Part 21: Ninja Gaiden Black: Chapter 9
Ninja Gaiden is a fantastic game, but that does not mean there are a few spots in the game that are noticeably less fun than the rest of it. This chapter is one of those.
A two-handed sword used by ancient Vigoorian Berserkers. Due to its 100-pound heft it is very powerful.
THE heavy weapon of Ninja Gaiden 1. Forget the Warhammer, this monster of a sword makes it obsolete in the very chapter that both weapons can acquired, and around the end of this one does it start to get more use. What makes the Dabilahro better than the Warhammer? More practical and powerful moves, be it a short, decisive slash, or a full multi hit combo. Not versatile or fast like other weapons, but great for players that love to kill things really fast (like me).
Arrows with explosive tips. Very destructive.
They do what you'd expect. The arrows create an explosion upon impact that has a small area of effect to damage multiple enemies and even launch them in the air. They are in essence arrow versions of the Incendiary Shurikens but without the delayed damage after getting pegged.
APFSDS Core Arrows
The core section of tank shells. Made from a heavy tungsten material, they have superb penetration capability.
The last arrow type that I still struggle to remember the name off the top of my head consistently, but while these do not have an explosive effect, they are extremely powerful and seem more designed for dealing with enemies that have very tough armor or high health. Naturally they'd be the most practical for fights with the tanks and helicopter, but outside of that, in my experience I always used them as a fallback when I run out of regular arrows. Besides, with the strongbow, things like falloff or accuracy aren't a factor to consider between arrow types.
Unlike in Sigma, there was originally only one type of helicopter drone, and this one was most likely to be the biggest pain. Unlike bullets which can be blocked or dodge rolled through, these things have large sweeping lasers that cannot be blocked, nor rolled through. Trying to fight these things without good use of projectiles and mobility will result in the player getting subjected to huge amounts of knockback, on par with getting hit by a rocket.
In the time after DMC1's release right up to the vanilla version of DMC3, it was somewhat of a trend for action game designers, for whatever reason, to have the player fight against military vehicles when there wasn't really good reason to. Ninja Gaiden unfortunately is no exception. However, rather than slash or punch at these tanks endlessly, the game requires the use of the bow much like everything else in this chapter. It's not fun, but it goes fairly quickly when you know to keep up the pressure.
One of the understated parts about this fight is how the top gunner affects the fight, or rather how you can easily deal with him to put the fight more in your favor. Getting pelted repeatedly with bullets isn't fun, but the gunner will recognize when an arrow is pointed his way and not the tank's, and will duck inside. This gives you a reprieve from the bullets but not the main cannon, which is always set to start turning in Ryu's direction and fire immediately upon gaining line of sight. That part however is very easy to work around as it works on a fixed timer between each tank shell.
This is also the first fight that lets you decide which is more useful to use, the explosive arrows or APFSDS cores. While the latter are just mini tank shells with high damage penetration, as you'll see I always go for the explosives due to the blast radius damaging both the tank and the gunner, plus the tank has two separate hitboxes that when caught in the explosion register as two hits instead of one, making up mostly for the lack of power per single shot. It's easier to deal with, and in a fight that is ultimately uninteresting no matter what, there's no point in making it complicated.
Yep, two tanks weren't enough, gotta fight a helicopter. Like before, this one is entirely based around the bow, but it's also way more straightforward than the tank. Just take the APFSDS cores, and fire, all while occasionally rolling out of the way to avoid the barrage of missiles. Oh yeah, I guess the gimmick with this one is the blinding headlights, which usually becomes prevalent when it goes under the bridge and back up the other side, as it's so upclose that the headlights should be overwhelming. But it honestly doesn't make it harder to hit the damn thing, and with the piercing shots it goes down arguably faster than a single tank fight.