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Ninja Gaiden II
Ninja Gaiden II.jpg
Developer(s) Team Ninja
Publisher(s) Microsoft
Designer(s) Tomonobu Itagaki
Native resolution 585p[1]
Platform(s) Xbox 360
Release date(s) NA June 3, 2008

JP June 5, 2008
EU June 6, 2008
AUS June 12, 2008

Genre(s) Action-adventure
Hack and slash
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) BBFC: 18
OFLC: R18+
Input methods Xbox 360 Controller

Ninja Gaiden II is the sequel to Ninja Gaiden and was released worldwide for the Xbox 360 in June, 2008. It was developed by Team Ninja and published by Microsoft Game Studios, marking the first time a Team Ninja developed game was not published by Tecmo. While sharing the same number as the Nintendo Entertainment System game Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, it is not a conversion of that older title. The game has not been released in Germany, due to lack of a USK rating.[2] A remake of the game titled Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 developed exclusively for PlayStation 3 and released on September 29, 2009.



Ninja Gaiden II's new combat system allows Ryu to dismember his enemies, severing their limbs and tearing their bodies apart. Compared to Ninja Gaiden, the sequel contains more gore and graphic violence.[3] Dismemberment will weaken or slow down an enemy, depending on if an arm or leg is severed, but not necessarily kill it. In fact, an injured enemy will be prone to use suicide tactics such as pinning Ryu down and planting an incendiary shuriken on him, forcing the player to quickly finish off his opponents using new, brutal Obliteration Techniques before injured enemies can get the upper hand.[4] This new mechanic can also be triggered in the presence of boss characters.

Aside from his standard melee techniques, Ryu can absorb nearby essence in combat. These colored globes of energy are released from the bodies of slain enemies, and absorbed into Ryu's body when he comes close to them. Essence has an important role towards general game play, acting to heal Ryu, restore his ki, or increase his cash. However, the player can cause Ryu to deliberately draw in essence, which can then be used to unleash powerful attacks known as Ultimate Techniques. When Ryu fights and takes damage, there is a red bar that starts building towards the left of Ryu's health bar, which is called lasting damage. After Ryu has slaughtered all of his enemies in that particular area, his health recharges, but only to the point where the red bar starts. Herbs of Spiritual Life and Save Statues can heal this lasting damage, however. Also when Ryu is done fighting, he performs a chiburui (the act of swatting blood off of his weapon). He does this for every weapon, with a different animation for each one. Ryu can stand still and attempt to block attacks (though enemies can break his guard and leave him vulnerable to attack) or he can dodge by dashing away in a maneuver called "reverse wind". The game also takes 2 elements from the Hurricane Pack upgrade from the original game: camera rotation and the ability to charge up for an Ultimate technique without the need for essence (this takes time to charge up; essence can still be absorbed to speed up the process).

Ryu will use his signature Dragon Sword in combat, but new weapons, such as the Eclipse Scythe, Dragon's Claw and Tiger's Fang swords, Tonfa, Kusari-gama and the Falcon's Talons ninja claws will allow the player more variety in dispatching enemies. Ryu's new magical spells, in the form of ninpo, includes the Art of the Flame Phoenix, Art of the Wind Blades, and the Art of the Piercing Void. However, weapons and ninpo from the original Ninja Gaiden will return in the form of the Art of the Inferno, Lunar Staff and the Vigorian Flail. The returning Windmill Shuriken, Incendiary Shurikens, and bow, renamed the Fiend's Bane Bow, can now draw in essences like all of Ryu's melee weapons to discharge their own Ultimate Technique.


One year after Ninja Gaiden, master blacksmith Muramasa is setting up shop in Tokyo. A CIA agent named Sonia enters the place and asks for Ryu Hayabusa's whereabouts, until members of the Black Spider Ninja Clan attack the shop and kidnap her. Enter the Dragon Ninja Ryu, who fails to stop Sonia's kidnapping and makes haste around the Tokyo skyscrapers and rescues the agent, who informs him of an attack on the Hayabusa Village by the Black Spider Ninjas, who wish to steal the Demon Statue they possess and protect.

Ryu returns to his home and finds his father, Joe Hayabusa dueling with Genshin, leader of the Black Spider Ninja Clan. Unfortunately, the Demon Statue is taken away by Queen of the Greater Fiends and the Ruler of Blood, Elizébet, and Joe urges his son to retrieve the statue at all costs. Ryu travels around the world with Sonia, in pursuit of Elizébet and the Demon Statue, while encountering legions of Black Spider Ninjas, Fiends, and three other Greater Fiends: Alexei, the Graceful Ruler of Lightning; Volf, the Invincible Ruler of Storms; and Zedonius, the Malevolent Ruler of Flame.

Ryu tracks Elizébet down to South America, where she offers the Demon Statue to Infernal High Priest Dagra Dai, in order to resurrect the ancient Archfiend, Vazdah. Elizébet duels with Ryu and he defeats her, but Elizébet proclaims her return. An overlooking Genshin explains the Archfiend will emerge from Mount Fuji back in Japan and states that is the place where Ryu shall die. Ryu returns home, cautioning Sonia not to follow him.

As Ryu overlooks the fire-brimming Mount Fuji, Ayane enters with the Eye of the Dragon, a gift from Joe Hayabusa, and Ryu equips the relic onto his Dragon Sword, forming the True Dragon Sword again. Heading to the mountain's summit, Ryu finds Genshin waiting for him at the crater's entrance and the two ninjas fight to the death. Genshin falls and Ryu leaps into Mount Fuji.

Ryu fights past hordes of Fiends and singlehandedly defeats Zedonius, Volf, and Alexei, and rescues a captured Sonia. He instructs her to stay put and to not move. Ryu heads into another room and finds a resurrected Genshin, transformed into a Fiend, and dispatches him. The mortally wounded Genshin hands him the cursed Blade of the Archfiend to use, and dies without regret for having allied with the Fiends. A furious Elizébet appears, and chastises the Black Spider Ninja for losing, even with his power. Ryu finishes her off, claiming the overlord had more to live for than she ever will.

Traveling deeper into the Underworld, Ryu confronts Dagra Dai, who is nearly finished with the Archfiend's resurrection, and defeats him. As a last resort, the Infernal High Priest offers his life to Vazdah, and the Archfiend is reborn. Ryu takes down the monstrosity and heads to the surface with Sonia, but a drop of his blood from an open wound accidentally spills onto the fiend and revitalizes Vazdah, who ascends to the summit in its true form. Amidst an erupting Mount Fuji, Ryu squares off with the Archfiend in a climatic duel to decide humanity's fate and wins. Sonia and Ryu reunite and climb to the top of the mountain, sharing the sunrise together.

In a post-credits scene, amongst a field with countless number of blades embedded into the ground, Ryu plants Genshin's Blade of the Archfiend into the ground and bows in respect for the Black Spider Ninja. The Dragon Ninja takes one last look before taking off into the fog.

The revised story is then continued by the NES series: Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos and Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom, possibly making all the games into a single continuity.[5][6][7]


Initial screenshots of Ninja Gaiden II surfaced on the Japanese official Xbox 360 website, but were removed within a matter of hours in October 2007. Aside from new weapons shown, new locales were revealed, though they were of a more Eastern origin than the previous game. Ninja Gaiden II was officially shown at the Tokyo Game Show 2007[8], with the first released trailer. It was previewed at Microsoft's Tokyo Game Show Press Conference and was confirmed as an Xbox 360 Exclusive. Director Tomonobu Itagaki was quoted during the event as saying "Now please enjoy the world's best action game, running on the world's best hardware".[9]

A Ninja Gaiden II demo was released on Xbox Live in Japan on May 31, 2008 and early June in Europe and the U.S.[10][11]. The demo was released on June 8, 2008.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.38%[12]
Metacritic 81/100[13]
Review scores
Publication Score B-[14]
Edge 8/10[15]
Eurogamer 7/10 [16]
Game Informer 8.75/10[17]
GameTrailers 8.4/10[18]
GameZone 8.8/10[19]
IGN 8.7/10[20]
Official Xbox Magazine 8.5/10[21]
TeamXbox 9/10 [22]

Ninja Gaiden II has been met with generally positive reviews. Most of the graphics design and variety of weapons have been praised.[16]. The game has been criticized for an awkward camera that hampers player movement, certain levels that lack proper visuals, combat and an inconsistent framerate in upscaled 1080p mode. The story has been criticized and described as nonsensical, but at the same time unimportant to the game as a whole[23], while the difficulty in later levels has also been criticized for being extreme and "cheap"[16]. GameSpot nominated it for the award of 'Least Improved Sequel' in its 2008 video game awards.[24]

On August 28, 2008, Ninja Gaiden II was reported as having sold over one million copies.[25]


  1. ^ DigitalFoundry at Eurogamer: Face-Off: Ninja Gaiden 2 vs. Sigma 2
  2. ^ Ninja Gaiden 2: Keine Veröffentlichung in Deutschland vorgesehen News // Xbox 360 ///
  3. ^ TGS07: Cutting Through Ninja Gaiden II
  4. ^ TGS: The Violence of Ninja Gaiden II : Next Generation - Interactive Entertainment Today, Video Game and Industry News - Home of Edge Online
  5. ^ Mielke, James (2007-11-16). "Previews: Ninja Gaiden 2, "This is a new story starring Ryu Hayabusa. It takes place after Ninja Gaiden 1 for Xbox, and before the timeframe of the old Ninja Gaiden games on the NES."". 1Up. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  6. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (2008-05-22). "Ninja Gaiden 2 Interview, "Story chronologically as well, this takes place after the fist Ninja Gaiden for Xbox, then after this, the story for this game from a chronological stand point leads into the old Ninja Gaiden for the NES. I think we have a nice continuity there."". Video Gamer. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  7. ^ Luke, Anderson (2008-05-23). "Ninja Gaiden II: Q&A with Tomonobu Itagaki, "In story chronology as well, this takes place after the first Ninja Gaiden for Xbox and then after the story of this game it leads into the old NES ones, so I think we have a nice continuity there."". Gamespot. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  8. ^ This Web site coming soon
  9. ^ - Microsoft - TGS 2007 Ninja Gaiden II Developer Walkthrough
  10. ^ Demo: Ninja Gaiden II - Xbox Lives Major Nelson
  11. ^ Demo: Ninja Gaiden II Playable (Canada and US) - Xbox Lives Major Nelson
  12. ^ "Ninja Gaiden II rankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 2009-08-31.  
  13. ^ "Ninja Gaiden II metascore". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2009-08-31.  
  14. ^ Nick Suttner (2008-05-27). "1UP: Ninja Gaiden 2 (Xbox 360)". 1UP. Retrieved 2008-04-01.  
  15. ^ Edge, 191, Future Publishing, 2008-08, pp. 92–93  
  16. ^ a b c Rob Fahey (2008-03-07). "Eurogamer: Ninja Gaiden II Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-04-01.  
  17. ^ Reeves, Ben. "Gameinformer review". GameInformer. Retrieved 2009-08-31.  
  18. ^ Gametrailers (2008-05-26). "Ninja Gaiden 2 review". Gametrailers. Retrieved 2008-04-01.  
  19. ^ Louis Bedigian (2008-06-03). "Ninja Gaiden II Review". GameZone. Retrieved 2008-06-11.  
  20. ^ Eric Brudvig (2008-05-26). "IGN: Ninja Gaiden II Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-04-01.  
  21. ^ McCaffrey, Ryan. "Official Xbox Magazine review". Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved 2009-08-31.  
  22. ^ Dale Nardozzi (2008-06-02). "Ninja Gaiden 2 Review (Xbox 360)". Teamxbox. Retrieved 2008-06-03.  
  23. ^ IGN: Ninja Gaiden 2 Review
  24. ^ "Least Improved Sequel". Retrieved 2008-12-28.  
  25. ^ "Ninja Gaiden II Breaks One Million Barrier". Exophase. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  

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