Sigma vs. Dragon Sword
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 9:45AM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Action, Dynamics, Level Design, Mechanics, Review

1up's Shane Bettenhausen gave Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for the Nintendo DS a favorable score because of of the game's tight controls, sharp visuals, and distinguished unique feel unique to the handheld machine. This DS game received an 83.1% average score on while its "older brother" console counterpart, Ninja Gaiden: Black/Sigma, received a 94.0% score.

Comparing the two games was inevitable. Some have created expectations that are different and often times lower for handheld games These gamers believe that handheld games are inherently less deep and complex with shorter overall gameplay experiences, which are better suited for playing in small bursts. I don't believe any of these conditions are inherent to handheld games. The principles of game design can be applied to any game. The better we understand these principles, the more it becomes obvious that games are games no matter what system they're on.

Itagaki and the developers at Tecmo/Team Ninja set Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword up nicely to be compared to Sigma because the majority of animations, enemies, bosses, and locations are the same between the two games. Having beaten Ninja Gaiden: Sigma, jumping into Dragon Sword was like picking up right where I left off. As you can see, the two games appear to be nearly identical.




The bottom line: Ninja Gaiden Sigma is better for its combat and presentation, while Dragon Sword is the cleaner game due to the dual screen support and touch screen controls.











Understanding the similarities and differences between these two games is a great way to not only understand differences in a console game and a DS game, but it gives us a chance to clear our thoughts and really see what the essence of a Ninja Gaiden game is. The jump form the PS3 to the DS is a huge one, yet many of my experiences between the games are the same. Personally, I'm a staunch supporter of clean game design and deep combat systems. However, at the end of the day, I'm leaning towards Sigma for my Gaiden of choice.


Article originally appeared on Critical-Gaming Network (
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