Like movie adaptations from books, video games are often changed through translation. Some times console games are translated with much sacrifice to their arcade counter parts, and then sometimes when a game is translated, they ditch the original idea and give us something completely different. Ninja Gaiden is one of those saga's.
Ninja Gaiden originally started in the Arcade. It was the classic story of man on a mission to save his girl, his honor, and to kill 50 or 60 men. The arcade game was based around story, something not found in a lot of arcade games of the era. The release on the Nintendo Entertainment System by Tecmo was based very much of the story, however the game play was much more action oriented. Both games were fun, both had their advantages, but truth be told, I was always much more into the home version of Ninja Gaiden.
Tecmo went on to release two sequels on the N.E.S., and then release a compilation Super Mario All Star-esque cartridge on the Super NES. However, the game has gone nowhere since. Either in the arcade, or in the home market.
What is interesting about Atari's portable system, is that even after all these years and all these systems, the Lynx is the only system to house both version of the theme. Both the arcade classic, but also the third installment of the N.E.S. series that focused on the action.
The original Ninja Gaiden on the Atari Lynx is a faithful translation of the arcade game. It's not exactly 2D, but it's really not 3D. You beat up similar looking on coming attackers through several extremely difficult levels. The game sports some fantastic graphics, and is a grade A action game for a system that need was in need of action games.
The game plays well, but the arcade game originally offered three buttons. This is hard to get used to, all things considered. But other than that, this is a fantastic effort!