TGS 2007: Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword hands-on

After seeing recent footage of Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for the Nintendo DS in action, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the actual thing and try it for ourselves. Tecmo had a short demo for us to run through to finally see how ninja combat would work with a stylus.

All interaction takes place through the DS’s touch screen. Using the stylus, Ryu moves through levels by following where the stylus is pointed. When enemies are encountered, stylus commands determine what kind of attack is performed. For example, simply tapping the screen throws projectiles to that point, so tapping directly on an enemy has them eating metal. Horizontal slashes peform horizontal sword strikes, and combinations of moves initiate special attacks like the Inazuna Drop. It sounds simplistic, but controlling and attacking with a stylus feels slick, and it’s almost like having a little sword in your hands.

Enemies come in waves and vary in difficulty, and those simply “scribbling” on the DS touch screen will see a game over screen quickly. It takes some strategy and reflexes to keep enemies at bay, and there were enough raining down to keep me busy. The demo is very short, ending up with a boss battle against a huge red dragon. I tried to “pew pew” it to death with throwing weapons to no avail, and eventually had to move in with quick slashes while avoiding attacks. It wasn’t particularly difficult, the the battle was challenging enough to leave me with a satisfied feeling.

The TGS demo was quite short, and we’d like to spend a bit more quality time the the final game, but Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword is already looking like a solid game and a worthy addition to the Ninja Gaiden series.

Dale North