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User Reviews

Excellent Action, Style and Control gone MAD! TurboGrafx-16 Vecster (24)

Our Users Say

Platform Votes Score
Amiga Awaiting 5 votes...
Amstrad CPC Awaiting 5 votes...
Arcade 5 4.2
Atari ST Awaiting 5 votes...
Commodore 64 Awaiting 5 votes...
Game Boy Awaiting 5 votes...
Nintendo Switch Awaiting 5 votes...
PlayStation 4 Awaiting 5 votes...
TurboGrafx-16 10 4.0
Wii Awaiting 5 votes...
Wii U Awaiting 5 votes...
ZX Spectrum Awaiting 5 votes...
Combined User Score 15 4.1

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
TurboGrafx-16Defunct Games (Dec 17, 2006)
You want a good reason to own a TurboGrafx-16? There is no better reason than Irem's Ninja Spirit, a 2D side scroller that is still considered one of the greatest action games of all time. Forget Ninja Gaiden or Ninja Commando, Ninja Spirit is the single best 2D ninja-based action game every released. The game is just as playable now as it was back then.
TurboGrafx-16Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) (Oct, 1990)
An excellent cart which doesn't skimp on the action, graphics or original oriental music. The moves are unique and well animated. Player control is precise and the difficulty curve is hard enough so it's not a walk through.
TurboGrafx-16The Games Machine (UK) (Sep, 1990)
Ninja Spirit suits the PC Engine down to the ground. All the action is arcade perfect, and the difficulty is pushed right up. More playable than any other version - even the C64 one.
Commodore 64The Games Machine (UK) (Jun, 1990)
It just goes to show that a machine cannot limit a game's potential. The C64 version is undoubtedly the best of the lot. And guess what, there's a continue play option! (So why not in the other versions?) Mind you, this comes as no surprise when you discover the programmer's Chris Butler (Ghost 'n' Goblins, Powerdrift). Admittedly, the backdrops may be sparse but the gameplay is top notch - totally addictive. Sound is great, too, with some impressive, scene-setting, oriental music. Unreservedly recommended.
TurboGrafx-16Digital Press - Classic Video Games (Oct 31, 2004)
This is one of those truly addictive action titles, the type you'll spend an entire afternoon with just trying to beat that one section that is giving you trouble. This is easily one of the best of the hu-cards and a must play if you own the system. Just stick with it in level seven. You're almost there.
AmigaCU Amiga (Apr, 1990)
This is a game with nearly everything a reviewer should baulk at. It is a conversion and it has more Ninja per screen than you could ever begin to imagine. But it is not just a clichéd beat em up - Ninja Spirit is actually pretty nice. As usual, the plot does not hold much water. Run around killing Ninjas, bump off the end-of-level guardian. All pretty simple, but fun…
AmigaThe Games Machine (UK) (Jun, 1990)
Identical to the Atari ST but with improved music which adds atmosphere.
Atari STThe Games Machine (UK) (Jun, 1990)
Graphically, Ninja Spirit is impressive, both the character sprites and especially the backdrops are very detailed. Parallax scrolling is superb, some of the best I've seen. I've only two niggles. Firstly, It's too difficult and secondly there's no continue play option. Solving one niggle would probably compensate for the other, so it's a pity that this great game is spoiled by both. Check it out, though.
TurboGrafx-16Game Informer Magazine (Apr, 2002)
Power-ups also make you a more lethal assassin. The bosses are impressive and the action intense. If you missed Ninja Spirit, you missed sword-slashing arcade gameplay at its finest. hang your head in shame, young grasshopper.
TurboGrafx-16PC Engine Gamer (Oct, 2010)
The main reason I have to mark down Ninja Spirit is the slowdown, which can break the otherwise fast and fluid gameplay. It gets really quite bad in places and like a pickled plum in the centre of a rice ball, it sours the taste of the experience somewhat. But despite all that, this is a game for lovers of both ninjas and pirates. Let us all enjoy it and live in peace forever. Pirates are cooler btw.
Atari STZero (May, 1990)
Obviously all ninja games have bits and bobs added to them in an attempt to stand out. Some of the enemies and weapons are fun; the burning belt is particularly neat, ideal for getting onto those crowded rush hour buses. However, quite a few sprites are disappointing in the looks department, though they're well animated. Basically (he said in his best conclusion type voice) this is a pretty standard ninja game. Not particularly special but a good example of its type.
ArcadeCommodore User (Nov, 1988)
Spirit Ninja really is an impressive Black Tiger-style game. Irem have taken absolutely no short cuts in graphics and the gameplay is simply brilliant. I would say that if you're short of a few bob, Spirit Ninja's probably not the best idea for long-lasting entertainment. Getting the hang of the controls is all-important, and takes time and plenty of cash. But, that said, you should definitely have a look at this game. If you feel you can't afford the investment in coinage, at least look over the shoulder of somebody else richer than you as they're trying their luck.
TurboGrafx-16IGN (May 14, 2007)
Ninja Spirit seems to be doomed to comparison, still not escaping the shadow of Tecmo's famous Gaiden franchise over a decade and a half after its original release. And, head-to-head, Ninja Gaiden would get the nod -- but Spirit is a solid second ninja adventure that's worth consideration for another empty spot in your library. Play both, in fact, and you can avenge your father's death twice in the same day.
WiiIGN (May 14, 2007)
Fate's been unkind to Ninja Spirit. A fine ninja action game in its own right, it's always been overshadowed by other, more well known titles like Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden. And now, here on the VC, Spirit's getting the shaft again – it's launched on the Wii Shop today right alongside its most notable rival. If you're spending your Wii Points on a download of Ninja Gaiden to get your jumping, slashing fix, you can't be faulted for that. But don't dismiss this "other" ninja game as you turn your attention to Ryu Hayabusa's original adventure – Ninja Spirit deserves your notice too.
AmigaZzap! (Jun, 1990)
The Last Warlock is once again haunting helpless Japanese villagers, and only Tsukikage, the spirit of the white wolf, can save them. However, wielding a samurai sword with a pair of paws ain't easy so our hero has taken human form to be the ultimate ninja in this fiendishly difficult coin-op conversion.
TurboGrafx-16ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) (Sep, 1990)
Technisch brillant ist IREMS PC-Engine-Umsetzung von NINJA SPIRIT. Während bei den Computerversionen von Activision die Sprites und das Scrolling noch bis zum Verrecken ruckelten und die Spielbarkeit deswegen gen Nullpunkt sank, geht bei der Engine-Konvertierung so richtig die Post ab. Von Parallax-Scrolling bis zu Digisound-Effekten wurde fast alles von der Ur-Arcade-Version übernommen. Ninja Spirit ist mit Sicherheit 100 Mark wert. Besser geht‘s kaum noch.
Commodore 64Commodore Force (Aug, 1993)
Spirits offers pretty respectable playability. It's no ground breaker, but then again, how many new concepts do you see these days.
TurboGrafx-161UP! (Aug 20, 2014)
Ninja Spirit est l'un des jeux les plus populaires d'Irem après R-Type, mais à y regarder de près, on peut se demander s'il le mérite vraiment. Ou peut-être est-ce 1UP, qui, à défaut d'avoir l'esprit ninja, à celui de contrariété.
TurboGrafx-16The Video Game Critic (Feb 16, 2002)
I really liked the carnage I could unleash in Ninja Spirit. There's not much technique required, but it's definitely a good twitch game.
TurboGrafx-16Power Play (Oct, 1990)
An den Automaten habe ich mich nie herangetraut, und so war ich froh, dieses hektische Kampfspiel in seiner ganzen grafischen Pracht auf der PC-Engine zu sehen. Mit drei Spielfiguren gleichzeitig schwächliche Feinde aufzumischen, bedeutet tatsächlich fast dreifachen Spielspaß. Präzise Steuerung und gnädige Kollisionsabfrage (die Gegner verpuffen beinahe noch, bevor die Feuertaste gedrückt wurde) schaffen schnell eine angenehme "Ich bin unbesiegbar"-Atmosphäre. Zum Glück gibt es den "Arcade"-Modus, sonst würde der Spielspaß an dieser feinen Umsetzung wahrscheinlich nicht lang anhalten.
AmigaAmiga Computing (Sep, 1990)
I have never understood the fascination that hackneyed plot writers have for all things animal like. This predilection borders on the obsessive when the authors are Japanese, and becomes almost a fetish when the turgid prose acts as a guideline for a leapy leapy, jumpy jumpy ninja game. Ninja Spirit is the latest follower of this path, casting you as Tsukikage, the spirit of the great white wolf. Why, is what I want to know? Don’t they realise that wolves are horribly smelly, moult all over the place, have fetid breath and slobber continuously? Is this a good role model for a ninja? Or anyone bar a Millwall supporter? No, I think not. Yet in Ninja Spirit you are the spirit of this wolf, intent on slicing and dicing the beasts in the bowels of the Earth. And their masters, too. Very laudable, I am sure. Right, just a mo while put my brain in a jar for half an hour and play the game.
ArcadePower Play (Jan, 1989)
Wenn das so weiter geht, träume ich bald von Ninjas. Wenn ich abends in eine Spielhalle gehe, sehe ich auf beinahe allen Bildschirmen nur Ninjas oder nahe Verwandte. Mir wäre es lieb, wenn die Spielautomaten-Hersteller demnächst von ihrem ausgedehnten Ninja-Trip herunterkommen würden. Davon abgesehen ist Ninja Spirit ein recht gutes Action-Spiel, wenn es mich auch nicht vom Hocker reißt. Die Grafik ist überwiegend sehr schön gezeichnet und ziemlich farbig, musikalisch wird dagegen nur Hausmannskost geboten. Negativ ist mir zudem der hohe Schwierigkeitsgrad schon im ersten Level aufgefallen. Ab und zu sind so viele Sprites auf dem Bildschirm, daß man sich schwer tut, den eigenen Ninja im Auge zu behalten. Wäre Ninja Spirit etwas spielbarer, hätte er von mir sogar ein „Gut“ bekommen.
ZX SpectrumYour Sinclair (May, 1990)
What could have been a neat arcade slash-'em-up is practically ruined by confused graphics. Silly.
ArcadeAll Game Guide (1998)
Although Ninja Spirit suffers from generic design in a lot of its components, its gameplay manages to be both enjoyable and unique. Gamers who appreciate fast and furious action will especially enjoy Ninja Spirit, as its enemy onslaught is relentless and comes from all directions at once.
70 (UK) (May 11, 2007)
Not the sort of game you should rush off to download immediately then, but if you're a fan of the side-scrolling hackenslash genre then you certainly won't feel any remorse should you fork over 600 points for this one.
Commodore 6464'er (Aug, 1990)
Die C64-Programmierung besorgte der vom erfahrenen Automaten-Umsetzer Chris Butler. der eine erstaunlich gute Version des Spielhallenhits hingelegt hat. Bei der Grafik wurde an Farben gespart; Schönheitspreise sind hier nicht zu erwarten. Dafür schwirren Dutzende von Objekten und Gegnern über den Bildschirm, ohne daß etwas ruckt, zuckt oder flackert. Da die Steuerung sehr ausgeteilt ist, spielt sich Ninja Spirit prächtig und wird Action-Fans nicht enttäuschen. Die Levels sind etwas zu kurz geraten, doch dafür bescheren Euch die traditionellen Ober-Schurken am Ende jeder Spielstufe viel Kopfzerbrechen.
WiiNintendo Life (May 11, 2007)
Ninja Spirit is the kind of game that doesn't require a lot of thinking and gives you the game play freedom that makes playing the game so much fun. There's a reason that most TurboGrafx-16 fans hold this game in such high regard and one quick play of the game is all the proof you'll need. Ninja Spirit is easily one of the better TG-16 games to be released on the Virtual Console to date and is a must-buy for any action / side-scroller fan. About the only downside to this title is the fact that it's a bit short in overall length. Other than that, it's top notch ninja fun!
TurboGrafx-16HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) (Dec 29, 2003)
Ninja Spirit is a great game and an excellent ninja game. It's certainly better than Shinobi, but falls short of Revenge of Shinobi's greatness, and pales beside Ninja Gaiden 2, which, do be fair, most games do. Still, you won't be too disappointed, and you'll be glad for the sounds you get to play by.
Atari STComputer and Video Games (CVG) (Jun, 1990)
Identical to the Amiga version right down to the ninja slippers, the ST looks and sounds exactly the same; it's good - but not that good.
On the downside the collision detection is dodgy and the controls are a tad on the sluggish side. It all adds up to a fairly standard ninja slicer which some people might find just a touch too hard.
Commodore 64Power Play (Jul, 1990)
Last Ninja, Dragon Ninja, Ninja Warriors – und jetzt ein bißchen Ninja-Geist mit Ninja Spirit. Der Titel ist jedoch das einzige Geistreiche an diesem Programm. Das simple Metzelspiel erreicht die Schwierigkeitsstufe "verursacht graue Haare".
AmigaAmiga Format (Jul, 1990)
What is all this Ninja Spirit? Well, it allows the summoning of long-dead ancestors to see off present-day foes. Dealing with ancient magic, though, requires balls! Childish innuendo aside, the sphere in question are ‘spirit balls’ that give the living warrior power-ups on his sword, shuriken, rice scythes and ‘lasson ropes’- a bit of string with a blender on. All very handy, as from the word go Ninjitsu’s most unpopular man is set upon by horde after horde of blood-crazed nutters. The guy’s task is to fight his way through seven lvels of death, destruction and other distractions for no good reason whatsoever.
AmigaAmiga Action (Jul, 1990)
Coin-op manufacturers, Irem, are better known for their two R-Type shoot'em-ups. However, in the past, they have also been responsible for the cutesy Mr. Heli and the scrolling martial arts romp, Ninja Spirits – the subject for this latest Activision conversion.
ZX SpectrumThe Games Machine (UK) (Jun, 1990)
Sadly Activision have failed completely with the Spectrum version. The game is totally monochrome, which is not only ugly but also hides what main character there may be in the dense background graphics. Animation is also poor, with badly constructed routines which make the sprites look more like puppets than ninja thugs.
Atari STPower Play (Jul, 1990)
Technisch ist der Ninja-Eintopf ganz passabel und bietet selbst auf dem ST tadelloses Scrolling. Der übertrieben hohe Schwierigkeitsgrad und die dürftige Originalität machen Ninja Spirit aber zu einem Fall für die Kiste mit der Aufschrift: "Spiele, die man in zwei Monaten vergessen haben wird".
AmigaPower Play (Jul, 1990)
Last Ninja, Dragon Ninja, Ninja Warriors – und jetzt ein bißchen Ninja-Geist mit Ninja Spirit. Der Titel ist jedoch das einzige Geistreiche an diesem Programm. Das simple Metzelspiel erreicht die Schwierigkeitsstufe "verursacht graue Haare".
All das hat man schon zur Genüge gesehen - hundertmal, tausendmal. Wenn also ein Programm in puncto Spielkonzept so gar nichts Neues zu bieten hat, so sollte wenigstens die technische Ausführung in Ordnung sein, will man es noch reinen Gewissens dem Verbraucher anbieten. Doch gerade in dieser Hinsicht hat ACTIVISION kläglich versagt.
Atari STASM (Aktueller Software Markt) (May, 1990)
All das hat man schon zur Genüge gesehen - hundertmal, tausendmal. Wenn also ein Programm in puncto Spielkonzept so gar nichts Neues zu bieten hat, so sollte wenigstens die technische Ausführung in Ordnung sein, will man es noch reinen Gewissens dem Verbraucher anbieten. Doch gerade in dieser Hinsicht hat ACTIVISION kläglich versagt.
AmigaAmiga Joker (Jun, 1990)
Ninja Spirit bietet sauber programmierte Durchschnittskost mit weichem Scrolling, mittelprächtiger Grafik, Düdel-Sound und einem gepfefferten Schwierigkeitsgrad. Die Frage ist nur: Wer hat nicht schon ein Dutzend solcher Games daheim?
AmigaAmiga Power (May, 1991)
Fast and varied arcade conversion. Original was a production-line job, no imagination or sparkle. Awful disk accessing problems. Tedious crap.
ArcadeYour Sinclair (Nov, 1988)
The icing on the cake is the continue play feature, which will have you dipping into your pocket at increasingly regular intervals as soon as the Ninja bug bites. Irem has produced one of the best games of this type that I've seen. A must for all coin-op fans.
TurboGrafx-16Retro Gamer (Jul 03, 2015)
The only drawback to Ninja Spirit is the price – both Japanese and North American copies will fetch a pretty penny today, with even a loose HuCard often going for more than £20. A fully boxed copy is more likely to set you back £45 or more. Is it worth it though? Oh yes. Action games this good don’t come along very often, and this is an essential part of any PC Engine/Turbografx collection.