Ninja Gaiden (1988)
Ninja Gaiden, released in Japan as Ninja Ryūkenden (Japanese: 忍者龍剣伝, literally "Legend of the Ninja Dragon Sword") and as Shadow Warriors in Europe, is a side-scrolling action-platforming video game. It was developed and published by Tecmo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES); its development and release coincided with the beat 'em up arcade version of the same name. It was released in December 1988 (1988-12) in Japan, in March 1989 in North America, and in August 1991 (1991-08) in Europe. It has been ported to several other platforms, including the PC Engine, the Super NES, the Virtual Console, and mobile phones.
The story follows a ninja named Ryu Hayabusa as he journeys to America to avenge his murdered father. There, he learns that a person named "the Jaquio" plans to take control of the world by unleashing an ancient demon through the power contained in two statues. Featuring platforming gameplay similar to Castlevania, players control Ryu through six "Acts" that comprise 20 levels; they encounter enemies that must be dispatched with Ryu's katana and other secondary weapons.
Ninja Gaiden has been renowned for its elaborate story and usage of anime-like cinematic cutscenes. It received extensive coverage and won several awards from video gaming magazines, while criticism focused on its high and unforgiving difficulty, particularly in the later levels. Over fifteen years after its release, the game continued to receive acclaim from print and online publications. It was novelized as part of the Worlds of Power NES game adaptations written by Seth Godin and Peter Lerangis, and it spawned a soundtrack CD.