I know it has a reputation of being extremely hard. Is that why you dislike it?
Last films watched: The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) 9/10 Dr. Strangelove (1964) 10/10 Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) 6/10 Manhunter (1986) 10/10 Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance (2009) 8/10
It's a great game for it's time. It's so-called cinema scenes made it like a manga or motion comic. Very challenging game. Not for the easily frustrated and not a forgiving game. If you suck at platformers or Super Mario Bros. is the ultimate challenge in that genre, don't bother.
Fuck that. Ninja Gaiden is awesome. I don't even care if you're trolling.
It's tough as nails, sure, but there were few other platformers at that time that felt as good to play as Ninja Gaiden. The controls, one of the most important mechanical elements of a platformer, were tight and concise to make for fast-paced gameplay. There was no ramp-up to full speed movement or gliding as you slowed down. If you pressed left or right, you were going that way at full speed immediately and you move quickly in this game. You had great control over your jumps in midair (you could backwards jump, cancel a forwards jump, etc.), you could attack in midair, you could even use most of the special attacks in midair, and the only aspect of control that was sticky rather than fluid were the wall jumps where you could lock in place at inopportune times. But the wall-jumps felt great to pull off and once you got good at the game, you could glide through them. If you want to see how bad it could have been, play the original arcade version-- it's sluggish and clumsy by comparison.
Graphics and presentation for the time were top notch. Cutscenes were practically unheard of at the time, let alone stories, and they looked good and were well-framed, well-drawn, and well-directed overall. It's not Shakespeare but it didn't need to be-- it's a game about a ninja fighting demonic forces. The soundtrack is also legendary.
The biggest complaints about the game come from its relentless difficulty in later stages, the knockback when you get hit, and enemy respawns. All are valid but I don't have a problem with any. The knockback is a penalty for a lack of caution, the later difficulty is something you need to master by memorization, and the enemy respawns are to force you to keep moving forwards. You need to know what you're getting into and truly learn to master the game. People highly praise games like Dark Souls today for doing what games like Ninja Gaiden did back then-- teaching you to balance caution versus forward momentum, teaching you to memorize enemy patterns and placement, and to master the mechanics of the game itself.
It does not suck on any level. It's just incredibly hard.