Part 3: Ninja Gaiden Black: Chapter 2
Ryu's training is interrupted by a surprise attack on his village from an unknown force. We move from fighting ninja to samurai and mages, and gain some new tools along the way. Also we temporarily invoke a time paradox that has less ramifications for this game but an entirely different one.
Lunar Lvl. 1
A staff that is said to harbor the mysterious power of the moon. Crafted from the strong branch of a willow tree.
A weapon that was not part of the original game, but added in the first Hurricane Pack DLC. The hitbox on this weapon is much larger than the Dragon's Sword, and it's speed makes it an ideal weapon when tackling the higher difficulties and it's tough crowds of enemies. In fact, each higher difficulty places the Lunar Staff earlier in Chapter 1, with Master Ninja difficulty giving it to you from the word go.
When used, this item explodes, temporarily blinding all enemies in the immediate area.
Another weapon that was not included in the original game, these projectile items do not do any damage but rather distract enemies in order to leave them open for attack. Kind of a neat gimmick that's in line with what you'd expect from a traditional ninja's tools, but the smoke cloud is incredibly small, and it doesn't really effect enemies that are already mid attack. Used somewhat during Karma Runs, but I prefer the stun effect of the regular shuriken, or extra damage caused by later projectiles.
A typical bow. As a projectile weapon that makes no sound, it has advantages over firearms.
The bow can only be fired from a standing position and has a first person camera for aiming whenever the left stick is moved (similar to 3D Zelda games of the time). The right trigger allows for zooming which provides greater accuracy but with slower aim speed. Obviously using this leaves you exposed, but even the regular arrows are some of the more damaging projectiles that can disrupt an enemy's attack.
Art of the Flame Wheels
Allows Ryu to control the spiritual waveforms around him and create fire wheels that circle him.
The first Ninpo the player gets, this is in fact an updated version of the Fire Wheels from the original NES Ninja Gaiden. It works the same way by creating balls of fire that circle Ryu, and anything it touches gets seriously burned. However, it is very limited in its power as the strength of each flame isn't enough to deal with later enemies and cannot be upgraded like the other Ninpo arts.
Art of the Inferno
Allows Ryu to control fire at will, first enveloping him in flame and then shooting a fireball in front of him.
While the second Ninpo that the player can acquire, it is the first real one as it has significant attack power, creating a single fireball that can one shot any human sized opponent. It can also be upgraded with special items later on in the game, making the fireball even more potent. It's the first of three Ninpo Arts that serve a specific function, this one being a concentrated powerful hit on a single enemy.
Armlet of the Sun
An armlet engraved with a picture of the sun. When equipped, Ryu's attack power will increase.
An accessory that is highly recommended for the majority of the game, to both new and experienced players. The actual percentage increase to damage is 5%, but despite it being marginal every bit of damage helps in ending fights faster. Whether you want to avoid prolonging a battle any further to survive, or if you want to hit the par times for each fight in a Karma Run.
While not acrobatic like the Shadow Clan Ninja, the Samurai have a much stronger defense, withstanding quite a few hits before having their guard broken. The hardest part is finding a way to open them up and follow up with a full combo before they recover. Still, like the ninja, their difficulty comes in their numbers, but even one on one they're not that much harder.
These magic wielders often fight from a distance, summoning a ball of energy to fire at Ryu. Getting close to them doesn't solve the problem as their defense is disappearing then reappearing for a quick 4 hit combo with a pair of sai. That said, their constitution is increadibly weak, and once caught off guard are pretty much dead. Also on higher difficulties, the amount of energy balls they fire increases by two, with Master Ninja having these fuckers shoot a whopping 7 at once. Try dodging all of those safely.
They're treated somewhat like minibosses, as they start on horse back and approaching them is incredibly difficult with the charging horses inflicting damage. They come in two varieties, one being an archer that takes shots from a distance, the other with a large spear that can impale Ryu and drag him along the ground. Once knocked off their horses however, they become just regular samurai, and the same strategies for defeating them still apply.
Masakado is just a special colored version of the spear horsemen. He has no unique attacks to his own, and the actual challenge is not being caught off guard by the mages that assist him. While it doesn't happen on normal, the higher difficulties show that the boss health bar is actually for the horse, and like the regular horseman, Masakado without his steed becomes just another samurai. A rather resilient, damage sponge samurai that is.