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Published April 8, 2018

Okay, out the starting gate, Ninja Gaiden 1, 2 and 3 were among the toughest games to play for the NES. Gamers, myself included, were lucky to do so because we were skilled enough to destroy the best of the best within the game; the lives we lost were an inescapable frustration which caused many of us to rage quit or to leave the games alone altogether.

Garbage, I don’t know what other gamers are talking about!

However, that is where Ninja Gaiden Trilogy SNES comes in, it received so much hate because it didn’t play like the original trilogy and it also caused a lot gamers to feel robbed because the SNES trilogy was made differently. From experience, the original Ninja Gaiden Trilogy did hook a lot gamers in because of its replayability element along with the challenge it provided.

I struggled to beat these!

It cannot be argued that the SNES is a little different from the original trilogy, but make no mistake, the SNES trilogy is a superb game that is just as much fun and exciting as the original trilogy itself. I cannot argue with gamers saying that the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy was better because that’s their opinion, but after playing the SNES Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, I can say without a doubt that it is far better than the originals and here’s why.

Ryu takes far less damage

For one, Ryu takes far less damage in the SNES trilogy because the enemies do not hit as hard which works to the benefit of the gamer. When I played Ninja Gaiden III on the SNES trilogy, I made it to stage 7 in under 2 hours. Now, I want to go on record as saying that I was pretty much doing the same things I was doing in the original trilogy, except I was getting farther.

You’d be taking more damage than what you see!

Also, I want it to go on the record that if I had been playing the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy for the NES for two hours, do you know where I would have been; struggling to get through 3-1 and if I made it to 5-1, I would not have made it to 5-2 because Ryu takes 1.5x more damage in the original vs. the SNES trilogy.

The struggle was real!

In the Ninja Gaiden SNES trilogy, Ryu’s damage is reduced by 1.5 hence making it easier to recover from enemy hits. Also, I want to go on record as saying that when I played all 3 original Ninja Gaiden games for the NES, I had to use cheat codes to get through the game; I didn’t have to do that with the SNES trilogy.

Knockback from damage doesn’t send you spiraling into the nearest abyss

Upon taking damage while I was playing the SNES Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, I noticed that I didn’t suffer any significant knockback. I was only knocked back a few inches, not a few feet. I remember a time when I was playing Ninja Gaiden 1 for the NES and I was on stage 2-2, I was working to get across some pits and this wight ghost enemy threw his sword at me and knocked me off the platform.

The same wight ghost, I hate this area!

Knockback via taking damage doesn’t send you off into the abyss, you simply take damage and that is it. I want it to go on the record that in the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy SNES, the effect of knockback is reduced so it’s not strong enough to send you into the abyss losing life after life.

Losing lives is far less likely

One of the easiest things to do in the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for the NES is to lose lives whether it is because you misjudged a jump or you hesitated or you were taking too much damage. While I was playing the SNES Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, I didn’t hardly lose any lives when I was playing Ninja Gaiden III; I did lose a life or two because of my carelessness but nowhere near as many as I would have if I was playing the NES originals.

SNES trilogy makes having those lives possible!

I pride myself on bringing my A game when I play any video game including the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for both the NES and SNES; the SNES trilogy wasn’t nowhere near as hard as the originals hence losing lives was far less likely; it felt good to get to level 6 with a P-4 instead of a P-0 or a P-1

Enemies are less coordinated and slower

Another thing I noticed when I was playing the SNES Ninja Gaiden Trilogy was that enemies were a little less coordinated, it was so easy to get by or get past the enemies without using excessive force. I remember when I was playing Ninja Gaiden II on the SNES trilogy and I was on level 1.

The guy on the top platform was moving slower than usual!

I came to the part where the ninjas in red jumped up to pelt me with shurikens and I was able to destroy both, I experienced the same thing on stage 6-1 of Ninja Gaiden III on said trilogy; I usually have enemies breathing down my neck in the original but they were moving so slow in the SNES trilogy that I made it through without breaking a sweat.

The enemies in the SNES Ninja Gaiden trilogy seemed less focused and coordinated; there were times when I saw that the enemies were not focusing on Ryu at all. All I can say is, I took advantage of that and made my way forward; the SNES trilogy was, in my opinion, made to counteract the original in every way making it so gamers would have less trouble making it through the games. Also, passwords, very helpful.

Longer Invincibility Period

In the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy for the NES, Ryu took damage and recovered quickly which I guess had more to do with the game mechanics than the actual gamer. Ryu’s invincibility only lasted a second, it caused a problem because it seemed like the damage just multiplied from there if he was continuously attacked.

There was no invincibility in the original hence the damage you see!

In the SNES trilogy, anytime I took damage, the invincibility period lasted longer than a few seconds and I didn’t have to worry about damage piling up because my invincibility period outlasted the damage I would’ve taken.


The original Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for the NES were truly the hardest games to ever exist and they still are today, but it cannot be argued that many gamers like them that way. Ninja Gaiden Trilogy SNES was made to help give gamers that second chance they never had at beating those games in the original trilogy.

Incidentally, I love the SNES Ninja Gaiden Trilogy because it is a good game that’s different than the originals, less coordinated enemies, longer invincibility periods, losing lives was not a factor, knockback wasn’t as damaging or severe as it was in the originals.

My advice is this, don’t listen to anyone who says this game is bad because it is not; a game that has a password system built into it thereby allowing you to go to any stage you want is not all bad. Take my advice, play this game and be your own judge; don’t let any tell you otherwise.

If you have any questions or comment regarding my post then feel free to leave me a message and I’ll get back to you before the day is out.



  1. Ted Ted

    Hey R.J. Loved your article about the difference between the NES game and the SNES game. I played several games on both of those systems when they came out, but never played that particular game.

    It sounds like you are a much more advanced game player than I ever was, or ever would be for that matter. I like how in your article you were able explain a lot of the differences. I never knew there was such a big variation on any of the crossover games form NES to SNES.

    I am sure that you would get an argument from game players from each system, that the game on there system was better, because everyone usually has their favorites. If the SNES version is a little easier, I would probably fair better there, but not by much…

    • Rodney McGill Rodney McGill

      Hey Ted, thanks for reaching out and I appreciate the compliment about me being an advanced player, I’ve had a lot of practice; 29 years running with no stopping in sight. When I played the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy on SNES, I got so incredibly far whereas I was struggling on the NES versions; so incidentally, I made that to tell everyone what I discovered especially if they’re wanting a shot at beating the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy as opposed to not being able to because of the NES version complication. Also, video games are all about having fun and making discoveries, check my article here, I think you can relate to it https://strategiesforactionadv… Tell me what you think after you read it.

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