Ninja Gaiden II

Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating.

Content sum up: Even if there was an option to turn off blood, and the heavily bizarre environments, enemies and story were toned down, this is still one of most challenging, frustrating game's in its genre—this goes for kids and adults alike, even on its easiest setting. Add this, with a brief scene of female nudity, and pervasive, over-the-top blood/gore, and this is simply more suited to older teens and adults. So, I recommend this game for ages 17+.

Blood and gore: The blood effects are quite extreme, as they fly in spurts and spray everywhere in deep red and/or gooey green consistancy, lingering in water, on walls, floors, and your weapons (that you'll eventually fling off before holstering), and blood never disappears. You can also use your bladed weapons to lop off enemy arms, legs, heads, and sever them from the waist, with every detail (bone, muscle tissue) visible as their stumps fly off and then linger about the area. If blunt weapons or incendiary shurikens (throwing stars) are used, enemies explode into large bloody chunks as you hit them (these chunks will disappear). Playable character, Ryu, also sheds the same blood, and when the—mostly humanoid—enemies rush you, they will jump him, stick their swords in his gut and explode, resulting in the effects mentioned above. Lastly, Enemies still fight, even after cutting off their arms and legs, and to finish them off (a common occurance) Ryu will (depending on the equipped weapon), slash them in the back or cut off their heads. There is no option to turn blood off.

Specific scenes of blood & gore:

  • The beginning scene shows Sonia (main female character) ambushed by enemy ninja. She shoots a couple in the head, with very bloody results. But, as she is about to make her escape, the enemy catches her. Ryu (protagonist) shows up, slashes an enemy in the back, throws a shuriken in another enemy's face, and cuts the last enemy in half diagonally, all with very bloody/gory results.
  • Ryu shoots a flying monster in the neck in mid-air. He then proceed to jump on it, crash it to the ground, and then lop it's head off with bloody results.
  • A later scene shows a werewolf fighting a human gladiator, whom the werewolf then rips apart. The werewolf leader gets bored at this and tears apart many of his own werewolf followers. He then tells those left to find him a man who can give him a challenge. The werewolves then follow these orders, as they're seen running the streets mauling civilians (with very bloody results). Ryu arrives and cuts a werewolf from top to bottom, as you see every bloody, gory detail.
  • A later level shows a female antagonist usher what appears to be blood raining from the sky. While navigating this level, blood rains and floods into waterfalls, lakes, down rocks in streams and pools into puddles. And in the further, hellish open cavern area, it, too, has vast amounts of blood flowing like water.
  • When you defeat the female antagonist, blood spurts from her back, as she falls into a wading pool full of blood; it drains down a large pipe with her in it.
  • A later scene shows an old man dispatch of a dozen ninja by dismembering said ninja from the waist, arms, legs and neck—all with very bloody/gory effects.
  • The last level appears hellish, with blood flowing and pooling everywhere, trees that burn eternally, and walls and doors made of gooey, writhing flesh.

Intense violence: Ninja Gaiden II's story starts one year after the first, and involves CIA agent, Sonia, searching for protagonist Ryu Hayabusa, in order to inform him that a greater fiend's followers are trying to resurrect it. However, before Sonia can warn him, she's captured by said demon's followers just as Ryu shows up. Ryu tries to save her, but fails. Now to save her, and stop the demon's revival...

You'll be fighting hundreds of enemies, ranging from vampire bats, humanoid ninja, a variety of monsters, werewolves (that fling their fellow's corpses at you) dragon-like birds (etc.), and combating them with swords, scythes, bow and arrows, metal claws, throwing stars, etc. The combat is intense, with heartpumping, near impossible odds, and a feeling (and reality) that you could die any minute, with the bosses themselves being very large, scary and bizarre. But while the combat is gory and brutal, the feel of violence is far more arcade-like than realistic; that is, think of a cheap, over-the-top "B" fantasy/slasher movie and you have Ninja Gaiden II.

Partial nudity: A later scene shows a group of fiends raving during a strange ritual. You then see the main female villain (human) in a scant bikini top and thong showing a brief view of her nearly bare behind. And later in, the main character comes in and sees her in a bath of blood. A shot then shows her fully nude breasts, upper body and legs, but for a thin layer of blood, as she sits in it. She gets up, affording a brief view of her bare behind, and then the front of her nude body.

Suggestive Themes: All of the female characters have heavily exaggerated bust/hip sizes, and are scantily clad, with noticeable breast physics in play.

Mild language: (The ESRB did not mention this in their rating) Language in cutscenes is quite sparse and mostly constitutes a few uses of d*mn. However, there are some optional scrolls that you can take from ninja bodies and then read; two of these books contain a total of five uses of d*mn and three uses of hell and a**.

Content review posted: 06/28/2008

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