Ninja Gaiden

Moby ID: 16619
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Description official descriptions

When the Vigoor Empire attacks Ryu Hayabusa's village and steals the Dark Dragon Blade, the ninja vows to seek revenge with his Dragon Sword. Gifted with an impressive sets of moves, combining both melee and projectile weapons, you will need to defeat hordes of ninjas and monsters. During your journey, you acquire new moves and abilities such as the Art of the Inferno (fire), Ice Storm and Inazuma (thunder-like). Other moves include running over water, wall-based combos and ultimate techniques. You have to search or shop for special items, armlets, weapons and scrolls that enhance your abilities.

This fast-paced game is known for its hard difficulty (true to the series) and smart enemy AI that hardly relies on patterns. The Live! features allow for participating in the Master Ninja Tournament, a nationwide competition with prizes.


  • 忍者外傳 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 忍者龙剑传 - Simplified Chinese spelling

Groups +


Credits (Xbox version)

227 People (215 developers, 12 thanks) · View all



Average score: 91% (based on 79 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 39 ratings with 3 reviews)

A Fun If Somewhat Overrated Game

The Good
In 2004, Ninja Gaiden made it’s long awaited return. To Microsoft’s power house console the Xbox. And while it is a fun game it is hardly the best Xbox game. Or even best ninja game.

In Ninja Gaiden, you are once again Ryu Hayabusa. When Ryu’s village is attacked by demons seeking an ancient and powerful sword, all of his clan is murdered, he of course seeks vengeance. However vengeance is only the begging. Ryu travels to the city of the evil doers and from here finds new equipment slays hundreds of enemies and uses all his ninja skills.

The plot in Ninja Gaiden is pretty good. And unfolds at a nice pace. It may not be 100% original, but seeing as this is an action game, that is not to bad of a things. Ryu, has many weapons at his disposal, his katana, surikens, axes, etc. Combos can be racked up easily past 100, and your success in battle often depends you skill with the combos.

Boss fights break up the game. And often require a certain strategy and weapon to win. And are often the best fights in the game.

The graphics are mind blowing! They are easily up to par with Xbox 360 games. The details are astounding, as are the lighting effects.

The music is very good, and often fit’s the game well. Like the rocking beat that plays as Ryu takes on tanks, that’s right tanks! The sound effects are loud and impressive. And the voice acting is Hollywood quality.

The Bad
This game is tough. Not impossible, just challenging. And oddly enough, the boss fights are often easier than fighting the hordes of foes. Which does not make a whole lot of sense.

This game is overrated. And that is putting it mildly. Despite the many flaws this game still manages to receive 9’s and 10’s from ass-kissing reviewers.

They game is also very short, at least there are cool unlockables.

The Bottom Line
A fun but flawed game. I would not recommend paying full price for this one.

Xbox · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006

Great game, but has its flaws

The Good
The story was great and the graphics were even better. It was a fun game to play.

The Bad
The controls in the game is very bad. At times the button functions are not synchronized correctly and the camera angles get it the way. This game is not very ninja-like, but rather is a very hard button masher. The game itself is mostly difficult due to the camera angles. There really was nothing new or innovating about the game. Being a ninja game it could have incorporated more stealth to the game play, maybe by adding specific levels dealing with stealth and specific levels dealing with only action. Some spawn points of various bad guys are questionable in terms of game design. People complained about the first Hitman's games save option being difficult and in Ninja Gaiden the save points are also in questionable locations.

The Bottom Line
This is a fun game. It has a great story and is a challenging game even in the normal setting. It has some flaws, which can cause the game to be frustrating and it's not exactly innovating in terms of game play. Some will love it, some will like it, and few will hate it.

Xbox · by Jason Wilkinson (5) · 2006

One of the Xbox's best

The Good
As trite as the phrase is, this game is an instant classic. It came out for the Xbox in 2004 and will go down in its history as one of the system's best for reasons of stellar gameplay and gorgeous graphics.

The in-game graphics are fantastic as anyone who's played it knows. Ryu moves realistically and fights fast and furiously. The polygons are bright, beautifully textured and varied.

The cut scene graphics are absolutely stunning. They rival Hollywood.

The game is a hack 'n' slash with some RPG elements such as upgradable weapons and magic. But mostly it's about taking your sword to the bad guys within the empire.

And the playing is intense. This game is not a walk in the park. AI is advanced and only gets better. It took me several attempts to even get past the first boss. Fortunately, if you stick with it long enough, patterns will emerge and you'll get quite good at dodging.

The storyline is decent, but like with many games (especially those translated from another language), I couldn't always follow the specifics of the plot.

Weapons are numerous and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. It's the usual amalgamation of heavy but slow, fast but weak. Power up enough times and you can have some really fierce fighting tools.

The throwables are also worth mentioning. There are many types of arrows and throwing stars along the way.

Plus, being in a ninja is a pretty sweet concept and Team Ninja gets it right. There's not much stealth involved, but rather careful timing and precise button pushing that will save your day and your village.

The Bad
I'll admit it - it's too hard in parts. Actually, I never completed the game until I got Ninja Gaiden Black so I could play it on Ninja Dog mode. I hang my head in shame. But for the average player who can't spend all that time slicing swords, the level of difficulty really diminishes the ultimate fun factor.

A word - on Xbox 360, the game suffers from sever slowdown. It's like playing in slow motion.

The Bottom Line
This game is fast, action-packed and a lot of fun to play. The difficulty level is high, but many will accept the challenge heartily. Even for those who can't quite cut it for some of the battles will come away appreciating the level of detail and smooth action this game offers.

As far as ninja games go, no one holds a candle. Take the cool parts of the first Tenchu and times it by 100. That's the Xbox's Ninja Gaiden.

An excellent title by any standards. This is one game who will stand the test of time.

Xbox · by Sam Vicchrilli (15) · 2006


1001 Video Games

Ninja Gaiden appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled PS2 version

There were early plans for a Ninja Gaiden on the PS2, but they were ultimately cancelled.


Three Master Ninja Tournaments were held for this game. Participating gamers played through the game and posted their karma score to the leader board. The second and third tournament used a remixed single-player campaign available through two freely downloadable Hurricane Packs.

A custom-made wooden sword signed by the head creator of Ninja Gaiden, Tomonobu Itagaki, "Master Ninja" T-shirts, "Ninja Dog" T-shirts, boxers, games and wrist bands were up for grabs.

The champions of the first two rounds competed live on September 25, 2004 at the Tokyo Game Show. They played the new content first and came from Scotland, Canada, Japan and the United States.

Version differences

The violence in the European version has been toned down to maintain a PEGI 16+ rating. The graphic decapitations after certain fatal blows have been removed, but the blood remains and the shuriken (ninja throwing star) is also still included, despite the fact that it is usually removed from censored versions of similar games.


  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – #7 Game of the Year
    • 2004 – #2 Xbox Game of the Year

Information also contributed by NightKid32.

Related Games

Ninja Gaiden Black
Released 2005 on Xbox, 2008 on Xbox 360
Released 1988 on MSX
The Ninja
Released 1986 on SEGA Master System
Ninja Escape
Released 2010 on Xbox 360
Ninja Bros.
Released 2009 on Xbox 360
Ninja Princess
Released 1985 on Arcade, MSX, SG-1000
Charlie Ninja
Released 1994 on Arcade
Fruit Ninja 2
Released 2020 on iPhone, iPad, Android
Touch Battle Ninja
Released 2014 on Nintendo 3DS

Related Sites +

  • Tecmo website
    Tecmo page for Ninja Gaiden. It includes a pdf manual, some tips and tricks and screenshots

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 16619


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, DarkDante, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, Ng KS.

Game added February 19th, 2005. Last modified June 9th, 2023.