By Geoff Keighley
Updated April 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

There are ninja games and then there is Ninja Gaiden, the follow-up to the classic ’80s-era Nintendo title. Tecmo has done a nice job with this renewal project: The levels are satisfyingly expansive; the gameplay is fluid and fast (and fiendishly difficult). And maestros of mayhem will totally love the hero’s Cirque du Soleil-like dexterity, allowing him to slice and dice enemies while somersaulting around the room. Next to Gaiden, other fighting games are (very finely) chopped liver.