Robbo rants on Ninja Gaiden II

June 17, 2008

My name is Robbo and I work at playtime. They have asked me to regularly rant about stuff I play, so here goes….

Ninjas, pirates or zombies? Which is cooler? The correct answer is Ninja zombie pirate monkeys, obviously, but seeing as there’s no pirates, zombies or monkey’s in this game we’ll have to go with ninjas. Ryu Hyasomethingorother is a ninja of the Hyasomethingorother clan and does loads of cool ninja s**t, like wall running, wall jumping, chuck’s shurikens, throw’s magic fireballs about and generally looking cool in black. What he DOES NOT DO very ninja like is stealthily kill his opponents in very cool ways. He kills them in very cool, yet ultimately not very subtle ways. When they were doing stealth killing in Ninja school, old Ryu must have been bunking off behind the bike sheds for a quick ciggie as all his enemies know when he’s going to show up. They must do or they wouldn’t pop up right in front of him screaming for his blood.

Now, this would be a problem if not for the fact that Ryu is a bit deft with the old katana blade. Proper ninja like, he hacks, slashes, decapitates and maims those foot soldiers like the cool mofo that he is and takes no s**t from no bugger. Except the level 2 boss, but I’ll get to that.

The game starts off with some over-proportioned bint coming looking for Ryu. Apparently there’s some evil afoot and it’s to do with some statue that his clan holds and it’s power to awaken 4 demon fiend types. Anyroad, this scantily clad stereotype goes and gets herself kidnapped (oh, didn’t see that coming) just as ninja-boy shows up doing the ONLY stealth appearance I’ve seen so far shortly before handing control over to you and the hacking, slashing, claret-splashing fun commences!

At first it seems like NGII is a button masher of epic proportions, with blocks thrown in for good measure. To an extent that’s true – as when you look at the combo page there are reams and reams of moves – but there’s only a select few that will need to be used.

The first thing that struck me about NGII (after the biblical proportions of el binto magnifico’s breasts) is how bloody it was. I’d stayed away from the trailers, previews and all that mularky because I wasn’t all that bothered about the game. I knew there was some gore from people mentioning it but there’s buckets of the stuff! Like, gallons and gallons and it gets everywhere, mainly because once you’ve maimed (or ‘wounded’ as the game puts it) said minions you can press the Y button (or a combination of Y mashes) to execute them. This sets off some cool camera angles and hilariously brilliant moves depending on what weapon your using, like the one with the sword where you stick it through their throat and viciously swipe it to remove their bonce from their neck.

Talking of the weapons, sword is the default weapon but you soon acquire the Lunar Staff (heads exploding like melons ahoy!) and Falcon Talon’s. There are others but I havent got them yet.

The reason I haven’t got as far as I should have is down to 2 factors, linked like space and time, Morcambe and Wise, Cannon and Ball and other naff comedy duo’s of yesteryear. I didn’t get as far as I should have is because of the second boss and my inability to hand him his head on a plate.

Now, I’ve never claimed to be the worlds best gamer; after 24 years of it I’m ‘competent’ at best, but I know when I’m being s**t and I know when the game is trying to break my spirit and the second boss on this game is the equivalent of being fisted with a chain mail gauntlet wrapped in razor wire worn by a large inmate who’s crimes got him the nickname “Keith The Butchering Rapemonger”.

There is no rhyme and reason to this boss. Well, none I could see. In the end I blocked and mashed the Y button, countering him occasionally and twatting him when he did the rush attack that left him wide open for a sound beating with my stick (oo-er).

After this blip (and many screaming fits and me throwing the pad across the room, turning the console off in a huff and so on and so forth) the game became a lot more tolerable and hacking, slashing and generally chopping the hell out of anything wearing a mask and some sort of bladed weapon is immense fun.

There’s the usual collecting of red orbs to fuel your Ki for magic, blue to regain health and yellow to spend in the shop which is represented by a not at all conspicuous honestly guv’nor a statue of the old geezer from the intro cut scene (I suppose we suspended disbelief with Ryu jumping off the top of one a tower to crash through the window of the opposite tower which he needs to get to the top of. If he can use his mad ninja skills to get to the top of the tower why not just get to the top of the one he wants to be at?) and upgrade your weapons.

The graphics veer wildly from the “ooh that’s very very nice” Neo Tokyo-esque city scapes and ye olde Hyasomethingorother village to the sub-Bullet Witch grey plastic stylings of New York and it’s subway which is decidedly meh. The camera seems to suffer from MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder), being steady and consistent at best and utterly f**king atrocious at worst (usually in confined spaces).

So yeah, it’s worth a pop, more so if you’ve played the first one as the difficulty spikes would break the will to live of some less bloody minded people.



  1. game show catchphrases…

    Great site – this info is great! Looking forward to reading the rest….

  2. Bang on. That second boss….*grumble grumble*

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