Thursday, September 08, 2016

Soundtrack September: Ninja Gaiden

Game: Ninja Gaiden (1988)
Platform: Famicom/NES
Composers: Yamagishi Keiji, Nitta Ryūichi

The NES version of Ninja Gaiden (which bears little relation to its arcade predecessor) was the game that introduced me to the concept of drama in video games. Each stage is bookended by cutscenes, scored with melodramatic music, that flesh out the plot and build suspense, leading the player to keep playing to find out what happens next. It's very much like watching the 8-bit equivalent of an 80's miniseries starring Timothy Van Patten and Lee Van Cleef. Yeah, that's twin Vans. And one of them drove a van on the show. Van-ception.

This is one of those used-to-be-able-to-clear-but-can't-anymore games. It's really tough. You gotta have nerves of titanium to get through Ninja Gaiden's bullshit. But if you can survive until the end and defeat the marathon three-form final boss, you get to see the male and female lead characters' heads mashed awkwardly together in an 8-bit semblance of a kissing scene. It's worth it.

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