The legendary Ryu Hayabusa is finally back to doing what he does best, that being a wall-jumping, star-throwing, sword-slashing, bat-killing, magic-conjuring überninja. It’s the way it should be. By sparing Master Ryu from an unfulfilling life as a Dead or Alive combatant, Tecmo has resurrected an action series fans have been pining for since the halcyon days of the NES. Though Ninja Gaiden technically debuted in arcades, it’s the 8-bit trilogy that remains (to this day) the best imagining of the franchise. Would the dramatic shift to 3D
ultimately kill it?

Nintendo has proven that as long as you retain the essence of what made a title or series great to begin with, the change in perspective can be a blessing instead of a curse. It is a balance companies like Sega, Konami, Midway, and Namco are still struggling to achieve, and Tecmo has an even shorter a list of classic properties to experiment with. While the publisher has already ushered Rygar into the modern era with positive results, Ninja Gaiden has a much stronger pedigree. The camera, level design, enemies, and control had to be in top form to accommodate the game’s delicate mix of combat and agility.

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