85. Ninja Gaiden

Ninja Gaiden (1989, NES) by Tecmo

Current Any% Leaderboard (speedrun.com)

I was never able to conquer this game as a child, and I’m far from alone: this game is brutal. Even with speed strats, this is no walk in the park, but I was very intimidated by this game for years. It wasn’t until I found Twitch, and by extension Arcus, that I finally witnessed someone annihilate this game. And it felt so good to see.

It felt even better to do.

By no means am I even in Arcus’ (or any other top runners’) league, but to be able to attempt this run with a majority of the speed strats and successfully learn this, was a great feeling. This game was one of the Trials games I had to learn for the Big 20 #13, and that inspiration helped me to push my skill in this game even further. Although in the actual race I didn’t have a great run, I was finally able to get my good run in the Trials soon after, and I’m very happy. I’d love to come back to this run eventually, though.

You play as Ryu Hayabusa, a bad-ass ninja with a cottage cheese sword and a good BYUUUU. In 4-2 he’ll kill you and murder you. He runs so slickly through these stages which are expertly crafted to troll you. Kaizo they are not; these stages are set up to where a player that wants to move fast needs to know what to do beforehand, or they’re guaranteed to end up at the bottom of a pit, or end up bird food. The controls are SO SO SO good in this game that it’s a shame the sword is so ineffective, almost singlehandedly ruining this experience for me. Luckily, the speedrun uses the spinslash to get through most of the run, which sounds like a cheese (and for some parts it is), but the ninpo routing you take is very dynamic and important to your success.

At the end of the day, I love this game even more now. I highly recommend this game to anyone that wants a challenge and long-lasting speedrun that will give you enjoyment, with a small side dish of frustration.


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