Ninja Gaiden Pacifist Speedrun Is Impressive AF

Ninja Gaiden Pacifist Speedrun Is Impressive AF
Image: Tecmo / Archive.org

Ninja Gaiden protagonist Ryu Hayabusa deals with a lot of bullshit in the iconic NES platformer from 1989, so it only makes sense that he would obliterate everything in his path en route to finding his father’s killer. But speedrunners, the crazy people that they are, have devised a way to beat the game without killing a single enemy (apart from the unavoidable bosses, of course).

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The world was recently treated to these death-defying stunts courtesy of Chilean speedrunner and category world record holder Edo_87, who hopped on the Summer Games Done Quick stream Monday morning to demonstrate his unique skills. What followed was an exciting 15-minute run of tight movement and strategic damage-taking, none of which involved lifting Ryu’s blade against the host of enemies trying to put an end to his quest.

Some of the coolest moments during this run come when Edo_87 pauses to allow enemies to fill the screen with projectiles. This may seem counterintuitive, but what he’s doing is pushing Ninja Gaiden to its limits. If too many projectiles are on-screen at one time, it forces the game to not spawn certain enemies so as to avoid hitting the sprite limit, which could have adverse effects on gameplay.

Edo_87 also does so much damage-boosting (i.e. intentionally taking damage to sneak by tricky groups of enemies while invulnerable, or to land on out-of-reach platforms via knockback) that he often enters boss battles one or two hits away from death. But even while limited to Ryu’s sword (pacifists don’t grab the special ninja art power-ups, naturally), he manages to make every encounter look like the easiest thing in the world.

Out of all the impressive stuff shown at Games Done Quick every year, this is the kind of showboating accomplishment that keeps me coming back for more. Beating games fast is old hat; show me someone who beats games fast and does it as stylishly as Edo_87 and I’ll be there, no questions asked.

Comments

  • Absolutely insane. I played this game as a kid, back when I still had the patience and willpower to just keep trying the same section of a game over and over again until I could do it, and this was that game I just could not beat. Could never get past the two-boss section right at the end. Three decades that’s niggled at me, and this guy just does it like it’s nothing. Crazy.

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