MOVIE NEWS – Ninja Gaiden is one of the most brutal video game series ever made, but could it be more than that? After all, similar games have been made into movies.
Ninja Gaiden is a video game series created by Japanese developer Tecmo, which began in 1988 with the release of the first game in the series, Ninja Gaiden, for both the Nintendo Entertainment System and arcades. Although the game was frustratingly difficult, it spawned two sequels in 1990 and 1991 and even some spin-offs developed by Japan’s Sega.
However, the series became genuinely famous after receiving a soft reboot treatment in 2004 (in which the events of the original games are mentioned but never discussed), when the similarly titled Ninja Gaiden was released for the original Xbox, the first game in a brand new trilogy. After the success of the 2004 game, Tecmo wisely followed up with Ninja Gaiden 2 in 2008 and Ninja Gaiden 3 in 2012, all three continuing the series’ tradition of frustratingly tricky but not impossible games to beat.
At the heart of the series are the extraordinary adventures of Ryu Hayabusa, the tough ninja…
…and his quest to dismember and eviscerate as many villainous humans and devils (monsters, etc.) as possible, often in unnecessarily violent and bloody ways. Of course, there’s a bit more to the story than that, but the Ninja Gaiden series, like its contemporary Mortal Kombat, has never shied away from depicting blood and violence. Ninja Gaiden and Mortal Kombat are pretty similar in terms of the level of violence on screen. This is by no means a bad thing. All it means is that they have the same target audience.
However, said target audience recently saw a brand new Mortal Kombat movie that contained the same amount of blood and violence as the games, so the market clearly exists for such a movie. All we need is for someone else to take advantage of it.
The Ninja Gaiden games are very characterised by the way in which they portray characters, both male and female, but predominantly female.
There have always been problems with the portrayal of female characters.
Some characters are long-time fan favourites and have consistently maintained their appearance in the games. As a result, fans expect them always to look a certain way. With this in mind, all the female characters in the Ninja Gaiden series are in bombshell form. Even in the 2004 Ninja Gaiden game, one of the central female characters, Rachel, goes into battle in what can only be described as a tight leather dominatrix outfit, and no one asks why.
The main character in the series, Ryu Hayabusa, is not exactly innocent in this either, as she also goes into battle in a tight leather outfit that shows off her muscles. So really, the question here is whether the makers will adapt these characters exactly as they appear in the games or update their appearance to make them less risque. Either way, they should expect that there will be some people who don’t like the end result.
Unusual levels of brutality
As mentioned earlier, the Ninja Gaiden series is comparable to Mortal Kombat in terms of the amount of blood and violence it presents. As well as the appearance of female characters, Ninja Gaiden has always been a ‘form over substance’ type of game, where the plot or character development takes a back seat to style. The brutal and needlessly violent way in which Ryu Hayabusa kills her enemies has always been one of the game’s main selling points.
With this in mind, a movie or series should adopt the same philosophy if it wants to appeal to the game’s fans and the general audience. That said, the style is already there, so the story can be written better. Not that there needs to be much of a story, more just an excuse for Ryu Hayabusa to slice things up literally.