Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is the product of one too many creative minds and ideas coming into a single game. Spark Unlimited, Team Ninja over at Tecmo, both under the direction of Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, have come together to make a ninja hack ‘n slash game that also has zombies.
Sounds a little insane, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Yaiba‘s off-the-wall presentation and combat come front and center as the stars of this wild ride. Ryu Hayabusa must lead the charge against an invading army of zombie corpses. No problem, right? His ninja skills are just too plentiful for mindless zombies.
Too true, in fact. Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden II both featured even the simplest of enemies which could rock Ryu Hyabusa’s world if he dropped his guard for a microsecond. Here, enemies are mindless and lined up to be killed in stylish fashion. What fun are beating enemies if they are practically begging for death?
There are a few tough zombies who can block and change it up, but, by and large, hacking away gets the job done. Much like Ninja Gaiden II, Yaiba adds an execution button, which can be used to instantly dispose of a zombie in mid combo if a correct button is pressed. Quick dispatches lead to more powerful combos which leads to more mindless hacking and executions.
There is a sense of humor about it all. The cartoonish style creating great moments of zombie humor. One zombie runs over another accidentally while driving a steam roller, unsuccessfully telling him to get out of the way.
Plus, Ryu looks great. The purple cowl and pointed hood throw back more to the days of the NES rather than the popular remodel he received on the Xbox reboot. When the hood comes off, though, he is a scarred insane psychopath who rides his enemies like a bucking bronco.
Yaiba is good cheesy fun, and a bit more of a throwback to simpler games from a simpler time. Mindless hacking through mobs of enemies and blocking when another one starts. Easy as pie.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z will be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iOS, giving me the idea that it will be a digital only game. Good thing, because this is definitely a $15-$20 hack ‘n’ slash bonanza, not the $60 HD revamp of the Ninja Gaiden series you are looking for.