Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword Preview
Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Team Ninja 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Tecmo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 25, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Master the touch of death!
by Philip Hanan

June 13, 2007 - Ninja Gaiden (Xbox version) was of the best action games ever created due to its high quality graphics, well performing control scheme, and story. The original game was so popular that it was remade for the same console and for the PS3 and featured more downloadable goodies, battles, etc. Most Ninja Gaiden fans loved the remakes, but most are salivating for the next true sequel. Now, Team Ninja delivers its true sequel using a 64 bit console with two tiny screens.

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword screenshot

Team Ninja, a huge Xbox-only developer has shocked the nation by developing a game for the Nintendo DS. They believe that the gameplay technology of the DS will enhance the Ninja Gaiden series. I admit that I was skeptical when I heard that Ryu Hayabusa, star of the Ninja Gaiden series, would be drawn in 64 bit on a tiny screen, but the graphics are absolutely stunning, even if you don't compare it to only DS games.

The game's story involves Ryu hunting down more demons just like we all like to see our man do. This time, he'll be going after the most powerful demon sorceress he's ever faced. To stand a chance against her, he'll have to use the power of the DS to defeat her evil. Dragon Sword, you ask? Yes, if you wish to name your DS stylus Dragon Sword because this heavily action oriented game relies on the touch screen and stylus movement combinations in order to play.

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Not only does it play completely differently than any other Ninja Gaiden game before it, you'll actually play the game with the DS held sideways which few DS games mimick. On the left (top) screen, you'll see a map, while on the right (bottom) screen, you'll see Ryu Hayabusa in a gorgeous 3D world. The gameplay mainly involves hacking and slashing anything in sight which is done by using many different stylus movement combinations.

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword screenshot

If you wish to perform a horizontal slash, then simply swipe the touch screen horizontally. If you wish to perform a vertical slash, then simply swipe the screen from bottom to top. Jumping is performed by tapping Ryu twice and a second jump can be performed by tapping him twice while he's in the air. From there, you can either swipe the screen from top to bottom in order to perform a downward slash, or you can tap an enemy to throw a shuriken at them. You can also tap enemies while on the ground in order to throw a shuriken.

If you need to block during a battle, simply press any button on the DS, except Power, while swiping the screen. It makes blocking quite handy and accessible. Also, by blocking attacks, you can build up your charged moves and magic attacks. You can charge up to two levels. Simply stop blocking and you'll unleash your charge attack. You can perform magic attacks by tapping the upper left icon on the screen when lit, then tracing symbols or letters that appear on the screen. You can also control the magic attack by directing it with the stylus.

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword screenshot

The game involves more hacking and slashing than any other Ninja Gaiden title, but that's doesn't mean it's missing any adventuring. You will have to move around pre-rendered rooms looking for items/switches, etc. in order to progress to the next room and the boss. You may also have to jump to new areas by double tapping the screen.

The action appears tight, and the frame rate is first class. The sound is also as good as the high quality sound of Ninja Gaiden for Xbox. Team Ninja always delivers first class games and will deliver for the first portable Ninja Gaiden title in years. I recommend this title to all DS gamers and especially for Ninja Gaiden fans like myself. It appears to have less violence and gore than the Xbox game, so it should be the first Ninja Gaiden game for teens in years. Go ask your parents to buy this game or buy it yourself this fall. You'll be pleased you did.

By Philip Hanan
CCC Freelance Writer


Game Features:

  • The first portable Ninja Gaiden title in years.
  • The true sequel to Ninja Gaiden for Xbox.
  • Team Ninja's first DS game.
  • Easy to perform touch screen movements control almost all moves.


  • Screenshots / Images
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