main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
YMMV: Ninja Gaiden
  • Ass Pull: Obaba's comeback in Sigma II and III. There's no explanation how she is revived.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Somewhat of a subversion. Most of the fans who are aware of the 2-player Beat 'em Up version of the arcade believed it came before the first NES game. In reality, the arcade version was developed simultaneously with the NES version, with the two teams making their own game based on the same basic concept.
  • Angst? What Angst?: In Ninja Gaiden 3 Once he's freed of the masks control of his mind, Theodore doesn't seem to be fazed at all by all of the horrible things he was forced to do, or the fact that his brother and grandfather were the ones who forced him to do it, OR the fact that his daughter is serving as the core for a giant monster ravaging Tokyo. This is later subverted in his last battle against Ryu as he implies him that he is aware of everything that was going on while he was the Regent of the Mask. He sacrifices himself not only to allow Ryu to free his daughter, but to receive his "atonement" for his crimes as well.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Sort-of with the Dark Disciple, who claimed to have the power of the "Devil Incarnate", but gets punched out anyway
    • He was piss easy in the original game, but Ninja Gaiden Black significantly upped the difficulty by nerfing the Flying Swallow (a diving sword strike that would be a Game Breaker in the original, if it wasn't already Nintendo Hard).
    • Considering that roughly 70% of the game is spent chasing her down, Elizabét in Ninja Gaiden II isn't much of a challenge. She's arguably easier than Volf.
      • Until Sigma II rectified it: like with the Dark Disciple, good ol' flying swallow spamming won't work this time!
    • The Final Boss in Ninja Gaiden 3. Not that the fight isn't visually impressive, but you spend maybe 30% of it fighting fiends it sends at you, another 30% doing QTEs and 40% actually fighting it (the way you fight the Statue of Liberty in Sigma 2 more or less). All in all, it is probably the easiest boss of the game.
    • Doku in the modern Ninja Gaiden 1. For being built up as The Dragon of the Vigoor Emperor and as the Fiend who destroyed Ryu's village, he is an incredibly easy boss. Even on Master Ninja mode of Nina Gaiden Black, this boss is pathetically easy
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page. Probably the one point everyone can agree on about NG3.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: At the end of Day 5 in Ninja Gaiden 3, you find yourself fighting a suddenly colossal Oobaba (who was supposedly killed by Ayane in Sigma 2) on the way to see Ryu's father in his retreat. This is never explained, has seemingly no connection to the rest of the plot and is never mentioned again. Razor's Edge only briefly mentions that the BS Ninjas are actually working with LOA, although the reason remains vague.
  • Broken Base: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Some consider it inferior to Ninja Gaiden II because of the lack of gore, lessened difficulty and the removal of puzzles. Some consider it superior thanks to a more balanced stage designs, less cheap AI and the removal or revision of the most tedious passages of the original, as well as having more content. The drastically reduced number of enemies and the introduction of a semi-automatic aim for the bow can be seen a good or a bad thing depending on who you ask.
  • Complete Monster: In a series featuring demon lords and other unholy terrors as villains, Clifford "Cliff" Higgins, from the third game of the New Trilogy, comes off as one of the most evil opponents Ryu Hayabusa has ever faced. When Ryu first meets Cliff, he seems like a helpful scientist working for the Japanese Defense Force. However, Cliff is really a mole working for the Lords of Alchemy, a group that wants to destroy the human race and replace it with new "perfect" god-like beings; he is also the grandson of the head of the LOA. When Cliff's brother Theodore opposed Cliff's plans, Cliff had him killed in an accident. Cliff later decides to bring his brother back to life, brainwashes him and turns him into a terrorist. While under Cliff's control, Theodore launches a terrorist attack on London and murders the British Prime Minister. Cliff's plans come to a head when he uses his technology and Ryu's Dragon Sword, to turn Canna, his own niece, into an Eldritch Abomination called the Goddess. The Goddess then proceeds to go on a rampage across Tokyo and will eventually destroy the entire human race. Later after a fight with Ryu and a fatal injury at the hands of his brother, Cliff admits he did all this because he was jealous of his brother and wanted to step out from under his shadow, any way he could.
  • Contested Sequel: Yosuke Hayashi's drastically different vision for Ninja Gaiden 3 let many fans skeptical to say the least. Some fans think it is still a fun action game in its own right, if not on par with the first two games. Others prefer to pretend it never existed. Interestingly, Hayashi was already involved in another Contested Sequel...
  • Counterpart Comparison: In comparison to another Action Game, Ninja Gaiden 3 is seen by some fans as the Devil May Cry 2 of the modern series.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Ninja Gaiden II is so ridiculously gory that it practically skips the offensive, and goes straight to hilarious. May or may not double as Narm Charm.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The Ancient Ship of Doom has one in form of the theme from Stage 1-1. It's awesome as it's catchy.
  • Demonic Spiders: The ghost piranhas (WHAT?!) infesting the labyrinth in Zarkhan for Ninja Gaiden (Xbox). Their pack tendencies, respawning capabilities and sheer, unimaginable tenacity make one question the existence of a just and loving God and ask why the game's designers hate the player so damn much. In fact, just about all of the enemies drop into this territory at higher difficulties.
    • Originally, the ghost piranhas were just decorative, until Itagaki found out about them and told the team to make them enemies.
      • Their difficulty may be toned down in the sequel, but there is one chapter where you have to deal with them alongside the Water Dragon. Painfully worse in II but noticeably easier in Sigma 2.
    • In the first game, especially at the highest difficulties, a good portion of the non-human mooks are this, really. The black "laser eye" fiends or the cat fiends are just hellish to fight in groups.
    • Ninja Gaiden II has a literal kind with Black Spider Ninja Rasetsu, as the boss on the first level. He and his other derivatives turn into common enemies later on.
    • The birds in the NES games. A large reason for WHY they're so terrible, at least in the first game, is because of a glitch with how the game handles enemies spawns. Anything that is in the exact right spot will respawn as soon as it's taken out, causing them to infinitely respawn until you move, and moving forward is not always a reasonable option.
    • You liked the Goddamn Bats in the first Xbox game? In Ninja Gaiden II, meet the giant bats! They are thrice as big, make thrice as much damage, are thrice as tough and are still unblockable. More often than not you will take damage while trying to kill them.
    • In the same NGII, the infamous Incendiary Kunai Ninjas are usually this when you fight them in large groups. Take a guess why by looking at their name. Strangely, in Sigma 2 they are also dreaded enemies, but for a different reason: they use their explosives less often but are much tougher and much more competent at close combat instead. Especially in higher difficulties, where their claw attacks deal huge damage.
  • 8.8: IGN's 3.0 of Ninja Gaiden 3. It gained quite the backlash already. The Updated Re-release Razor's Edge, however, got a much more decent 7.6.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Robert T. Sturgeon in The Dark Sword of Chaos. A Mysterious Informant/Protector with an agenda of his own, Cool Shades, able to take down demonic horrors with a single gunshot, who turns out to be a top United States Army operative and such an extremely loyal ally to Ryu that he makes a Last Stand to guard his back in the very bowels of Hell? This is especially notable considering how well Ryu gets along with covert government agencies...
    • Rachel and Momiji. They garnered enough popularity to appear as playable characters in Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Elizabét.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The third Team Ninja game.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: The Regent of the Mask in Ninja Gaiden 3. Having for an outfit a red Badass Longcoat, a Cool Mask, a mysterious hood and a gold-plated Gloved Fist of Doom, can only make you one. To compliment it, he's armed with a Royal Rapier.
  • Game Breaker
    • The Unlabo(u)red Flawlessness in Ninja Gaiden, when used by a player skilled enough to stay alive at 15% health, can cut enemies down with shocking speed (most of them at any rate). Then again, given the strict health requirement and the game's difficulty, this isn't as severe as the others listed.
    • The Izuna Drop in all the games is fairly easy to execute and will instantly kill any human-sized mook. In Ninja Gaiden, enemies often block and you can only do it with "katana-like" weapons so its use is restricted. However, the sequel allows its use with almost any weapon, and enemies don't guard at all. Sigma 2 nerfed it slightly by making some mooks (almost all of them on Master Ninja difficulty) resilient enough to survive it.
    • Ultimate Techniques are a similar case: in the first game, without absorbing essence to speed it up, it takes 4 seconds to charge a full-powered UT and their range of effect is limited. In Ninja Gaiden II, it takes only 2 seconds, with some weapons' UTs being glaringly over-effective on large groups of small mooks.
    • The Windmill technique from the NES Ninja Gaiden, capable of killing every single enemy (and boss) in the game with one use. That is, if you can plow through the entire level to the boss with minimum jumping attacks or getting other power ups, as each jumping attack becomes Windmill technique and eats up your power...
      • You can execute a normal jump attack by holding down while you attack.
    • The Eclipse Scythe in 3, despite its slowness, can become this if used properly. With the sword or the claws, you can directly repeat a successful steel-on-bone attack on a nearby enemy; with the scythe, "nearby enemy" means "any enemy within a 5 meter radius". As long as you don't screw up the initial steel-on-bone, you can take down entire waves almost effortlessly.
      • As of Razor's Edge, this scythe has taken this trope almost completely, being the only weapon that is used by players more than the Dragon Sword. Still, it has a few drawbacks (notably the limit on the number of successive SoB and the inertia after every attack).
    • The new Steel-on-Bone system is this as well, though it takes some time to properly use it.
    • The Hurricane Packs for the Xbox Ninja Gaiden added an "Intercept" move that allows Ryu to parry any enemy's attack and counterattack with an Ultimate Technique with the proper time. This most was so effective, that it ended up being removed in Ninja Gaiden Black.
  • Goddamned Bats: Actual bats for the modern games. The critters do annoying damage, and come in large packs. Explosive variants start showing up from Black onwards. Almost all the enemies start as this and become Demonic Spiders on higher difficulties.
    • Bats are also regular enemies in the NES games, and they're in all respects similar to Castlevania I bats.
    • Goddamned birds in the NES trilogy! The bats at least fly in a predictable pattern and usually aren't too hard to simply avoid, but the birds actively home in on Ryu. And they're almost always by ledges and pits. And in the first game, they took three slots off your life bar, making them the most damaging non-boss hit in the game!
    • The "jellyfish" in the amazon level for Ninja Gaiden II. Sure, they don't move and are easy to eliminate, but they get in the way...and they just. Never. STOP. SPAWNING. Of course, you can try to swim trough them... at your own risk.
    • Dogs, blue bugs and homunculi often act as this in Razor's Edge.
  • Goddamned Boss: The infamous giant worm boss in the Amazonia level of Ninja Gaiden II. It's not even difficult, simply horribly ill-designed: 90% of the time you'll not see it, even when you're hitting it. It was so bad that Sigma II didn't even try to make it better: they just mercifully removed it from the level, along with the entire "green tunnel" section. You won't even notice it.
    • The two "armadillo" bosses in the underworld level in Ninja Gaiden II. You don't know the meaning of Camera Screw until you've gone through this fight. Like the giant worm, Sigma II removed it, replacing it with a fight against Marbus.
  • Good Bad Bug: In Razor's Edge, Kasumi has a version of the Cicada Surge called "Sakura Madoi", which allows her to evade not only melee attacks like Ryu, but also bullets and missiles. Which means you can use it to teleport into areas that are normally inaccessible, and in extreme cases, even out of the map. It was sadly fixed in the PS 360 version though.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The fact that it's called Ninja Gaiden (gaiden meaning something like side story) due to Rule of Cool becomes hilarious nowadays if people think it's a sidestory to Dead or Alive, despite the fact that Ninja Gaiden has been around for longer than DOA.
    • Even hilarious in the case of the recently-announced Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, which is a sidestory for the modern series.
  • I Knew It: Due to the breadth of shared traits between Irene Lew from the NES trilogy and Sonia of NGII, more than a few fans theorized that Sonia was a modern re-imagining of Irene and that they were the same person (Sonia's bio even hints that her name is an alias). Come Dead or Alive: Dimensions, it turns out that they were right.
  • It's Easy, so It Sucks: Ninja Gaiden 3 is a far cry from its punishing predecessors. No wonder it's being critically savaged!
    • The Razor's Edge edition ratchets the difficulty back up for normal, but does include an easier mode that can be selected at any time.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Just a girl. Get out of here!"
  • Most Annoying Sound: The NES series, being very much Nintendo Hard, has the death jingle. Expect to hear it over and over and over.
  • Narm: The Worlds of Power book is filled with this, starting with the groaner on the first page, "Dedicated to the ninja in everyone's dad."
    • The "don't kill me mate" scene at the very beginning of Ninja Gaiden 3 is so overdone that for many it ends up being hilarious instead of a Player Punch. To the point it was removed in Razor's Edge.
    • The original arcade game is rife with this as well at the round clear screens of each stage. Not to mention the premise; a seemingly random ninja that happens to be Ryu goes to America ("NINJA IN U.S.A.") to beat the crap out of an evil cult full of hockey-mask wearing thugs, sumo wrestlers, normal wrestlers and otherwise, all led by Bladedamus, a descendant of Nostradamus.
  • Nightmare Fuel: About the only thing anybody knows about the original arcade machine is the circular saw from the continue screen.
    • Not to mention the shadow of Ryu behind a window at the start of every stage in the arcade version, with creepy red eyes before he bursts through the screen and starts the level.
    • Jaquio's Nightmare Face in the first NES game and Baron Spider's White Mask of Doom in the second.
  • Only The Creator Does It Right: What certain fans think about the modern trilogy and one of the reasons there's so much bashing on Hayashi's games (both Sigmas and Ninja Gaiden 3). Any title not directed by Itagaki can only be a pale imitation. It doesn't help that before leaving Tecmo, Itagaki specifically said he didn't like Sigma, that Ninja Gaiden II was the definitive version of the game and that he was the only one legitimate enough to continue the series.
  • Player Punch: Ninja Gaiden 3 goes to great length to make you feel the pain of the enemies you kill, be it the brutal Steel-on-Bone mechanic or the moaning of enemies if you don't finish them off.
    Crawling and bleeding mook: I don't wanna die... I don't wanna die!
  • Polished Port: Played both straight and subverted for Razor's Edge. Apart from the addition of several weapons, upgrades, collectible items and a playable Ayane, nearly every single aspect of NG3's gameplay has been improved, from combo speed to responsiveness, to enemy AI, to the use of the ki bar and the steel-on-bone mechanic, making the game much more technical overall. The PS 360 version also corrects the frame-rate drops. However, the game still contains really unusual bugs and glitches.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The save system in the first X-Box game makes it so that if you die, you have to restart at the last save point, no exception. Meaning if you die against a boss, you have to redo the section between the save point and the boss. And if you die at the beginning of the following chapter without having saved, you have to redo the boss.
    • The steel-on-bone mechanic in Ninja Gaiden 3, not so much for the mechanic itself but because it activates pretty much randomly and interrupts combos. It has been reworked in Razor's Edge, where this attack is now used to counter enemy grabs.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Someone watching the plots of the NES series today will find them narmy and a bit overdone with their "three twists per second", but at the time they were a big leap forward for videogame storytelling.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Whatever you think of the storylines of the modern trilogy. Dragon Sword and III/Razor's Edge have a little more detailed ones. Not that this saves the latter from being a Contested Sequel, though.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: There's two of them in the arcade version. The second stage almost sounds like Michael Jackson's "Bad", and the second boss theme is very similar to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man".
  • That One Attack: Zedonius' flame wall in Ninja Gaiden II is unblockable and undodgeable. Even some moves with invulnerability frames don't protect you! The only thing you can do against it is use a ninpo, but if you're out of it, pray he doesn't use it. Actually, it is dodgeable. You have to stay away from him when he is about to attack you with it.
    • Elizabet's Blood Orbs from the same game. Very hard to dodge, unblockable, does major damage, can stunlock you into being hit by the next orb AND heals Elizabet the more the attack damages you.
  • That One Boss: Just about every single one of them, especially in the modern games.
    • Murai in Ninja Gaiden deserves a special mention for being not only the first boss of the game, but being so goddamn hard to start with.
    • The first fight with Alma from the same game is often regarded as the game's toughest fight, even though there are number of fights after it.
    • Speaking of which, Awakened Alma is considered to be this by many players.
    • The Regent of the Mask in III and Razor's Edge. He is an SNK Boss-caliber boss who blocks almost every single attack that you do, is less exploitable than other bosses, and can even No Sell any of your attack. If you make a single unthought move, he'll make you pay for it.
    • Marbus in III is also this but for a different reason. Due to the lack of a controllable boss camera angle (which was introduced in Sigma II but strangely absent in this game), you face him 50% of the time off-screen. Thankfully, Razor's Edge brought that feature back. Of course, he is still a tough boss to beat. Also, he is ridden with glitches, which is noticeable when you're doing online with a partner.
    • II has some pretty brutal bosses, but Zedonius takes the cake, especially the rematch against him in the underworld.
    • The Final Boss of Razor's Edge, in sharp contrast to the one from the vanilla version. The first phase of it, at the very least: it's become quite notorious for being extremely cheap and unfair, and more or less forcing the player to use cheap techniques themselves to beat it.
  • That One Level: The infamous 6-2 in the first NES game. 6-1 and 6-3 are both extremely difficult as well, but 6-2 takes the cake for cheap deaths and one spot where you seemingly have to exploit a flaw in the programming to get past. If you die even once on any of the three final bosses, you're forced to redo the entire stage at 6-1 again.
    • The "Path of Zarkhan" chapter in Ninja Gaiden. Not that it's particularly harder than previous chapters but you spend most of the level swimming back and forth to solve a puzzle, and after that you must go through a very long and boring swimming sequence through areas previously visited but now submerged. Sigma removed that puzzle and made the level more straightforward, but you still have to swim a lot.
    • The Elevator Action Sequence in Sigma II for Rachel's chapter, mainly because of Camera Screw issues and also because Rachel's melee weapon isn't very adapted to fight in narrow spaces. Of course, it gets worse at higher difficulties where the upgraded flare fiends are Demonic Spiders and deal a lot of damage - often One Hit Kills in Master Ninja.
    • Ayane's chapter is infamously the hardest one in Sigma II, and has plunged many a player into an abyss of despair in Master Ninja. Prepare to see the Game Over screen a lot with her.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: What some fans think of Ninja Gaiden 3.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks: Largely averted with the NES trilogy. People have noted the games copy a LOT of things from Castlevania, most obviously the life bars, but most people agree that the Ninja Gaiden games then were still good games in their own right despite the obvious influences. Likely helps that it's power ups are very different from Castlevania's.
  • They Just Didn't Care: The Greater Fiends in the DLC missions of Ninja Gaiden 3 were merely ported from their respective games (Doku and Alma from Sigma; Alexei, Volf, Zedonius, Elizebet and Marbus from Sigma II). Their models were not polished enough to be compatible with the game's engine, making them really buggy and glitchy to battle with, with Marbus being the worst offender. Same thing goes for Genshin (both in his human and Fiend forms), Van Gelfs, and Lesser Fiends, who are already on disc. Razor's Edge fixes them for the most port, although some glitch remains, notable for Elizebet and (again) Marbus.
  • Villain Decay: The Malice Four (Barbarian, Bomberhead, Basaquer, and Bloody Malth) become ordinary mooks throughout the stages in The Dark Sword of Chaos and can be killed with a few hits. Granted, they're located on platforms where they'll most likely throw you into a pit, but they were major bosses in the first game. Bloody Malth was even the one who defeated Ryu's father.
    • Justified in a Guide Dang It: the mooks are in fact sub-standard clones of the original Malice Four.
    • The Greater Fiends who were brought up to III and Razor's Edge. They were brought there because those games didn't have many of their own bosses and they have no involvement in the storyline whatsoever. Simply put, they were there for gameplay purposes. They appear in the Ninja Trials mode and Razor's Edge's Test of Valor challenges. Strangely enough, Cliff Higgins, one of the tougher original bosses, is nowhere to be found in Ninja Trials of the same games.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy