In honour of the new Ninja Gaiden, we’re running through our favourite video game ninjas. In part two, we cover our top five digital shadow warriors.
If you missed the first five, click here.
5. Kage – Legend of Kage
This ninjitsu classic might technically have been a side-scroller, but the main character’s ability to high jump and climb trees gave the whole thing an added vertical dimension that made it more enjoyable than the average run-and-bash game of the era. As did the fact that the main character’s name translates as ‘Shadow’ and he could meditate his opponents to death. How ninja is that? Pretty darn ninja, am I right?
Who’d have thought silent assassins could be so family friendly? Or so cute? The cartoony stylings of the Mini Ninjas world would be enough to recommend it, but as you explore further you’ll discover ninja skills displayed by no other Kagemusha on this list…the ability to turn into a chicken and fly over rivers. What? Well, we think it’s cool.
3. Raphael – Turtles In Time
Yes, there were four heroes in a half shell, but we always liked mardy bitch Raphael the best. The string of Turtles arcade games from Konami all featured cool character designs, lightning fast combat and great boss fights, but its appearance as an Xbox Live Arcade title means that Turtles in Time is the easiest version to have a crack at.
2. Snake Eyes – G I Joe
The coolest ninja of all time. The ultimate hero to boys who grew up in the eighties, and the central character of a staggering number of GI Joe and Action Force related video games. Perhaps the best games to feature Snake Eyes were the two Action Force games released for Spectrum and Commodore in the UK, but his appearance in the 1991 NES GI Joe game is where he gets the most prominence, as his underpowered but unlimited ammo makes him the most enjoyable character.
You know how we said ninjas were sneaky? That they’d show up were you least expected them? Well how’s this for unexpected: riding a child’s toy through a subway whilst performing stunts. In the 1980s you could sell anything if you stuck the word ninja on it, and we still love Silverbird’s dedication to that particular rule of marketing. Ninja Scooter Simulator is now so obscure it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, but there are emulators out there, so you can discover the surreal joy of being a stealthy 17th century spy doing aerial 360s on a piece of two-wheeled plastic tat.