Become a Patron to help us improve MobyGames!

Ninja Gaiden

MobyRank MobyScore
Not an American user?


Ninja Gaiden begins with a cinematic animation in which two ninjas duel to the death and one goes down. It is then revealed that the doomed ninja is the father of Ryu Hayabusa. When Ryu learns of this, he embarks on a quest to find out who killed his father and why. This quest takes him to America to find an archaeologist with whom his father was working. From there, Ryu becomes embroiled in an evil, supernatural conspiracy involving a villain named Jaquio who has plans to use an ancient castle and some relics to unleash a terrifying evil upon the world.

Ninja Gaiden is a side scrolling game where Ryu the ninja can run, jump and slash with his ninja sword. He can also attach to any vertical surface. Power-ups that allow Ryu to toss fireballs and ninja stars as well as perform other feats are scattered throughout the landscape.

Ryu will battle through urban city settings, forests, jungles, snow covered castles, underground railroads and ancient castles. A major feature in Ninja Gaiden are the cinematic scenes – sometimes fullscreen – through which the storyline unfolds.


Ninja Gaiden NES Starting out in stage 3-1 against a pleasant lake and forest backdrop
Ninja Gaiden NES Act 1
Ninja Gaiden Arcade Title Screen.
Ninja Gaiden Arcade The boss is in there.

Alternate Titles

  • "忍者龍剣伝" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Shadow Warriors: Ninja Gaiden" -- UK/Australian title
  • "Shadow Warriors" -- European title
  • "Ninja Ryukenden" -- Japanese title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Slice and dice! Ninja know no fear! NES Satoshi Kunsai (1817)
Damn cool, but the gameplay isn't very good NES Bregalad (914)
Amazing and hard as hell... NES Ivan Obretenov (9)

The Press Says

The DOS Spirit NES Dec 06, 2012 6 out of 6 100
Thunderbolt Games NES Dec 17, 2004 9 out of 10 90
Mag'64 Wii Sep 01, 2009 9 out of 10 90
Mean Machines NES Jul, 1991 90 out of 100 90
IGN Wii May 14, 2007 9 out of 10 90 NES Aug 10, 2011 18 out of 20 90
Lens of Truth NES Mar 24, 2009 9 out of 10 90
NES Times NES Feb 06, 2007 8 out of 10 80
GameSpot Wii May 16, 2007 7.6 out of 10 76
The Video Game Critic NES Jul 27, 2004 B- 67


Topic # Posts Last Post
Arcade version 3 FatherJack (19385)
Mar 22, 2014
Trivia for the game. 8 Lain Crowley (5409)
Sep 15, 2012
Pending correction 2 Terok Nor (17862)
Oct 25, 2010


Ninja Gaiden was voted # 93 in the Top 100 Games of All Time poll published by Game Informer Magazine (Issue 100, August 2001).

Related Web Sites

  • Howard & Nester do Ninja Gaiden (A regular feature in Nintendo Power magazine, Howard & Nester was a comic strip about two game whizzes who would one-up each other, while disclosing hints and tips, in the settings of various recently-released games for the NES platform. In the May/June 1989 two-page installment, they reveal the location of a 1-Up.)
  • OC ReMix Game Profile (Fan remixes of music from Ninja Gaiden.)
  • The Ninja Gaiden Homepage (Perhaps the biggest source of information on Ninja Gaiden, which has music, fan fiction, and other game-related information.)
Contributed to by Michael Cassidy (4507), CrankyStorming (2629), Dwin1118 (22), Kabushi (116517) and gamewarrior (5067)