Resurrected: The games that rose again

Ninja Gaiden

Starting life fairly anonymously in American arcades in 1988, this cabinet-based martial arts brawler plonked up to two players into the nimble slippers of ninjas as they battled through cultist-littered mean streets in a Double Dragon stylee. Fairly uninspired and repetitive, besides the ability to hurl enemies into various objects and some suitably nimble - although slowly animated - attacks, the game was thin on notable features. It did, however, have a gloriously gruesome 'continue' screen - an image of a shackled ninja with a steadily lowering, spinning saw blade inching closer to his chest with every passing second. If the player failed to feed in any more coins, the screen turned a bloody shade of red...

When did the series goice cold?
After a string of console games varying in degrees of quality (Ninja Gaiden Episode II: The Dark Sword of Chaos on NES in 1990 being the celebratory high point, and sloppy arcade conversion Ninja Gaiden on Mega Drive in '92 being the depressing nadir), the series hit the brakes in '95 with Ninja Gaiden Trilogy on SNES. Packaging the three ninja outings (Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom being the third), the bundle made a few tweaks and visual improvements to the originals. It also changed the blood from red to Nintendo-friendly green.

A new king is born!
In the development womb for over five years, a resurrected Ninja Gaiden finally appeared exclusively on Xbox in 2004 to a near deafening, resounding roar of acclaim from critics and breathed new life into the series with the force of a tornado. It looked stunning and played like a dream - controlling the game's chief ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, was a fluid treat, with some awesome, razor sharp weapons at his disposal to slice through the relentless - but always brilliant - action. Blood flowed. Heads rolled. And the people did rejoice.

Does it live on?
Since its dramatic reappearance on the scene, a special edition of the Xbox Ninja Gaiden, called Ninja Gaiden Black, has been released, offering new content, two additional difficulty settings and a version of the original arcade Ninja Gaiden. An additional remake of Xbox Ninja Gaiden is also in the pipeline for PlayStation 3, boasting vastly upgraded graphics, new weapons, new scenarios, new combat moves and an additional playable character.

Matt Cundy
I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.