Ninja Gaiden has an odd history. Unlike other familiar NES ports such as Contra (from Konami), which took the arcade game and expanded it, Ninja Gaiden is a radically different title on the home console. In fact, the genre isn’t even the same.
Instead of a beautifully paced, smooth, and engaging platformer, Ninja Gaiden began life as a co-op beat-em-up. This was a sloppy, difficult to control mess, but one with a great soundtrack behind it. Visuals were somewhat subdued, certainly lacking the vibrant color most arcade games of the era featured. Ryu (or Ryu #2 if a second player joined) loves to bounce off things, and jumping can result in a push-off of an object.
A basic move set means you’ll kick most foes, but a sword power-up makes up for the questionable collision (sometimes). Stages are small and cramped, allowing for limited movement. Ryu is hardly the fluid, fast-moving ninja he would become.
The arcade Ninja Gaiden was ported only once to a console, the ill-fated Atari Lynx. Despite lacking levels, the port was quite accurate, even down the inconsistent collision. Nintendo is asking 600 Wii points for the arcade original, which is more of a curiosity in gaming history than smart purchase.