Is it Even Possible to Defeat the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for NES?


Next-gen consoles are out and I must move on from my beloved PS3 and Xbox 360. So in hopes of finding someone on Craigslist eager enough to buy them from me, I started gathering up all the controllers, cords, and my old games. I stumbled upon my copy of Ninja Gaiden II Sigma for the PS3 and found it hard to part ways. This game single handedly saved me from writing off the franchise all together. I say this because the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy for the classic NES almost destroyed my hopes and dreams of ever becoming any kind of gamer. What’s more frustrating than getting to the final boss – THE FINAL BOSS – only to die in a matter of seconds and going back at least 3 stages? I will never understand why they did that in the first game, nor will I understand why I bothered to play the next 2 installments afterwards.

I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way, I never completed Ninja Gaiden or Ninja Gaiden 3 – go ahead, revoke my gamer card. However, you’ll be pleased to know that when I made Ninja Gaiden 2 my bitch, I promptly stood up and beat my chest like a gorilla to display my dominance over it. Defeating the 2nd game gave me enough satisfaction that I was never enticed to go back and play the others ever again.

What made Ninja Gaiden for the NES so hard?

I might play it again if it looked this awesome!

There are plenty of things that made Ninja Gaiden so incredibly difficult. Yet, none of those hardships that blocked your path would ever compare to the final boss/bosses that stood in your way of greatness. You know who I’m talking about right? The villainous bastard Jaquio! If you ever wanted to see the biggest rage quit of all time – go back to my childhood in 1989 and watch in amazement at my frustration level. Not only was it a huge task to overcome stages 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 but to get to the final boss with hardly any health left and no stars!? I mean come on! The first set of orbs he fired right at me ended what sweet victory I thought was within my grasp. I then proceeded to throw my trusty Nintendo controller down into what I thought was a soft pillowy couch cushion only realizing soon after that I had thrown it on to the table in front of me. Coming to terms with my frustration I picked up the pieces of my controller, shoved them into a bag stared at the TV screen a bit and then shut it all off.

I had enough … or so I thought.

My Resurrection – Ninja Gaiden 2

Wow I really hate this guy.

Oh yes, the creators of Ninja Gaiden, Tecmo, were back at it in record breaking time to dish out Ninja Gaiden 2! They held nothing back right from the start by killing off Ryu’s woman – Irene. Along with her death came the shock of blood being shown in a video game! The horror! (no really, when it was re-released on Super Nintendo they decided to edit the games to make them a bit more tame for the younger audience – lame…) Anyways, this new chapter also introduced the “ghost” sidekick that got to follow you around for much of the game as long as you got the “power up” to use him. This new found ability allowed most players, me at least, the opportunity to run through the game and figure out key places to position the ghost in order to vanquish the mass amount of villains. It was something that I highly abused the entire way through. That’s not to say that the game wasn’t hard, it was extremely hard. The levels with ice beneath your feet causing you to slide uncontrollably to the nearest hole in the ground were irritating to say the least. The levels with the wind blowing at a 45 degree angle causing you to fall to your death unless you stopped and waited for the wind to stop blowing (which was mind numbingly BORING) was excruciating. Then there was the level you had to wait for the lightning to flash in order for you to hop to the next landing pad. I think that Tecmo definitely tried our patience with Ninja Gaiden 2, but luckily for me, I have an abudance of it.

Nope, this Trilogy Hates Me – Ninja Gaiden 3

Please Irene, if you’re going to die – stay DEAD!

Quire arguably the worst of the trilogy, Ninja Gaiden 3 did nothing for me. As you can tell from the image above, at this point Irene is nothing more than annoying. You know that saying, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” … yeah that applies here. For whatever reason the creators decided to take this entire game and ignore everything that came before it. They took an old-skewl ninja and through him into some weird sci-fi fantasy with a strobe light effects show. If you’re able to look past all these minor discrepancies, you’ll be able to enjoy the fun additions that they threw in. Awesome trinkets such as hearing Ryu’s voice, EVERY TIME YOU SWING THE SWORD, the fantastic added ability to climb things differently and the power up that made getting rid of my “ghost” sidekick bearable – the longer swiping sword! No but really, I stopped playing this game halfway through because not only was it hard but it wasn’t what I thought I was getting into – and that in of itself was a bigger disappointment more so than never completing the game.

All in all, Ninja Gaiden’s original trilogy was hard. No, it was incredibly hard. I’m not sure I would say it was the most difficult of all NES titles, but it definitely ranks up there. Anyone out there ever defeat all 3 games or did you find them to be impossible like I did? (keep in mind I would have been 8 years old)

Images via NES


Hey guys & gals, my name is Lucas Tetrault and if you like this post or any of the others I’ve done – please feel free to venture over to my Blog and take a gander at some other stuff I write about. I promise I don’t intend to waste your time.

I work as a Creative Director and spend time away from my job with my wife and son, writing for Unreality, and trying to be creative with my own personal projects.

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  1. I wish I could reply to all messages at once – @disqus_rOisIDsWRN:disqus , @jarrodlipshy:disqus , @keredaollu:disqus … I feel your pain! Those birds were a HUGE pain, I don’t think I ever avoided the fireballs – not once! , and yeah – for my own sake I haven’t gone back to play it now because I doubt I’d ever get past the 2nd stage -hah!

  2. i did beat the Japanese version of ninja gaiden 3 as a kid. i believe it was easier than the US version ? i jumped up and down when i beat the 3rd boss of the last stage. As a kid i really enjoyed ninja gaiden 3 as it was the only game in the series that i could get my hands on back then.

  3. There is a cheap trick to beat Jaquio and the Demon—I found out about it inadvertently on a forum, and won’t utter it here—but by applying it (which was itself quite a challenge) I managed to beat NG1 and gain a measure of peace.

    But still it taunts me! Can I win by my wits and valor alone?

    Anyway, I have gained a degree of mastery over the evil World 6 leading up to these bosses, and that was one of my proudest gaming achievements. Definitely makes other hack ‘n slash type games seem more approachable, and worth the weeks of effort. So I highly recommend this challenge.

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