After nearly three hundred issues, Nintendo Power is finally coming to an end. To send this long-running periodical off in style, the Cover Critic has decided to review every single issue. Join him as he experiences every aspect of Nintendo's journey through their magazine covers.
As it turns out, not every video game needs a strategy guide. Ninja Gaiden II is one of those games. While Super Mario Bros. 3 is a game full of cleverly placed secrets and complicated level designs, this Tecmo sequel is as straight forward as an action game can be. Its challenge isn't in finding hidden exits or traversing a labyrinthine map to the boss. Ninja Gaiden II is tough because of unfair platforming challenges, birds that dive bomb you out of nowhere and bosses that have no intention of letting you win. I can certainly understand spending 10 or 15 laying out all of the strategies, but creating a full strategy guide seems a bit much.
Nevertheless, this is Nintendo's second stab at the bi-monthly guide. While I may scoff at its purpose, I'm happy to have another Nintendo Power cover starring a man in a ninja costume. When we last left faux Ryu Hayabusa, he had just keyed my car and was giving me the crazy eyes. Now he's trying to sneak into Ashtar's evil lair. He looks on at the narrow, winding path. Ryu knows that this is a one-way trip. Man, I'm never going to get my unlicensed Calvin & Hobbs car magnet back.
It's not immediately clear what is real and what is fake. We know that the ninja is a real person, but the rock he's standing on blends in nicely with the rest of the artwork. Furthermore, the lair's entrance is adorned with a golden skull filled with bright light and certain doom. In the distance the mountains are dodging lightning strikes, just in case the bright red sky, glowing skull and non-stop enemy guards weren't ominous enough. It may not be very original, but this is a marked improvement over Nintendo Power's first attempt.