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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.


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Promo Images

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Alternate Titles

  • "忍者龙剑传" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)

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User Reviews

One of the Xbox's best Sam Vicchrilli (17) 4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars
A Fun If Somewhat Overrated Game MasterMegid (902) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Great game, but has its flaws Jason Wilkinson (7) 2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars

Critic Reviews

GamePro (US) Mar 01, 2004 5 out of 5 100
TalkXbox Mar 09, 2004 96 out of 100 96
TeamXbox Feb 27, 2004 9.6 out of 10 96 Jun 18, 2004 92.6 out of 100 93 Nov 11, 2004 9 out of 10 90 (UK) Mar 16, 2004 9 out of 10 90
Jolt (UK) May 27, 2004 8.6 out of 10 86
DarkZero May 31, 2004 8.5 out of 10 85 May 24, 2004 80 out of 100 80
Game Critics Aug 24, 2005 7 out of 10 70


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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 Web Sites

  • Tecmo website (Tecmo page for Ninja Gaiden. It includes a pdf manual, some tips and tricks and screenshots)
Sciere (528327) added Ninja Gaiden (Xbox) on Feb 18, 2005