- Track: "Chaosium Sword"
- Composer: Nitta Ryuichi
- Composer: Okamura Mayuko
- Game: Ninja Gaiden II: Dark Sword of Chaos
- System: Nintendo
- Release: May, 1990
Mario, Mega Man) really didn't sync up much at all with the previous game. It just told a brand new story. Not so with the Ninja Gaiden games.
Ninja Gaiden II picks up right where Ninja Gaiden ends. As Ryu Hayabusa, the player defeats the final villain, Jaquio, an evil warlord in the Realm of Darkness, Ashtar, is made aware of Ryu's actions and sets his plan into motion. The opening scenes of the game detail this moment with "Chaosium Sword" playing in the background. The song definitely captures a sense of "the plot thickens" in its build up. Though somewhere in the world, Ryu must be celebrating his victory, dark forces are working behind the scenes to awaken and unleash their power on Earth. This song really captures that build up of a shadow army biding its time and preparing to strike.
It's an amazing song, and shows that even back on the NES, some of these composers were really taking it seriously. The Ninja Gaiden series, much like the Mega Man series, is really full of wonderful 8-bit tracks waiting to jam out in contemporary rock or metal.
Despite having jaw-dropping graphics and professional voice actors, they can't seem to capture the heart, emotion and imagination that old game cinematics used to have. Compare Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI to current titles and you see a stark difference. Both their cutscenes and endings (as TOP mentioned) go above and beyond, like a reward for making it as far as you did. This goes along with the shift from plot-driven gaming to a bigger focus on gameplay; instead of savoring a cinematic moment, I'm constantly looking for the skip button.
Like other songs on this list, "Chaosium Sword" has great pacing. It starts off slow and ominous. There are cracks of thunder (a clear sign that something evil is taking place!) followed by a great theme. I think this is clearly the best track of the Ninja Gaiden games (and the NES trilogy had some great songs), and I'm sad it wasn't revisited in the new generation of Ninja Gaiden games. "Chaosium Sword" will always be one of my favorites, and I can't wait to do a cover version when TOP and I finally get our band together.