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(Pocket-lint) - Playing out a classic story of revenge, Ninja Gaiden, back for its third instalment on the Xbox rather than the NES this time, sees you playing Ryu Hayabusa avenging the death of your village massacre by the Vigor Empire. As the box demands - your mission is to annihilate your enemies and defeat the Holy Emperor, reclaiming the magical sword “Ryuken” that they have of course stolen and plan to use to destroy the world. This premise pretty much sums up the storyline and the gameplay - in that there will be plenty of fighting to do along side going on a journey to get the damn sword back.

Complementing all of this is a series of swashbuckling ninja moves, which see you jumping, running and perching off walls, plenty of swordplay and the odd ninja star throwing. Bad guys come thick and fast irrelevant of the difficulty level you choice (there are two to start a further even harder level once the game has been completed). In true arcade action adventure style once you beaten most of the bad guys you will have to contend with the end of level bad guy and this games offers to pit you against 15.

The gameplay takes on the true action adventure spirit offering puzzles to solve, new skills to learn and basic running around levels killing and solving as you go - think of Tomb Raider without the tigers and ninja warriors instead.

Graphics are good, albeit not great, and games like the recent Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow put this to shame. If you are going to have beacons lighting your way down dark passages that can be destroyed you expect when they are destroyed for the lights to go out- no such joy.

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Like most Xbox titles, this has been given the online experience treatment and you can download extra kit, downloadable content and high score tournaments and the usual array of other unlockable gems depending on whether you find them in the game.


Overall this is a good swashbuckling yarn that ticks all the boxes if you are looking for an action adventure title with some swordplay and plenty of bouncing off walls. It would have been nice if more attention had been paid to the scenery (ie the lighting) but then you can't have everything and perhaps Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow has spoilt it for us. If you need to vent some angst and are looking to do it by the sword, look no further.

Writing by Stuart Miles.