Ninja Gaiden
421px-Ninja Gaiden (NES).PNG
North American boxart, NES version
Developer Tecmo
Publisher Tecmo
Designer Shuichi Sakurazaki
Platform Nintendo Entertainment System, TurboGrafx-16, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Wii Virtual Console, Mobile phones, 3DS Virtual Console, Wii U Virtual Console
Release date Famicom/NES
JP December 9, 1988
NA March, 1989
PAL August 15, 1991
PC Engine
JP January 24, 1992
Cell Phone
NA Jun 28, 2004
Wii Virtual Console
NES version
JP April 10, 2007
NA May 14, 2007
EU September 21, 2007
PC Engine version
JP April 21, 2009
3DS Virtual Console
JP August 29, 2012
NA December 13, 2012
EU November 15, 2012
Wii U Virtual Console
NA February 6, 2014
Genre Platform game / Beat 'em up
Mode Single player
Media Cartridge
Input methods Control pad, Cell Phone Keys

Ninja Gaiden, known as Shadow Warriors in Europe and Ninja Ryukenden in Japan, is a platformer game for the Nintendo Entertainment System developed by Tecmo. Originally released in Japan towards the end of 1988, it was the first in a popular trilogy of Ninja Gaiden titles for the NES featuring the adventures of Ryu Hayabusa. This game is currently available for download for 500 Wii Points on the Wii's Virtual Console in North America. For Europe, Australia and New Zealand the game costs 600 Wii Points as part of its 'Hanabi Festival', where people can buy games not released in Europe for a higher price, despite the fact that Ninja Gaiden was released in Europe on the NES.

The game is renowned for its innovative use of cinematic cutscenes. It represents one of the first NES games to feature a full, movie-like story. The game's success spawned two sequels and several ports to other video game systems.

Story[edit | edit source]

Ninja Gaiden chronology
Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Gaiden Shadow
Ninja Gaiden (Black/Σ/Σ+)
Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword
Ninja Gaiden II (Σ2/Σ2+)
Ninja Gaiden 3 (Razor's Edge)
Ninja Gaiden X
Ninja Gaiden Episode I
Ninja Gaiden Episode III: The Ancient Ship of Doom
Ninja Gaiden Episode II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
Ninja Ryukenden
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Ryu Hayabusa of the Dragon Ninja Clan receives a letter from his father, saying that he was leaving for a duel with an unknown warrior. Should he not return, Ryu was to go to America and seek a man named Walter Smith. Ryu honors his father's last request, and travels to America. While there, he is kidnapped by CIA agent Irene Lew and given a statue of a hideous beast.

Eventually, Ryu finds Walter Smith, an archaeologist, who tells Ryu of the Demon Statues that he and Ryu’s father had found, and how they had to protect them. Ryu shows Walter the statue he was given by Irene. Ryu's father had the other statue with him. The two statues, combined with the body of the demon hidden away in a temple, could resurrect the demon. During the conversation, a masked figure suddenly breaks into the cabin and steals Ryu's demon statue. Ryu gives chase and retrieves the statue. When he returns, he finds that Walter has been mortally wounded and his own statue stolen; a moment later, Ryu is captured by three armed men.

Ryu is taken to an interrogation room, where he is addressed by a man named Foster, the director of the CIA. He explains to Ryu that they have been monitoring the activity of someone named The Jaquio. Jaquio wishes to gain the statues so that he can release the Demon trapped in them, bringing out the end of the world. He orders Ryu to eliminate Jaquio.

Ryu parachutes into the jungle of Brazil, and makes his way up the mountains towards the Temple of Darkness. Jaquio threatens Irene, tricking Ryu into handing over the demon statue. On top of the East Tower, Ryu duels and defeats Malth, the man who Ryu's father supposedly dueled to the death. Malth reveals that Ryu's father is still alive.

Ryu fights his way to the throne room of the Temple where he finds Jaquio, who is using the body of the Demon to mind control Ryu's father. Ryu frees his father, who sacrifices himself to save his son from Jaquio. Jaquio is killed during the ensuing fight, but the Demon has already been awakened by a solar eclipse. Ryu is able to defeat the Demon after an epic battle. The Temple collapses, and Irene receives a communication from Foster instructing her to kill Ryu and steal the demon statues. Ryu overhears this and vows revenge against Foster. Ryu and Irene kiss as the sun rises over the sea.

Ryu's Enemies[edit | edit source]

The Malice Four[edit | edit source]

See Also: List of Ninja Gaiden characters

Jaquio's lieutenants in Ninja Gaiden. Personally chosen by the Jaquio himself, these four villains will do anything and everything to stop Ryu Hayabusa from completing his mission. The Malice Four are as follows:

  • The Barbarian: Known as the Executioner of South America, and feared by the natives, the Barbarian uses the Amazon rainforests of Brazil as his hideout. Although his weapon, according to the instruction manual, claims to be a huge ax, it looks more like a scimitar instead. The easiest of the bosses. Ryu encounters him inside Jay's Bar.
  • Bomberhead: Second-in-command of the Malice Four. A street punk originally from the Bronx, he was abandoned at a young age and quickly fell into a life of crime. Aside from being a member of the Malice Four, he also controls the streets of New York as the Lord of Evil. His main weapon is a sickle attached to a chain. He is found lurking inside Amura's Altar.
  • Basaquer: A master of various Chinese martial arts. Was a member of a Chinese killers' organization called the "Five Ranges of Doom," but was thrown out because of his sadistic methods. However, instead of a liability, the Jaquio sees him as a perfect candidate for the Malice Four. He steals the Shadow Demon Statue from Walter Smith, forcing Ryu to chase after him. Ryu corners him inside Yomi's Cave while in pursuit to recover the stolen statue.
  • Bloody Malth: The boss of the Malice Four, and the only person who bested Ryu's father, Jô Hayabusa, in combat. He is the cursed man of Northern European legend, since he bears the "Iron Mask of Blood" and the "Shield of Death." In the duel against Ryu's father, it is revealed that Malth himself was once a ninja. Once Malth is defeated, he tells Ryu some shocking news before he dies: "Your father is alive." Malth awaits to ambush Ryu at the cliff of the Place of Red Execution. It is possible that his name is actually supposed to be "Bloody Mars" (ma-ru-su could conceivably be interpreted as both "Mars" and "Malth"), a reference to the Roman god of war.

Jaquio and his Servants[edit | edit source]

  • Kelbeross (i.e. Kerberos) - Once Jaquio's pet dog, Kerberos was given up as a sacrifice to the evil spirits the Jaquio had pledged his life to. As a result, the soul of Kerberos returns and takes the form of a pair of creatures, continuing to be a loyal servant, protecting Jaquio. The name is likely a Japanese transliteration of the demonic guard dog Cerberus of Greco-Roman mythology.
  • The Masked Devil - Ryu's father, under Jaquio's mind control. The Masked Devil was being controlled via a crystal on the wall of the throne room, which Ryu promptly shattered, freeing his father from the grip of the Jaquio.
  • Guardia de Mieux, a.k.a. The Jaquio - The self-proclaimed "evil demon king", he is the almighty evil, determined to take over the world by utilizing the power of a long-sealed God. He believes in the legends that surround the evil temple ruins deep in the Amazon. He has taken over the temple to build an empire of evil, and utilize its spiritual powers. However, there may be more to his plans than meets the eye...
  • The Demon (Jashin) - The ancient God of Destruction sealed away centuries ago by Shinobi, an ancestor of the Dragon Clan. Shinobi managed to seal it in two statues of Light and Shadow, before separating the statues so that the beast could never return. Jaquio, however, plans to free this monster, and gain tremendous power from the energy that will be released when it comes to life.

Origin and ports[edit | edit source]

Although the NES game, Ninja Gaiden, was the second title to bear the name, there were few similarities to the original arcade game. Ninja Gaiden in the arcade was a two-player co-op beat 'em up, reminiscent of other street fighting games such as Double Dragon. Besides the opening cinematic of a ninja duel and the similar opening urban stages, the NES and arcade games had different gameplay, graphics, and storylines.

Many video games were released bearing the Ninja Gaiden name between 1989 and 1992, including games for the PC, Atari Lynx, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, and Sega Game Gear. However, the only version that was a direct port of the NES title was the 1992 Japan-only release for the TurboGrafx-16|PC Engine. It featured an alternate English translation and more colorful graphics, as well as various difficulty and gameplay tweaks from the original.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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