Friday, May 25, 2018

Ninja Gaiden & Ninja Gaiden II (1990)

Original ad published in the September 1990 issue 

of Electronic Gaming Monthly (no. 14).

Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.

No frills advertisement for hard-as-nails series

A game this good needs no supplementary material to extol its virtues. Word-of-mouth built the notoriety of its legendary level of difficulty before gamers repeating "git gud" were even born. Oh, and both NES games were actually fun.

The original Ninja Gaiden for NES (1989) is considered an absolute classic for Nintendo's Entertainment System. And it whole-heartedly deserves that recognition. But many fans of the series would be surprised that the sequel, Ninja Gaiden II. The Dark Sword of Chaos, is equally good. Both are of course incredibly difficult. So much that I have never met an actual human being that has actually finished one of those games. I dare you to do the same. Sure, YouTube has lots of videos showing people actually finishing the game, but beware that most of those demonstrations are played over emulators.

A screenshot of Ninja Gaiden II, mostly similar to the original NES game.

If you ever need a clear reference to a side-scrolling action game this is it. The gold standard for 2-D games, make no mistake about it. Gameplay is precise, millimetrically precise, down to the pixel level. One mistake and you're either knocked-out, knocked-back or obliterated by a constant barrage of enemies. It's not for the easily frustrated. Arguably, it's harder than either Dark Souls, Demons Souls or BloodBorne, all of them hailing back to King's Field.

But a radical departure from the arcade version of Ninja Gaiden.

Curiously enough, the original arcade version of the game has nothing to do with high-speed slashing of the original console games. Gameplay if floaty and incredible hard to nail down. Graphics are awesome, though. Trivia: Atari's Lynx was the only console to receive a port of the arcade game back in the day.

Now the actual printed material we saw in EGM or GamePro was functional, but nothing extraordinary. As I said above, these games were entirely built upon word-of-mouth recognition. So the advertisements were spartan. Classy, but no-frills. Basically just two images of both boxes of the games you would see displayed for you to buy. And those are awesome enough.

Ninja Gaiden & Ninja Gaiden II printed advertisement copy

The Epic Ninja Quest

The adventure begins
Biggest Arcade Hit
A Strategic Encounter

Sequel to Ninja Gaiden, the arcade and Nintendo best seller!!

Tecmo Games....Hard to Beat (TM)

18005 S. Adria Maru Lane, Carson, CA 90746
(213) 329-5880
Fax (213) 329-6134

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