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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 Arcade Intro.
Ninja Gaiden Lynx Another nice jump
Ninja Gaiden Amiga Fighting three bizarre gentlemen.
Ninja Gaiden ZX Spectrum The starting location for level 1

Promo Images

Ninja Gaiden Magazine Advertisement Pages 2-3
Ninja Gaiden Magazine Advertisement Pages 2-3

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

Power Unlimited Arcade May, 2004 87 out of 100 87
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
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Lynx Aug, 1991 715 out of 1000 72
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Lynx Mar, 1991 8 out of 12 67
ST Format Atari ST Jan, 1991 58 out of 100 58
Video Games Lynx Sep, 1991 53 out of 100 53
Power Play Amiga Sep, 1990 31 out of 100 31
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Amiga Sep, 1990 3.6 out of 12 30
Crash! Arcade Mar, 1989 Unscored Unscored


Topic # Posts Last Post
Arcade release date 7 vedder (45982)
Feb 23, 2014


There is no trivia on file for this game.

Contributed to by Lance Boyle (1451), etempest (1083), FatherJack (62754), Martin Smith (66855), LepricahnsGold (128695) and Jeanne (76448)