This is Ryu Hayabusa’s first outing on the Nintendo DS and I’ve been itching to play it ever since I saw footage of the interesting control method. You hold the DS like a book and draw on the screen to control the little Ninja. He follows where you drag the stylus and swipes and swooshes at his enemies when you draw through them. If you’ve ever played Zelda: Phantom Hourglass you’ll get into this straight away and this is actually great fun to play.
Occasionally you’re left scribbling the screen like a teenager desperately trying to finish an exam before the time runs out and this method does work quite well although is ultimately less fun than if you actually think about how you’re fighting.
Although the 3D models are at quite a low resolution, the backdrops are stunning and the cut-scenes are drawn out like a cartoon. Your lady friend gets kidnapped by the evil Spider Clan and you must go and get her back by exploring forests, villages and other worlds by stepping through portals. As well as swiping on the screen you can tap on enemies to throw shurikens and fire arrows at enemies in the distance and you can tap a symbol to cast a spell. You then have a small time limit to draw a symbol on the screen and can then control electricity, fire and other elements to lay some ninja smackdown on your enemy’s tender behinds.
On the left screen there’s also a handy map that shows where you’re going to make sure you’re never left wandering around and thankfully there are regular save points so if the action does get a bit too tough you’re not left retracing your steps too much. If you’re used to the console versions this game won’t challenge you as much and is lots shorter – however it’s a quality game and is still a great ninja romp! Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword for the DS gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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