Forums  /  Ninja Gaiden  /  NES Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2 timing differences

I'd like to cover some of the different timings people may use when playing these two games.

Ninja Gaiden 1

Traditionally, English speaking runners have used "SDA timing" for Ninja Gaiden, where the timer begins as soon as you gain control of Ryu, and it ends when you lose control after defeating the final boss (which is the same time as the "ding" sound, when your time and Ninpo count hits 0). I believe Japanese runners have traditionally timed it from pressing Start on the title screen. Note that you have to press start again a few frames later to skip the "Act 1" intro animation as well.

Assuming you have perfect timing in pressing Start on the Act 1 intro animation (3 frames after pressing start on the title screen), then the timing difference between Press Start and Gain Control of Ryu is: 162 frames, or 2.7 seconds.

Ninja Gaiden 2: The Dark Sword of Chaos

Again, English speaking runners have traditionally used SDA timing. Note that you can hold the Start button from the title screen to instantly skip the Act 1 intro animation, too. Japanese runners have traditionally started the timer from the title screen, I believe. The timing difference between Press Start and Gain Control of Ryu is: 106 frames, or 1.77 seconds.

The main discrepancy I've seen is that people use different timing for when to stop the timer. After the timer/Ninpo countdown and "ding" sound at the end, you still have control of Ryu for a brief time period. I'm not sure what the SDA runs have traditionally done, but when Sinister1 and I started playing, we used the "ding" sound - I believe Ohon does the same thing. But, some recent runners have been ending the timer on losing control of Ryu (on this frame, the graphics begin to fade to black as well). The timing difference between timer/Ninpo reaching 0 ("ding" sound) and losing control of Ryu is: 50 frames, or 0.83 seconds.

Also, under certain conditions (and correct me if I'm wrong), I believe you can lose control of Ryu even faster - although, I think it only happens when you beat the boss with a low timer, so on almost every good speedrun I've seen, it looks about the same. Still, it's worth mentioning.

I'd like consistent times posted here, especially since the top times are extremely close. Is there a community consensus on what to use? I'd personally prefer SDA timing for timer start, and "ding" sound in both games for timer end. Thoughts?


Regarding Ninja gaiden 1:
Im pretty much on par with what you said and The 2.7s between Start and control if I remember my own splits correctly, seems right.

So nothing to add here.

Ninja Gaiden 2:
I believe I don't have that much to add here since its a game you know by heart.

But to keep the leaderboard universal: RTA-timing is my vote


Start timing: I personally prefer it to be from when you gain control of Ryu. It's pretty easy to time it in both NG1 and NG2. (And I guess because I'm so used to it already).

End timing: I like the "ding" since you can both see when it's about to happen and hear it as well.


I've actually thought a lot about this myself, so here are my thoughts:

Technical obervations from my standpoint:

For NG1, we reset so often that it would be more "accurate" in the long run to timing when we gain control of Ryu. In this case, if you did a frame-by-frame retiming, you would always get the same time if it took you 3 frames to press start to skip the cutscene rather than 1. A minor point, but it seems annoying to lose any amount of time because you can't skip cutscenes.

For NG2, without the need to press start a second time, it should be more "accurate" (uniformly in my opinion, not just on average) to start splits when you hit start. This is because you can simply press start with one hand and spacebar (or whatever your start split key) with the other.

Also for ending NG2, I think ending on when timer/ninpo hits 0 would be more accurate on average, because we can observe the timer decreasing, so we have a cue as to when the split should be hit. If not, we are judging and reacting based on when we lose control. Of course the former is also a judgment, but it also has a better anticipation factor (watching the timer decrease).

My personal opinions:

NG1: I don't run this game anymore, and my time isn't good, but I'd probably just want to keep it as is due to reluctance of change and for the point that I made above.

NG2: I am 100% on keeping it at ending on when ninpo/timer reaches 0. For starting, I am torn. I think starting timer on pressing start would be more accurate (and also uniform with Japanese timing), but it would then be different from the NG1 timing if we theoretically went with what I said for NG1. On the other hand, it will probably be a little difficult to get used to, and probably throws my hopes of getting sub 10:20 out of the window.

My final verdict: keep NG1 with when we gain control (don't listen to me since I don't run this), keep NG2's end timing (when timer reaches 0) and change the start timing to when we press start.

Also note that all of the top times in NG2 right now except for Ohon's 2-year old time do the timing for gain control of Ryu and when timer reaches 0 (including me, Jorf, Gus, and I believe Backslash).

edit: If Dxtr thinks we should change NG1 to begin when we press start, I think I would agree with that then, since I trust his judgment for that game. In this case, it would make sense to have NG2 begin at that time as well since you can skip the cutscene there.