Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
Tecmo has been much-criticized for the last decade for releasing numerous versions of the same Ninja Gaiden games. With the wacky Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z, gamers won’t have any reason to complain about re-using old ideas.
Series star Ryu Hayabusa is seen in the game’s first cutscene, as he violently kills a rival ninja named Yaiba. Two weeks later, the new character has been revived thanks to cyborg technology. Players then assume the role of Yaiba as he slashes his way through a zombie-infested world.
Sword attacks such as the ones typically seen in the series are still a part of this Ninja Gaiden spin-off, but ridiculous new attacks are possible after slaughtering enemies. Yaiba can chop off a zombie’s arms and use them as nunchuks, or grab the foe’s entire body with his mech arm and flail it around like a whip.
Zombie bodies will sometimes be used to solve environmental puzzles, such as one I saw that involved a steamroller. A zombie sat behind the wheel of the vehicle, which I needed to move to progress through the level. By tossing a zombie in front of the steamroller, the driver becomes distracted and drives forward, clearing the way.
Another puzzle causes a zombie to drive a truck up a ramp, which then crashes directly into the crotch of giant leg props that sit above a lingerie store. After the truck explodes between the legs, a rain of panties begins falling from the sky. Yaiba looks up at the sky and spreads his arms, welcoming the falling underwear. His wacky sense of humor is surprising to see in the usually-serious Ninja Gaiden series, but it’s a nice change of pace. We’ll see if this new take on the series brings fans back after the disappointing Ninja Gaiden 3 when Yaiba releases in 2014.