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Ninja Gaiden begins with a cinematic animation in which two ninjas duel to the death; one goes down. It is 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 Ryu's 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.

In comparison to the better known console version this game is a traditional fighting game similar to Double Dragon in which the player walks from left to right while battling numerous enemies. Only if all foes are dispatched of, the player can advance in the level. It's also possible to perform special attacks and use weapons. The latter are either collectable power-ups or environmental objects like phone boots.

Ryu can attack his enemies using his his bare hands and feet or using a sword (for a limited time). He can also perform moves such as a flying neck throw, a back flip and hang kicks, performed while hanging in scenario objects. Throwing enemies against objects such as phone cabins, oil drums or dumpsters will destroy them, revealing power ups such as health items and swords. At some points, Ryu will have to perform acrobatic moves to carry on. He has a life bar starting with five units.

The game takes place in United States' locations such as Las Vegas, North Carolina, Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon and Brooklyn. The enemies in those stages are mostly of the same five kinds, including Jason Vorhees' look-alikes and other masked men. There is a boss fight at the end of each stage.

A two-player co-operative game is also featured. Whenever the player dies, a continue screen will appear showing Ryu chained to a table while a circular saw descends upon him.


Ninja Gaiden Lynx Ryu is safe, where the big man can't reach him
Ninja Gaiden Arcade Title Screen (European version)
Ninja Gaiden Amstrad CPC Title screen.
Ninja Gaiden Amiga Fighting many enemies at once on a railway bridge.

Promo Images

There are no promo images for this game

Alternate Titles

  • "Shadow Warriors" -- European title
  • "Ninja Ryukenden" -- Japanese title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A slap in the face! Ouch! DOS Fake Spam (94)

Critic Reviews

Raze Lynx Aug, 1991 91 out of 100 91
Defunct Games Lynx Jul 24, 2004 79 out of 100 79
The Games Machine (UK) Commodore 64 Sep, 1990 77 out of 100 77
Atari ST User Atari ST Oct, 1990 76 out of 100 76
The Games Machine (UK) ZX Spectrum Sep, 1990 71 out of 100 71
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Lynx Jun 13, 2004 7 out of 10 70
Lens of Truth Wii Jan 15, 2010 6 out of 10 60
Commodore Force Commodore 64 Aug, 1993 48 out of 100 48
PC Joker DOS Apr, 1992 45 out of 100 45
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Amiga Sep, 1990 3.6 out of 12 30


Topic # Posts Last Post
Arcade release date 7 vedder (26442)
Feb 23, 2014


There is no trivia on file for this game.

Contributed to by Lance Boyle (1419), etempest (1083), FatherJack (62765), Martin Smith (66762), LepricahnsGold (128159) and Jeanne (76613)