Tomorrow sees the release of Tecmo and Team Ninja's latest entry in the Ninja Gaiden series, Ninja Gaiden 3. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to take a look back and pay tribute to five of the most badass games ever released involving ninjas (be it the stealthy kind or the blood-thirsty kind).
If you agree/disagree with our choices, be sure to voice your opinion in the comment section below. But do so with some ninja-like discretion.
When many gamers think about ninjas they think about Shinobi. This series debuted in arcades in 1987, featuring side-scrolling gameplay and a few novelties that were new to the scene at the time, including smarter enemy AI and multiple-tiered levels. There have been 12 games in the Shinobi series releases thus far, but the original arcade classic still has a special place in our hearts.
When you're looking a quality ninja game that can be enjoyed with the whole family kids, turn to developer IO Interactive's Mini Ninjas. The game was a fun third-person action-adventure title with six playable characters, each with their own weapons, skills and abilities. The game also came with plenty of collectibles to keep your kids busy for days. But Mini Ninjas' best aspect was, without a doubt, how slain enemies burst into cute animals instead of blood clouds. Super adorable.
This popular Flash game featured a ninja that was tasked with navigating over 100 levels filled with deadly traps and obstacles all in the name of quenching his thirst for gold. N wound up being so popular that it was eventually ported to Xbox Live Arcade and a number of handheld platforms under the title N+. If you're looking for a challenging game with simple, yet eloquent design, N (or N+) is a great choice.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Muramasa is an incredibly gorgeous japanese action-RPG starring… wait for it… ninjas. When we reviewed the game back in 2009, we said it was one of the best games to throw your money at during the holiday season. That's amidst games like Uncharted 2, mind you. So that's saying quite a bit. The game is beautiful, the gameplay is addictive and the stories it sets out to tell are memorable. Muramasa is a fantastic Wii title, no doubt about it.
While the Ninja Gaiden franchise has had a long and illustrious career dating back to 1988, it wasn't until 2004's Ninja Gaiden reboot for the original Xbox that the series hit legendary status. Ninja Gaiden represented the pinnacle of action gaming at the time, holding onto that crown for an entire year until God of War released in 2005. Ninja Gaiden was a brutally difficult experience but was immensely satisfying and rewarding to players with patience. There's a reason the game has been ported to nearly every console known to man. It's a true video game classic, and maybe the best ninja game of all time.