First play-through of Arcade Archives Ninja Gaiden on the PS4. I don't think I knew that the original Ninja Gaiden was an arcade beat 'em up! And here I was just hoping a new old beat 'em up would come out--so thank you, Hamster Corporation!
Ninja Gaiden hit the US arcade a year before Final Fight came out, and it kind of does things its own way, which is neat. It did have the standard two attack/jump buttons, but also a third button, mounted on top of the joystick, used for grasping onto handholds, from which you could swing and kick people. That part is pretty gimmicky, really.
And the color palette is a bit muddy, and you're a ninja, but you still run pretty slow. : P And it's easy to accidentally back-flip off an obstacle--this happens automatically as soon as you bump into something--right into the arms of whatever bad guy was behind you. Dang it.
The neat part is just how precise the game requires you to be with your spacing and timing: a fraction off and you will get pummeled mercilessly.
And you can't just quarter-pump your way through: when continuing, you start back at a checkpoint--and the default setting gives you just two lives per credit, and 3 hits per life--or just two vs the big guys carrying logs--or just 1 vs the end bosses! So there will be tough rooms you just have to get good enough at to clear, or you'll be stuck there, no matter how many credits you pump into them.
And so, I got stuck on the last stage, 6. It starts (45:45) with a really long room, packed with those two-hits-and-you're dead log guys (those logs also give them range far superior to yours :_;), and just a lot of other guys to cause trouble, and I had a dickens of a time with crowd management.
And then the next checkpoint is a killer too: a room just jammed with guys, then a room where you have to fight three one-hit-and-you're-dead bosses, and then the final boss, who also kills you in one hit and seems for all the world pretty much invincible when you find him. And you gotta do all that in one credit or its back to the beginning of the sequence.
The thing though with checkpoint systems is that *because* you can't quarter-pump through, there's gotta be a way to beat even boss enemies without taking too many hits; ie, a weak point. And once you know it--I eventually found it on the three sub-bosses, but I looked up a FAQ for the final boss, it was getting late : o--those parts are kind of a snap.
But that's probably okay, because the basic combat is good and tight. I gotta come back to this and see if I can beat it in under a gosh darn hour. ; P
(Wikipedia says the Japanese version, which came out after the US version, toned down the single-hit kill stuff; the Japanese version is also included in this Arcade Archives release, but I haven't tried it.)