Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos for the NES


The original Ninja Gaiden got love on my site as not only the first installment in my gaming section (and only one up until almost a year later) but also as one of the first things I chose to write about. I just love that game so much.

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It would have seemed fitting that I would have written about the sequel, Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos almost immediately, right? Well, I would have agreed with you back when I started the site but other aspects of it took over but there’s no time like the present to correct it all! I’m happy that I’m finally getting to write about the sequel in this feature.

Ninja Gaiden II was released in April, 1990,and was developed by Tecmo. This was a first week purchase and I thank my mom for getting it for me. I played the hell out of this one and when I load up the NES for some classic gaming, I make sure I always give this one a play.

I will start by mentioning that I read that many find this game to be just as challenging as the first – with some people saying that it is even harder. I call BS on that. I don’t find this game as cheap as the first at all. With some practice this one is way easier to conquer than the first game. I had this game beat in the first week when I got it and I was actually quite sad because I thought it would take me forever, just like the original, to beat.

Ninja Gaiden II continued on with what wasn’t broken in the first game – spot on hit detection, amazing graphics, a variety of enemies, a compelling story, and kick-ass music. Just when you thought things couldn’t get better, Tecmo, the story continued on from the first game and became even better. The cut scenes that were a breakthrough for NES storytelling brought everything to life and they looked even better in this game.

The story, in a nutshell, is Ryu is sought out to take down an evil villain named Ashtar who wants to bring evil to the world through the Dark Sword of Chaos. As luck would have it, Irene, who was featured in the first game, has also been kidnapped. It is Ryu’s job to find Irene, confront Ashtar, and make sure the world is not entrenched in darkness.

One of the features that changed in this game was the ability for Ryu to climb up and down on walls. Not only that, but he could unleash his ninja powers while on the walls as well.

Another key feature that was introduced in this game was Ryu’s ability to split or clone his body when collecting an orange orb.  At the time this came out, this ability blew my mind. I thought it was so cool how two clones could follow the exact same path Ryu did AND could swipe their sword no matter when you pressed the button. This set up some excellent strategies for boss battles!

Ryu continued to have access to special ninja powers.  Besides the boomerang ninja star and the fire that shot diagonally upwards, I didn’t find the other powers too useful. I mean, the invincible fire wheel did come in handy but I didn’t find it as necessary to use as the first game.  I’m sure speed gamers love it.

One of my favourite things about the original Ninja Gaiden was the music. The sequel bring more of the same amazing hits as the first one, although the original game will always beat it out as I’m sure that’s the effect nostalgia has on you.  The soundtrack for all the Ninja Gaiden series will be coming out on CD and vinyl soon and my pre-orders for them all have been placed, so stay tuned in the summer to see a feature on all of that when they arrive.