to its roots with a slew of real world locations building to a final showdown in an underworld filled with demons. In the demo, a detailed metropolis loomed in the background as Ryu immediately met with waves of Black Spider Ninja Clan. The metal claws, scythe, and Dragon Sword we saw in previous demos were back on display along with the bow, which is featured prominently in our new gameplay movie.
Team Ninja's enigmatic mastermind Tomonobu Itagaki is a well known fan of Halo. But last week, when he went to the offices of Microsoft Game Studios in Seattle, it wasn't to convince his pals at Bungie to make Halo 4: Gravemind's Revenge. He was there to show off an early version of Ninja Gaiden 2 , which Microsoft will publish for Xbox 360 later this year. And while mum about whether the game will feature a second playable character (rumored to be a woman who isn't Rachel), support downloadable content like the last Ninja Gaiden or have battles set in a certain city known for large fruit, he did go into more detail about other aspects of the game that he hadn't before.
Taking a cue from the Capulets & Montagues (or J. Lo and Mariah Carey), the story of Ninja Gaiden 2 is centered around a feud. "As you know, our hero [Ryu Hayabusa] is from the Hayabusa clan," Itakagi explains, "but there's another ninja clan that's been fighting with them for as long as anyone can remember. So what you're going to see is the intense conflict between these two clans."
Heading this enemy clan is Genshin, a guy who doesn't take "no" for an answer. Which makes Ryu's job that much more difficult. "Genshin is so focused on killing Ryu that if one of his lesser ninjas doesn't kill Hayabusa, Genshin will kill them for failing," Itakagi says. "So since they have nothing to lose, they're still going to come at you even when they get an arm chopped off or a leg chopped off."
One of the first things Team Ninja bossman Tomonobu Itagaki asks me is "Have you played Ninja Gaiden?" I tell him that I only got up to the boss fight with Alma before stopping, and he quickly responds, "I'm sorry," before personally demonstrating Ninja Gaiden II.
Most of what people have seen of NG2 so far is Venetian level Aqua Palance, where Ryu fights a bunch of ninjas from the rival Black Spider Clan and takes on a guy who looks like a giant spider himself. This time, Itagaki is showing off Sky City Tokyo, which is the very first level in the game. "When you come home and put the disc in, this is what you see." I quickly notice that he set the game to "the path of the acolyte" before playing.
This level is closer to the visual style of the previous Ninja Gaiden than the bright colors of the Aqua Palace level. Parts of it look like the old-style ninja village from the first game, while at one point Ryu looks out to a landscape full of modern neon lights. In between these views and the expected ninja fights, I'm noticing a lot of tutorial prompts. Sure, they were present in the first level of Ninja Gaiden (where Ayane would throw notes that tell you how to do stuff like jump up walls), but these tutorial prompts have fuller descriptions of what's going on, and even videos of what you're supposed to do. Besides all of the tutorials, I'm also noticing that in contrast to the screens of Ryu fighting 10 ninjas at once, I'm only seeing about three enemy ninjas at a time in this demo. Finally, while Ryu is fighting these ninjas, I notice the new health system, where part of Ryu's health bar actually regenerates when he's out of combat à la Halo (though like Halo, excessive damage will go past the "regenerative" portion and affect the more finite part of his health bar).
It started off rather simply, with a severed arm and blood squirting everywhere. Lead character Ryu, under the control of Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki, chopped off both of an enemy's legs and, in one smooth motion, decapitated him before he had time to fall over. After the battle, Ryu flicked his sword to clear it of the excess blood.
Up against an endless horde of baddies that seemed more than eager to lose their limbs, Itagaki appeared invincible, slicing an arm off here, severing a leg or two there. But then, something surprising happened. One of the dudes who had lost an arm rushed Ryu and tackled him to the ground. Then, with his gaping wound still squirting blood, he attempted to drive a sword through Ryu's neck with his one remaining hand.
In response, Itagaki did what any good ninja would do. He threw a giant fireball that blew the one-armed bandit across the stage and left his corpse in flames. As the demonstration continued, he showed off a number of tools at Ryu's disposal--a bow and arrow used to pick off jumping enemies, a giant scythe that seems to severe a limb with every swing, a set of Wolverine-esque claws and accompanying bladed boots--but none that packed the same eye-opening oomph as that fiery explosion.
When you have a game series that's comprised of numerous releases, you know there are going to be more than a few fans waiting for the next one. However, when your franchise title is nearing its 20-year anniversary with installments on about a dozen different game platforms—from arcade-based coin-op machine to NES to Game Boy to mobile phones, and almost everything in between—you can be sure there'll be a crowd at the local game store when the latest game hits its ship date. It's a good bet, then, that that's what we'll see when the next chapter in the Ninja Gaiden series comes out at some point this year.
The next release, curiously titled Ninja Gaiden II —despite its many variations since 1988, including a 1990 arcade game called Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos , which also came out on NES and is currently available through Wii's Virtual Console—will be the first in the durable slash-and-dash collection to appear on Xbox 360. In fact, it's being billed as an Xbox 360 exclusive, with Tecmo's Team Ninja developing it, while Microsoft takes up the publishing duties. You have to figure that, for Microsoft to get behind the game in such a direct way, the company is expecting big things from this new sequel.
When Nintendo created the DS, this is what they had in mind. Not the exact game idea -- and probably not the violence -- but games that can't be done on other systems, and ones that use the stylus confidently. While there have been many successful touch screen games to date, it's still rare to see one that takes things as far as Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword .
If you've seen coverage of the game before, you likely know its main feature -- that you can play the entire game with just the stylus (though you can block with any button if you choose) -- but even knowing how important that was to the overall game, we were still impressed with how well it worked when we got to play a few levels last week.
You use the stylus to run, jump, attack with your blade, and throw stars, so there's a lot to keep track of, but thanks to smart design choices, the basic abilities are very easy to use. If you want to attack an enemy, you just draw a line across their body. To perform a combo, you scribble back and forth. To jump, you draw a line vertically (in previous versions of the game, you jumped by tapping twice on the screen, but the developers changed that to avoid confusion with the throwing stars, which you toss by tapping once on an enemy).
Thanks to forgiving controls, it all works very smoothly. We noticed a few points where Hayabusa would attack a different enemy than we intended if there were two standing next to each other, but in about 30 minutes with the game, we never tried to perform a move and failed because our angle was off or we didn't press hard enough.
You start the game as Hayabusa's female apprentice Momiji, which is a convenient way of providing players a tutorial since you're playing as a less-than-skilled character. After you spend a few minutes learning the basic controls, the enemies capture Momiji, and you take over as Hayabusa in an effort to rescue her, which looks to be your motivation for playing through the story.
Once Hayabusa tags in, you learn a few additional abilities. If you draw up-up-up in a narrow area, you'll flip back and forth off the walls to reach the top. If you tap on an enemy then draw down-up-up, you'll grab that enemy, spin in the air, and slam them on the ground. You'll also gain your first magic early-on, which you can use to create a fireball that burns away spider webs, allowing you to access different areas.
One complaint about the controls at this point is that when there aren't any enemies on the screen and you have to move without attacking -- which you do by holding the stylus down to plot destination points -- Hayabusa feels a bit difficult to control. So when we had to avoid boulders rolling down a series of steps, it was hard to move out of the way quickly. This likely has to do with combat being so fast that the rest of the movement simply feels slow in comparison, and as such will take some adjusting, but we're curious to see if there will be many environment-based challenges later in the game where this could be a problem, or if the game will be mostly combat.
Fortunately, Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki revealed to us during our time with the game that Dragon Sword will be longer than previously suggested. While he had previously expressed interest in making a four-hour game, where players would have reasons to replay it to get more value out of it, he now says the title will last roughly eight hours. And for those who put in enough time, Momiji will be an unlockable character, as a way to keep things varied.
With both this and God of War: Chains of Olympus on the way in March, it's great to see portable action games taking off. It's too early to know if Dragon Sword will end as strong as it starts, but it provides an extremely impressive first few levels.
January 15, 2008 - Over the course of several months we've been introduced to many iterations of Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword , the Nintendo DS-specific action game in development at Tecmo's Team Ninja game group. Just this past week, the studio head Tomonobu Itagaki brought a 93% complete version (not 90 or 95 percent, mind you…93%. His words) to the IGN offices so we can see how the game's evolved since our last outing…the demo version shown at Tokyo Game Show back in September last year.
Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword is a continuation of the Ninja Gaiden console series established by Team Ninja, a series that spun out of the 80s from the arcade and NES, launching on the Xbox then updated on the PlayStation 3 late last year. For the Nintendo DS version, Team Ninja has built a game that uses the touch-screen of the system almost exclusively for its game control – movement, jumps, and attacks are all handled by taps and swipes of the touch screen with stylus in-hand.
New to this version is a completely revamped tutorial that trains players in the way of the stylus control. Instead of taking control of Ryu Hayabusa right from the start, the development team uses this opportunity to drive the story forward by using Momiji as the controllable character. Here, players learn how to move (hold stylus on the touch screen), sword slash (swipe the stylus along the specific enemy), throw shuriken (tap the enemy), jump (swipe the screen upwards), block (hold a button…any button), and evade attacks (hold block and slide the stylus). Players work through a specific set of challenges, and then do battle against a huge dragon…and we're guessing that with the pummeling he does to Momiji, it's expected to lose against the giant red lizard and get taken away.
That's when Ryu leaps in, and that's when players take control of the Ninja. Everything that players learned during the tutorial applies to Ryu's capabilities. As you progress through the levels, you'll earn the familiar Ninpo ninja powers to not just lay waste to the surrounding areas, but also to solve specific puzzles. For example, a huge boulder will block the path, and the only way to move the massive rock is to give it a significant electric jolt. To pull off these Ninpo powers, you'll have to trace the specific on-screen character to charge the abilities…if you've got the energy, that is.
The latest build continues to show that Team Ninja has struck gameplay gold with Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword. The vertical book form works extremely well, and the development team's focus on touch-screen exclusive control gives the series a unique feel in a familiar setting. Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword also looks outstanding, pushing that Resident Evil-like 2D/3D hybrid engine – 3D characters over a prerendered, scrolling background – while mimicking the same style of action of the console games…and keeping a framerate incredibly high and a pace incredibly quick. A new area in this game showed off a challenge where you'll have to run through an area as giant boulders roll in your direction. Boss battles are rendered entirely in real-time 3D to give players the ability to move with a free-flowing camera.
The game is still getting the final tweaks – we did notice that in Normal Mode it was a bit easy to keep a combo string going (we got as high as 85 hits at one point). So over the next few weeks the game will be getting an extra polish in the balancing department. March is the month Team Ninja and Tecmo are aiming for, and I don't think the company will have a hard time meeting that schedule.
We've been big fans of Tecmo's upcoming Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword since Team Ninja mastermind Tomonobu Itagaki unveiled the pint-sized action game last year. The game packs impressive visuals and an innovative control scheme into Nintendo's dual-screen handheld. With Dragon Sword's March release coming up, Itagaki-san stopped by our offices to give us some hands-on time with three levels of the game and direct feed of a fourth level, which shows off how creative Team Ninja is getting with the promising game.
The levels we were able to get hands-on time with comprise the first three levels of the game and include the tutorial on the game's slick stylus-driven control scheme. The game's opening finds ninja poster boy Ryu Hayabusa training his protégé Momiji (yes, bit of an odd name but considering she can stab a man dead in two blows we won't dwell) in front of a waterfall. The short sequence serves as a primer for the game's simple control screen.
Once you've gotten a feel for getting around by moving the stylus, the game's story kicks in and you play a chunk of the level as Momiji. The lithe ninja in training handles pretty much like her mentor Ryu, sans ninpo magic, and acquits herself quite well as she makes her way through the forest locale, shanking enemies in search of an unnamed evil. Unfortunately, when she finds said evil, she probably wishes it would have stayed unnamed as she gets smacked down and kidnapped, which is a nifty segue to controlling Ryu who's distressed his star pupil got nabbed. The next two levels, one of which is based in part on the TGS demo we played, find Ryu working his way through different areas and interacting with an array of foes, as well as the residents in Hayabusa Village.
The game sticks closely to the structure we saw in our last few looks at the game. The different areas you'll go through are broken up into screen-sized chunks that you'll progress through by defeating enemies or solving puzzles. The first three levels we tried were basic and had a nice feel of progression in terms of difficulty. The game just threw a few handfuls of enemies at us at varying heights early on, as well as archers stationed on cliffs we couldn't attack that forced us to mix melee and shuriken attacks. The levels we tried had a mix of bosses, flying dragons, and ground-based bone-dragon critters. One interesting wrinkle to the proceedings came at the end of our hands-on portion of the game. We were exploring the village and instructed to find someone whom we found to be napping. After a bit of trial and error, we found that he needed to be literally spoken to via the DS mic to be woken up, which was a cool little twist.
The fourth level we saw was demoed for us and set in Egyptian-themed ruin that offered a more complex challenge by virtue of being further into the game. The basic action of the earlier levels was ramped up and the environment itself provided the challenge, courtesy of moving spikes. The enemies also offered a greater challenge. Thankfully, Ryu was tricked out with a wider array of ninpo magic, such as a lightning attack, as well as some wickedly powered-up physical attacks and extra weapons.
The action we saw demoed and played ourselves worked very well with the stylus control system. In many ways, it feels like the next step up from the Phantom Hourglass system, thanks to its faster pace. The game handles as well as it did the last time we played it, although we noticed Ryu's jump has changed to an upward swipe on the touch screen, which seems to feel better in the middle of all the action.
As far as the overall presentation goes, the game continues to impress us with what it's doing on the DS. The high level of detail, bright color palette, and smooth frame rate for the in-game graphics all make a very positive visual impression. The cutscene stills also stand out, thanks to a clean art style that blends a bit of anime and traditional comic art. Finally, the game's audio is robust with sound effects, music, and some sound samples all ringing out clearly during the action.
So far, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword appears to be living up to its promising debut. The game looks great and has some very cool gameplay. We're pleased to see Team Ninja flexing its creative 2D muscles and turning out some cool, inventive stuff. If you've mastered Phantom Hourglass and are ready to graduate to some more intense stylus-driven gameplay, you will want to check out Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword when it ships for the DS this March.
Gamerscore Blog recently extended us the offer to ask Tomonobu Itagaki, the outspoken head of Team Ninja, one question about Ninja Gaiden II . We thought long and hard about the question, and this is what we came up with: some changes have been made to Ninja Gaiden II to make it more accessible to the gaming community at large, most notably the regenerating health system. What do you say to gamers who are worried that Ninja Gaiden II will be less challenging as a result? You may behold the detailed answer to that question (in video form) after the break.
The user interface is different than the one shown at the tokyo gameshow. This time, there’s a little more effort put into the tutorial. People didn't really like the whole tutorial guide crap in the beginning of the game. So this time it'll be made to be more user friendly and noob friendly. Game tips will also be posted when you die. Something about you can see movies of the tutorial in the "secret book", which I'm assuming is something that is in your menu. It uses the kurosawa movie style shaders.
You can only recover your life once from save statues this time. This is to prevent the game from being dull if you just stay at one point and try to mass grind money [essence farm]. Now if you reach a save point, you can use the life recovery and move onto the next save point. You will gain a "stock" of full life recovery. Kind of like an e-tank from megaman i guess. This time there's auto and manual save, so that you can save it at different points of the game in different files, kind of like in Final Fantasy so you can re-visit those spots again easily
This game isn't going to be like the last where you're always going back to Tairon. Instead the game is more like an "always moving forward" type of game, although you will return to Tairon at some points, they're a little more rare this time around. Even with that said, the game is not a completely straight forward go from level 1 to level 10 to clear the game type of game. Each area is made to be pretty "fresh," in the sense that it'll be a pretty detailed world that maybe eerie.
This time, the enemies will chase Ryu Hayabusa around by running on walls and using consecutive asuka-gaeshi's (whatever this is). During areas where there are enemies like this, it may become a circumstance where it'd be better off escaping. However, trying to just freely run towards the goal rather than going backwards will be tough. If you happen to escape through where you came from, enemeis may keep chasing you and some considerations to render the murasama shop useless that was once on the same road.
This time around they don't want to make the battle areas so restricted. They don't want to make it like those other games where you can't exit an area until you defeat all of the appearing enemies. In most instances, if you can outsmart your opponents you should be able to run away. Although of course if you're really skilled at fighting, you may do that as well and find it easier to do. Basically they're giving you options.
When you receive damage from enemies, there are parts that can't be healed through auto healing. This is called the necrosis system. You can only hold 6 items this time around. One bad aspect about the last game is that there were too many healing items made available to use.
Certain damaged areas can only be healed through items.You can only hold 6 items this time around. One bad aspect about the last game is that there were too many healing items made available to use. They basically went back to its roots of life management for the game so that you can't overheal against bosses. Also, they're going make you think more about using potions. For example, do you use a healing item that recovers 50% life when you're only down 30? You can't really waste your healing items as much in this game.
This time when you try to use items with the d-pad, the game will pause momentarily so that you can think about which item(s) to use wisely, since you can only carry 6 this time. This time you can't waste your game over-recovery talisman. You can't do what you did in the last game and just use it up and then reset the game. Basically, the talisman will come with strings attached to prevent that.
There will be 4 difficulty levels. Level 2 will be recommended for those who cleared the first game. Level 3 for those pretty skilled and huge fans. Level 4 is made to be really hard. They're thinking about possibly altering how much damage you take and how many items you can carry depending on the difficulty. Those who have played the last game may find the lowest difficulty (shinobi no michi) [Ninja Dog] a little disappointing. In the last game I mean. But this time around it'll be more enjoyable and interesting [funnier] than the last game's "ninja dog".
Ninja Gaiden II preview (IGN)
November 26, 2007
"Ninja Gaiden is a franchise that was born on Xbox…this is our mainstream. It's only natural that the sequel should be on Xbox 360," Tomonobu Itagaki says through a translator to the small, but crowded, audience gathered to listen to him speak about the upcoming Ninja Gaiden 2 . IGN is the only media outlet in the room; the crowd comes from a small army of Microsoft marketing and PR agents eager to listen in. That's because Microsoft announced at this year's Tokyo Game Show that it would be publishing Ryu Hayabusa 's next adventure for Xbox 360, ensuring its exclusivity.
What followed was a wonderfully candid discussion about what went right with Ninja Gaiden, what could have been done better and what we can expect in 2008 for Ninja Gaiden 2. Xbox Live details, multiplayer modes, gameplay nuances and more were all on the table and you might be surprised by some of the responses we were given. So watch the video interview and then read on for more details.
Now that the dust is settling from the fall releases and the masses are working their way through the plethora of stellar content for the Xbox 360, thoughts are already turning to the next big thing on Microsoft's console. While we're sure there are a few heavy-hitters not yet announced for the platform, we expect Ninja Gaiden II to be high on any list of big 360 titles in 2008. The game is the proper sequel to Tecmo's superb revival of its classic franchise from the Xbox and caused quiet a stir when it debuted a few months ago in Japan. The game's visuals are complemented by blistering gameplay speed and a generous helping of blood--because no ninja game is complete without blood, and lots of it. We had the chance to check in with Team Ninja leader Tomonobu Itagaki about the upcoming game, which looks set to rock the 360 next year.
The game once again focuses on ninja Ryu Hayabusa, but a younger version of him. Apparently, Ninja Gaiden II will focus on the butt-kicking hero's formative years in adventure, set before the action in the original NES and arcade Ninja Gaiden adventures. The specifics of the story aren't available yet, but longtime fans can look forward to some interesting twists and new faces, along with all kinds of stabbing.
If you haven't yet seen it, the December issue of EGM has the world's first hands-on impressions of the long-awaited Ninja Gaiden 2 . The game was revealed at Tokyo Game Show, but EGM and 1UP were the only outlets given a chance to play the game and speak with Team NINJA leader Tomonobu Itagaki about it. And now, we have the full-length chat that EGM's Shane Bettenhausen and 1UP's James Mielke had with Itagaki back in September. But first, a recap.
Over the course of a four-level tour of Ninja Gaiden 2, we discovered that one thing hasn't changed: the brutal, no-nonsense, bone-crushing combat of the original Xbox games is back. There are few areas where Ryu is safe from the swarms of enemies, each with the singular goal of sending Itagaki's favorite ninja home in a body bag. As we quickly learned, a bodybag is what most players will find themselves stuffed inside unless they're Jack-be-nimble on the battlefield, since even dismembered enemy ninjas can still land lethal blows on Ryu, primarily by suicide bombing him to bits.
"Ask gamers about the Ninja Gaiden series today and they might point you to its Xbox-based comeback, or perhaps true newbies will cite the recently released Sigma for PlayStation 3, but if you really trace the franchise back to its 1988 roots, you will find that it was born in the arcades and made popular on NES. Naturally, Ninja Gaiden, which stars the agile hero Ryu Hayabusa, has evolved over the years, and yet the same focus on intense fighting action has remained. So have many other staples, including the atmospheric presentations -- the NES Gaiden was one of the first to include story cinematics of any kind -- and genuine difficulty; even today, the hardcore crowd is adamant that the Gaiden titles are tougher to master and complete than almost all competitors. All of these truths make for some compelling videogames, if you can get past some of the crippling camera issues in some of the latest console builds, but how do you translate a series known for cutting-edge graphics and spectacular button combos to a handheld that lacks the horsepower of any home system and uses a stylus to boot? As it turns out, you do it very, very well, if you're Tomonobu Itagaki and Team Ninja.
After nearly two decades away, Ryu Hayabusa is back on a Nintendo platform in Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for DS, a game scheduled very tentatively to hit store shelves this November. We recently had the chance to try out a very brief (about three minutes in length) demo that spotlighted some of the gameplay and visual styles that Team Ninja is going for and we came away very impressed. Indeed, if more developers approached DS development like Team Ninja has, the state of third party releases would be very much improved..."
"If you consider yourself a Ninja Master, you'll want to check out what Tecmo has in store for Ninja Gaiden Sigma . The company announced today final plans for the game's Survival Mode, which will be added via download starting later this month.
Survival Mode features themed missions where you face off against a series of enemies, testing yourself to see how long you can endure the beating. As you play through each mission, you're given a score which is used in a worldwide ranking.
Three missions will be available for download separately. On 8/30, you'll be able to download the Weapon Master mission, which limits you to five weapon. Set to follow in late September is the Speed Master mission, where time is limited and the enemies and stages are set up to provide for a quick fight. Finally, late October will see the Rachel Master mission, featuring five survival tests as newcomer Rachel.
In Japan, each mission will cost 315 yen, or approximately three dollars. There's no word yet on US pricing or availability, but we expect comment from Tecmo America soon."
" Though its core gameplay and content is more than three years old, Ninja Gaiden Sigma is just as fun as the original release. Many of the new content additions and tweaks have been added for the betterment of the experience, making this clearly the best of the bunch. The sections with Rachel are reasonable fun, though pale in comparison to what it's like to take Ryu on a decapitation world tour. If you didn't like the first two releases, there's not anything here that'll draw you in. But if you're a big fan of the original, it's worth your time and money to pick up Sigma as the game has never looked better or been so refined. And if you've never played Ninja Gaiden before, you should stand in line for this one."
Gamespot gave the game a 9.0/10:
"Still one of the best action games ever, with plenty of brutal combat to get your heart pumping. A lot of new content int he form of new boss battles, new weapons, and new enemies. Subltle changes and additions make the gameplay even more centered and compeling. Rachel's chapters are nicely integrated and a welcome change of pace. "
I was trying to move the site to a new host but my current host was being stupid. Anyway, I decided not to move because the new host has been going down every now and then so I'll just use them to host videos and other stuff.
As you can see, I changed the layout. The site was originally designed for one game (Ninja Gaiden Black), so I changed it to accomdate multiple games. Many of the sections are still under construction though.
You can now submit videos to the site. Just give me a link to where I can download it and a description of what it is. You can e-mail it to me or PM me in the forms. I don't have the FAQs, fanart, etc. pages up but you can still submit them. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also added a video section to the forums where you can submit youtube/google videos yourselves (you must be a registered user though). You can read about the changes I made to the forums here. Also, I just wanted to thank sabotage for making the new website banner.