Although I cut my teeth on Spectrum games from the late eighties such as ‘Disco Dan’ and ‘Oh Mummy’, I had always marvelled at difficult action titles from Japan such as ‘Shinobi’ , ‘Castlevania’ , ‘Ghosts and Goblins’. When my older brother and picked up our Megadrive in the early nineties, somehow someway, a copy of Revenge of Shinobi found it’s way into our collection. Since then, I’ve always had an obsession with Ninjas and fast forward to 2005, I picked up ‘Ninja Gaiden’ (Tecmo) for the original XBOX. I had never played the original famicom series (the Super Famicom trilogy appears as bonus content on the disc), but was after a game that would scratch that same itch I developed some 25 years back. Ninja Gaiden and particularly it’s update, Ninja Gaiden Black, became my favourite game of all time; it’s punishing difficulty, tight controls and amazing visuals literally blew my mind. The action genre had a new king, Devil May Cry had been deposed.
I view modern 3D action titles as an evolution of the classic arcade action platform series of the 80s and 90s (Castlevania, Contra, Shinobi, Strider , Rastan, Ninja Gaiden et al) spliced with the combat mechanics of scrolling beat ‘em ups classics such as’ Final Fight’ and Streets of Rage After much research, I’ve since sought out the best titles in both the 2D and 3D realms of this particular genre with the goal of playing and owning these titles.