First Impressions: The hardest portable title since adult movies came to the PSP.
Video game developer Tecmo reinvented the classic Ninja Gaiden franchise for the next generation with the releases of Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Black for the Xbox. Like their NES predecessors the two Xbox games quickly became must-have hits. The two games encapsulated everything notable about the series such as punishing difficulty, adrenaline pumping action, stellar graphics, and the addition of critically lauded buxom female protagonists. Tecmo's Team Ninja is planning on bringing all these elements and more to the Nintendo DS in 2007 with Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword.
As with past Ninja Gaiden games, the player controls ninja extraordinaire Ryu Hayabusa. The game's story takes place six months after the events chronicled in the Xbox and PS3 games. Any specifics are sketchy, although knowing Team Ninja it is a good bet that monster ass kicking and women with bosoms the size of watermelons are involved.
What makes Dragon Sword unique is that the player controls Ryu almost exclusively with the stylus. The portable's buttons are only used for defensive moves. While this may seem limiting, in actuality the player can pull off most of Ryu's moves from the Xbox titles. As one would expect, drawing a vertical or horizontal line causes Ryu to swing his sword in the respected direction. To jump you tap the screen twice. While doing this you can tap enemies to unleash a shuriken attack or perform Ryu's patented downward thrust move (with his sword people). The player performs Ryu's ninpo attacks by drawing shapes with the stylus.
Another interesting new feature is that the game is played by holding the DS vertically like a book. Fans of the DS title Hotel Dusk will be readily familiar with this gameplay style. Princple action takes place on the touch screen while the second screen displays a map.
As with past entires, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword features impressive graphics. While the characters are 3D, the backgrounds are all beautifully 2D rendered. Reportedly the game is also incredibly fast for a DS title.