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Video Game / Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

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"All the great warriors of my culture celebrate death. They welcome it. Dying in battle is considered a great honor… What a load of shit."
—Yaiba, the protagonist

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is a Hack and Slash Action Game that came out in early 2014, result of a collaboration between Team Ninja and Sparks Unlimited, and directed by Keiji Inafune. It's a Spin-Off to the Ninja Gaiden series. The game was released in March 2014 for PS3, Xbox 360, and Windows. The latter which is a first time for Team Ninja to release a game for that system.

The protagonist is Yaiba, a revived cybernetic ninja who was killed by the legendary Dragon Ninja Ryu Hayabusa and came back to life angry. Very. In his search for his arch-enemy, he will slay his way through hundreds of not particularly bright zombies.

The game features a very fast and offensive gameplay veering on the Mass Beat 'em All type, a liberal use of Action Commands, a visual aspects heavily inspired from Comic Books, and some light Black Humor, using an abundance of crudeness and profanity.

Yaiba provides examples of

  • Artificial Limbs: Yaiba has a robotic left arm, which he can launch to grab distant enemies (it's connected by a chain).
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A giant two-headed zombie baby dressed as a sailor. Yeah.
  • The Berserker: Trait of the Kamikaze clan, passed down to Yaiba. It functions as his Super Mode.
  • Big Bad: del Gonzo. In this case, you're working for him.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Yeah, the zombies and the gore are certainly not meant to be scary here.
  • Blood Knight: Yaiba, who else?
    Miss Monday: If you think I outfitted you with all this tech just so you can get another sword through your guts, then you are dumber than a sack of-
    Yaiba: Yeah, yeah, yeah! Do you ever shut the fuck up?! Just set me loose and let me kill something!
  • The Brute: Yasha to del Gonzo. Yaiba is almost an textbook example of this.
  • Call-Back: Ryu's moveset in this game is mostly based on the first modern game. He also has the Fire Dragon Ninpo and the bow from the third game.
  • The Cameo: Special pre-orders in Japan come with a skin of Beck from Mighty No. 9.
    • This same skin was offered for free at launch among several other costumes with the Western release.
  • Continuity Nod: Miss Monday's research of Ryu details his adventures from both the NES and modern trilogies. Another confirmation that the two trilogies are in the same universe and timeline.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: del Gonzo turns out to be one of these; it's foreshadowed by a number of things, such as the fact he only appears as a hologram, demonstrates an Incurable Cough of Death a couple of times, and mentions details that mean he's a lot older than he appears.
  • Death from Above: del Gonzo summons meteors on Yaiba.
  • Degraded Boss: By the later points of the game, you're fighting multiple versions of earlier bosses in a exhausting frequency.
  • Denser and Wackier: The overall tone has much more in common with Lollipop Chainsaw or The House of the Dead: OVERKILL than the Ninja Gaiden series.
  • Die Laughing: The first time Yaiba was killed, he mockingly laughed at Ryu before his body split in two from the force of Ryu's last attack.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A truck crashing between two giant legs, on the roof a lingerie shop. Subtlety, folks.
  • The Dragon: Miss Monday, to del Gonzo. With a touch of Evil Genius.
  • Drunk with Power: del Gonzo, after becoming an incarnation of the Aztec God of Underworld. He even says he's gonna be sore tomorrow.
  • Dude, He's, Like, In a Coma!: Miss Monday and Yaiba when he was being reconstructed. And from the tone of her voice when recounting this, she's not ashamed...even if they were recorded.
    Miss Monday: Well, somebody had to test your systems. All your systems.
    Yaiba: Did I pass?
    Miss Monday: Let's just say some parts of your anatomy didn't need any enhancement.
  • Elemental Powers: A gameplay mechanic of this game, it features fire, electricity, and bile (as in zombie puke). Used for both combat and puzzle purposes.
  • Excuse Plot: The game uses a similar narrative approach as the Deadpool video game; there is a legitimate plot going on in the background, but the main character couldn't care less about it and just wants to fight things, and will even tell people to shut up whenever they try to give exposition, because they're interrupting the fighting.
  • Evil Genius: Miss Monday, the scientist responsible for Yaiba's reconstruction and Mission Control.
  • Explosive Leash: Yaiba has been outfitted with one on his heart by Miss Monday under the command of Alarico del Gonzo, their boss.
  • Eye Beams: One of del Gonzo's attacks.
  • Fate Worse than Death: If possible, Yaiba wants to cause it to Ryu. When he finally gets a chance to kill him, he refuses because he wants to see Momiji die in front of Ryu.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: del Gonzo.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Considering Ryu lives to go through both the classic Ninja Gaiden games, as well as the Dead or Alive series (as well as Ryu being the ultimate badass he is), it's obvious Yaiba isn't killing Hayabusa at the end of the game.
  • Free-Fall Fight: How the first fight with Ryu after Yaiba's cybernetic enhancement ends
  • Gaiden Game: Yes, this game is a Ninja Gaiden, um, gaiden.
  • Gainax Ending: del Gonzo has been defeated and Miss Monday manages to get the cure's formula by recording it through Yaiba's brain. Yaiba also refers to his initial goal of extracting vengeance from Ryu as "another story", implying Yaiba has lost interest in it. Things get strange when they escape from the Aztec-looking dimension (where you fought del Gonzo) by riding a pterosaur-like creature, and the two is implied to have become dimensional travelers who use the cure as a money-making tool. Pretty wild, even for Ninja Gaiden.
  • Game Within a Game: The unlockable arcade mode Ninja Gaiden Z.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The first time you fight Ryu, he is constantly moving away from you.
  • Godhood Seeker: del Gonzo.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Yaiba can grab zombies and toss them around or launch them to do extra damage.
  • Hero Antagonist: Ryu Hayabusa, of course.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Some of Yaiba's finishers are using a Mini-Boss's own weapon against it.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Ryu honestly believes that Yaiba has good in him despite all evidence to the contrary. This pisses off Yaiba to no end, since he's a villain and he's proud of it.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Not much "imported" as extracted from an alien corpse.
  • In Name Only: From what was shown, remove Ryu Hayabusa and the fact the protagonist is a Ninja, and you will be hard pressed to find anything remotely related to Ninja Gaiden in this game. Actually, Ninja Gaiden wasn't part of the title initially.
  • It's Personal: Yaiba joins Miss Monday and Forge Industries just to have them track down Ryu for him rather than to stop the zombie outbreak and save the world. He does however do his job thanks to the Explosive Leash that will kill him should he tries to go off-track. He also sees the zombies as his target practice to prepare himself for Ryu.
    Yaiba: Here's a question for you: Where is Hayabusa and why isn't my foot up his ass yet?
    Miss Monday: Calm down, Tiger. They'll know where he is.
  • Mission Control: Monday and del Gonzo.
  • Monster Clown: Sidesplitter, a zombie clown with cleavers for hands.
  • Mook Debut Cutscene: With Boss Subtitles; the zombies appearing occasionally do something stupid.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: The reason why Ryu and Momiji want to destroy the giant alien corpse. Considering what the substance extracted from it caused, it seems to be pretty reasonable.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: The trailer for Classic Mode ends with Yaiba's sexy Mission Control throwing herself at him...only for her advances to be ignored in favor of good ol' sake.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The pirate part is missing, though.
  • Overly-Long Gag: A zombie vomiting toxic waste. He even makes a gesture of "let me finish this first" before fighting Yaiba.
  • Reverse Grip: How Yaiba uses what's left of his sword.
  • Robot Dog: The Robotic Defense Unit (RDU). Just his behavior, he don't look like a dog at all except for having four legs.
  • Shock and Awe: Some zombies, like Zombride and Electric Stiff.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: This game easily has the most swears and curse words in the series.
  • Stylistic Suck: invoked The game features a retro-mode, full with 2.5D scrolling, 8-bit cutscenes and text in broken English.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Yaiba's cybernetic arm can function as a grappling hook, has concealed blades, and a rocket thruster...and that's just what's revealed thus far.
    Miss Monday: Last, but not least, your arm.
    Yaiba: Yeah? What can it do?
    Miss Monday: Everything.
  • Villain Protagonist: Yaiba, del Gonzo, and Miss Monday are all pretty much Card-Carrying Villains.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Yaiba.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Ryu to Yaiba. Yaiba says he gets that a lot.
  • Withholding the Cure: Miss Monday and Yaiba planned to withhold the cure to the zombie epidemic that Yaiba's cybernetic brain managed to record for a couple of months so it would be worth more money.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Yaiba wields the broken katana that Ryu damaged in their fight.
  • You Are Already Dead: In the intro, it take a few seconds to Yaiba's sword to crack...and his torso to be cut in two. Ryu's courtesy.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Though the cause is yet unrevealed. Hayabusa's role in this game is trying to figure that out. He finds out that Yaiba and Monday's boss, del Gonzo, is behind this and tells it to Yaiba.