Part 1: Ninja Gaiden Black: Chapter 1
Let's start the journey of Ryu Hayabusa as he undergoes training at a Ninja fortress hidden in the mountains. One of my fondest first levels in all of video games, there's a lot to take in with the ambience and tight design of this environment. Not to mention that end of chapter boss fight. Enjoy a look at how Ninjas do training, where bokkens and training dummies are for pussies and the only suitable target is a living person.
In addition, here are extra materials regarding weapons, enemies, and all manner of information that there simply wasn't enough time to fully cover in the video.
Dragon Sword Lvl. 1
A Japanese Sword handed down in the Hayabusa Ninja Clan. It is carved from a dragon's fang.
Ryu Hayabusa's signature weapon, and the most versatile of all of Ryu's arsenal throughout the game. The starting combos are useful when combined with Ryu's mobility, and the sword's Enhanced and Ultimate Techniques remain potent to the very end. While most major weapons have three levels of power, the Dragon Sword actually has four. But we won't see it's final form until much, much later.
A simple cross-shaped throwing star.
The starting projectile of the game, and the one with unlimited ammunition. While dealing minimal damage, it always stuns enemies that are caught without their guard up, leaving them open just a bit longer for a full combo. Like the Dragon Sword, it is intended for use throughout most of the game due to its versatility.
Lesser Shadow Clan Ninja
Of the ninja enemies present across the game (and difficulty levels) these are on the bottom of the totem pole, denoted by their simple brown garb. Their moveset shares some similarities with Ryu's lvl 1 Dragon Sword, such as a simple two hit combo, a running slash, an upward swing, a simple shuriken attack, and the Reverse Wind technique. Despite seeming like an even playing ground, Ryu can still perform so much more with just a low level sword, and using the full extent of your arsenal can make quick work of these.
Shadow Clan Ninja
The next rung up on the ninja totem pole, these white robed Ninja have a few extra moves that the lesser ninja do not exhibit. For one they're capable of a four hit combo and can wall run around an arena for an opportunity to use a Helmet Splitter attack. They also have a slightly higher rate of using the Reverse Wind technique to dodge attacks, as well as use Shuriken to disrupt Ultimate Techniques. A marginally more threatening enemy.
These bats appear harmless but allowing them near Ryu will lead them to bite and take away health. They are at the very least extremely weak, going down in one hit from a shuriken. In a spot where there's a huge swarm, it's good to destroy them all for extra essence, especially if it's blue.
These birds just sit around doing nothing unless approached, in which case they just fly away. They can however be hit if you're good at aiming projectiles or can do a jumping slash at the right time. Why would you be so cruel to an animal like that? It drops essence which depending on the situation can be used to immediately start a battle with an ultimate technique, a strategy that is sometimes used in Karma Runs of this game.
One of the most infamous first bosses in character action games, up there with the likes of Phantom and Cerberus in DMC1 and 3 respectively. Murai is a certified Master Ninja with a near impregnable defense, and moves that can counter any action the player may attempt. He's tough to get a handle on compared to the enemies faced before, but like everything fought up to this point, there are ways around him.
- Murai has a 3 Hit Nunchuck Combo that he can stop at any point to change into another attack. The logic behind him swinghing his nunchucks 1, 2, or three times is based on the player's proximity. He'll be more likely to do the full combo when you are up close and blocking his attacks. Otherwise, he'll stop after the first and second hit to transition into the following attacks.
- Murai has a powerful forward charge that deals quite a bit of damage, but it's telegraphed very easily, and is the best opportunity to retaliate as his defenses are down. While he charges once and then stops, on the higher difficulties he starts chaining them together, resulting in a triple charge attack on the highest difficulty.
- If you think to hit him from behind, Murai has a back kick that will also reorient his position to be facing you. It's the weakest of his arsenal and pretty easy to recover from though, but it goes to show he has all of his sides covered.
- The most devastating of Murai's moves is his ability to bypass your guard by grabbing you, and even perform a DOA style counter if you're attacking way to frequently. Any attack during this can be countered, even an Ultimate Technique. It's deadliness cannot be understated.
- Shuriken are useless in this fight as any projectile thrown at Murai will be deflected by his nunchucks. And they will hurt you in return. It's possible to avoid damage from them if you throw the shuriken's while running forward on the ground. Throwing in the air or just standing will leave you exposed.
- If you attack Murai enough times without him grabbing you out of a combo, the two will lock weapons into a clash in which the player must mash the attack button to win. Winning this struggle leaves Murai open for a full combo, but losing will leave you open for the same thing.