Ninja romance is supreme!
What can I say after now having played Ninja Gaiden II? Well, for starters, it was definitely easier than the original. I played it for the first time ever tonight and completed it in about 2.5 hours, most of which was spent on the last level. I’m not saying that it was an easy game at all, just that it’s in no way harder than the original. If you’ve mastered that one, you’ll find this a satisfying, but in no way extreme challenge.
Second, it looks great for an NES game. The highly animated backgrounds are gorgeous and the colors really pop. A big step up from the comparatively muted color palette of its predecessor.
The music was a bit of a step back. It’s not bad at all, but there’s nothing approaching the brilliance of a track like “Unbreakable Determination” here in my obviously subjective opinion.
Gameplay-wise, the designers experimented a little here, with most levels having unique environmental platforming hazards like hurricane-strength winds, darkness, running water, slippery ice, and exploding fireballs. Perhaps this was seen as necessary to stave off monotony for those also played the first game extensively. It definitely keeps you on your toes. On the downside, it can slow down the action significantly at times, which you may not appreciate if you love sprinting through the original at breakneck speed.
The story was just more “ninja fights demon cultists/demons/a ton of angry birds for some odd reason.” It’s still sumptuously presented for this generation of gaming, though. The drawings, animations, and music for the story scenes are all fabulous, even if the dialog actually has the hero saying things like “You fiend!”
Overall, I highly recommend Ninja Gaiden II. Other than an arguably downgraded soundtrack and a slightly slower pace at times, it’s a worthy successor to the original in every other respect.
Plus, ninjas are so dreamy. ♡♡♡