5 Ninja Video Games That Matter

Tenchu 3 screen shot on Playstation

Tenchu 3 screen shot on Playstation

Over the years there have been many a ninja video game released in hopes of capturing the pure awesomess of the ninja in a game console.

Most have failed.

Almost every ninja video game ever made sucked ass. For one reason or another they lost the true-ninja-feel in the game and the game flopped. Those games need not be mentioned, as they deserve to be forgotten.

However, in all the rubble released over the years there have been some winners! 5 actually.

(If the ninja game you are thinking about is not listed here, it probably sucked and doesn’t matter)

1. SHINOBI – 1987 Sega Arcade 

Shinobi title screen shot

Screen shot of the title screen of Shinobi by Sega

This is the game that started the whole Shinobi series on Sega and Sega Genesis. It is the only Shinobi game that matters. It is a side-scrolling game that had 5 incredible missions to complete. If you could beat all 5 stages, you had bragging rights in the arcade of being the ultimate virtual ninja assassin. 

In 1987 the graphics in Shinobi were awesome compared to other games. There was a lot more detail than most of the other arcade games at the time. The ninja characters actually looked like cool ninja with real ninja weapons as seen in the movies.

Some highlights of Shinobi are: 

  • The ninja on the “insert coin” or title screen on the arcade had an incredible resemblance to Sho Kosugi, the greatest movie ninja of all time. 
Ninja video game called Shinobi put out by Sega.

Shinobi bonus stage!

  • At the time of this release Sega owned rights to the Incredible Spider-man so don’t be surprised when you see a version of ol’ Spidey himself hanging around near the end of some levels in missions 1 and 2.
  • Marilyn Monroe also makes an appearance in Shinobi, although not authorized. In mission1-2 there are movie posters hanging on the wall in the background. The image on those posters is non other than Marilyn Monroe. There were lawsuits and the posters were removed from the game for all home console versions.

The really challenging part of this game is that in the 5th mission, you can not continue. Quarters could get you to the 5th mission, and then it was up to your ninja skill to finish the game without a continue option. There are no continues during the 5th mission levels – ever. Very few ninja had ever beat this game at the arcade.

Shinobi screen shot

Those damn green ninja!

You can download updated versions of this game on xBox Live and play the game almost the same as it was back in the day. The differences are the Spider-man characters have been re-coloured to appease Marvel and the Marilyn Monroe posters have been removed to appease the Monroe estate. Lawyers always have to wreck everything, even video games. If you find it on mame32 you can still see Spider-man and Marilyn Monroe as they were meant to be.


2. TENCHU – Playstation, PS2, PS3, xBox, xBox 360, Nintendo DS, WII 

Playstation video game Tenchu 2

Tenchu Playstation Ninja Video Game

There have been many installations in the Tenchu series, and on various platforms. This game was really well developed and a lot of thought was put into making it accurate to the ways of the ninja and their weapons/tools. They set out to make a “real” ninja game, and it was a success!

The first game in the Tenchu series really stood out as something new at the time and was a game-changer in the ninja game genre. First-person stealth and strategy are required to complete the levels.

The subsequent releases are all fun, however there was no more real advancement in game-play, they are really just more missions. Don’t get me wrong though, those missions are all still a lot of fun!

Tenchu ninja video game screen shot on Playstation

Tenchu Screenshot on Playstation

Set in the samurai time-periods, the tools and weapons are authentic and the kill scenes are gruesome. With so many weapons and tools to choose from for each mission, the deadly combinations are endless with some really great death scenes. You can play the same missions over and over with different results, achieving different scores for your stealthy ninja skill. 

Its not a game where you just go balls out fighting, but you really stay in the shadows and stealth is key. Killing from the shadows and leaving without a trace are the way to win at Tenchu. With some patience, as all real ninja have, this game becomes very challenging and keeps the ninja happy! 

Title screen of Ninja Gaiden 2 by Tecmo

Title screen of Ninja Gaiden 2 by Tecmo

3. NINJA GAIDEN – Tecmo 1988 Arcade, Nintendo, NES, Sega

This was a great game to feed quarters to in my school. Who needed lunch? Instead of buying lunch we’d go play this arcade game instead.

In Ninja Gaiden you can actually throw your enemy around like rag-dolls, that’s fun!

Ninja Gaiden keeps the real-ninja-feel intact with the use of ninja items such as ninja swords, ninja stars and special ninja scrolls. It’s everything we want in a ninja video game!

Screen shot from Ninja Gaiden by Tecmo

Screen shot from Ninja Gaiden by Tecmo

Jump! Get stabby! Throw ninja star! WIN! 

The jumping is legendary in Ninja Gaiden as well. You could jump from wall to wall like spider-man and climb to secret areas with secret ninja scrolls.

The environment in the game is interactive. You could jump on lightposts and street signs, and then leap down to kill the bad guys. This kind of jumping and slashing was new at the time and made slaughtertime so much fun! 

Ninja Gaiden was ported to Nintendo shortly after its arcade relase, but the arcade graphics were much much better and made the Arcade version the best version ever, hands down! 

4. MORTAL COMBAT – Midway, Arcade, Super Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox360, and everyother platform ever 

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat

What can you say about Scorpion and Sub-Zero that hasn’t already been said?

Just like Sho-Kosugi holds the title of greatest movie ninja ever, these two ninja from rival clans will go down in history as the greatest video game ninja of all time. 

Sub-Zero can freeze his opponents and smash them into a million pieces. Scorpion can spear you from across the screen and pull you over to set you on fire. There is no escaping these ninja. Everyone played these characters in the arcade!

The graphics are great, gruesome and the finishing moves are legendary! Mortal Kombat!

Ninja Gaiden X-box 360 Exclusive

Ninja Gaiden X-Box 360 Exclusive

5. NINJA GAIDEN – Tecmo xBox 360 Exclusive

Although Ninja Gaiden has already been listed above, this Ninja Gaiden is a completely new listing for a completely new game style and platform. It is a good enough game to warrant its own listing. You get a some incredibly deadly weapons throughout the game and you can build their power up throughout the game.

Amazing graphics, incredible gameplay and a decent story make the Ninja Gaiden series on xBox 360 a must play. As with other ninja games, a ninja without patience is doomed in this game. It is incredibly hard to beat this game and impossible at times on hard setting.

It is recommended that you play this game in a nerf room, so you don’t break you controller or your head when you bang it off the wall with frustration. It’s bloody good! 

Thats all I got for now. Go play some of these games and start wasting your valuable time now!

If you have another game that deserves to be mentioned let me know in the comments below.

2 comments on “5 Ninja Video Games That Matter
  1. Chaminda Perera says:

    Well you forgot The Last Ninja series on the Commodore 64 & Amiga and subsequent other ports. This is the game that started it all. Music was done exceptionally well. The Ninja sprite in the game resembled Sho Kosugi and to this day the music has been remixed thousands of times.

    System 3 were the ones behind the series and they tried to make the move to create a updated game for the Xbox 360 but it was cancelled. They never really had the success again after this series.

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