The year is 1990. The rainy, August weather prevents playing outside. To pass the time, I decide to spend the afternoon with Mario, Mike Jones and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The mail delivery shows up around 3 p.m. My brand-new issue of Nintendo Power — Vol. 15 — arrives at last. I read through this special edition strategy guide, cover to cover. I do not yet own the game.
One year later, I finally acquire the game — for $10, at a flea market. I take it home, pop it in my NES and play for hours. It took two months for me to finish.
The fast-paced action, the stunning visuals, the catchy, dramatic music, the engaging story and the crazy twist mid-game made Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos my go-to action game for years. I also enjoyed Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom and the original Ninja Gaiden, but never to the extent of that amazing sequel.
Later, I would play the fantastic Shadow of the Ninja and other games in the Ninja Gaiden style, but none of them ever made me want to do a jump slash for joy or split myself into two shadow copies quite like those original games from Tecmo.
Decades passed. The old gray box faded away, the games and memories along with it. When the Ninja Gaiden games arrived on the 3DS Virtual Console, I bought them. I’ve never played them, but that changes tonight! Why?
Fast forward to 2018. At the tail end of August, a new game will arrive for the Nintendo Switch, to scratch that Ninja itch [maybe you should get that checked out, bro – Ed.].
New, from Sabotage Studio, comes The Messenger! This game combines features from two of my favorite game series — Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania — and creates an original story in their classic 8-bit style. Since hearing about it earlier this year via Polygon, I’ve been looking forward to its arrival.
The Messenger arrives on PC and Nintendo Switch on Aug. 30, 2018. I’ll be buying it — will you?