Ninjas. Those shadowy infiltrators of feudal Japan, with their carefully honed deceptions and sneaky ways, they could be anywhere. Except in video games they tend not to be so subtle. A video game ninja is more likely to be found screaming a battle cry whilst washing his face with the guts of his enemies. In honour of the latest Ninja Gaiden, a strangely ropey yet deliciously enjoyable slash-em-up, we bring you Megabits ten favourite video game ninjas…
10. Ryu Hayabusa - Ninja Gaiden
We thought we’d start with Ryu Hayabusa, a killing machine dressed like a cross between Darth Vader, Shredder and Kevin Rowland (seriously, what’s with that sash?). You know how we said video game ninjas skipped the sneaky section in their training manual? Ryu is a case in point: give him enough grief and he’ll summon a four storey tall fire breathing dragon to devour his foes. Crafty.
Ah, Saboteur. A game so good we should probably have had it at number one on our list. A game so good we couldn’t wait that long to summarise it. A case of premature encapsulation, if you will. This dog-kicking, shuriken-throwing, dinghy-sailing polymath actually fits the ninja bill. He sneaks into a building, he dodges security cameras, ducks out of sight of security guards, he detonates an enormous bomb...wait, what?
8. Joe Musashi - Shinobi
The name Joe Musashi would suggest a samurai rather than a ninja, but we’re talking about a guy who can punch, kick, slash, shoot, shuriken and ‘ninja-magic’ his way through seemingly endless waves of opponents capable of one-hitting him. Make no mistake, this guy is hard. If he wants to call himself a ninja, we’re not going to argue.
7. Gray Fox – Metal Gear Solid
Forget about his defection in MGS II, or his teenage appearances as Null, and just remember the first time you saw him in Metal Gear Solid. Gray Fox…Cyborg Ninja…Saibogu Ninja…three names, one extremely cool characters design. On the rare occasions when he’s not invisible or moving too fast to be seen, Gray Fox’s slender form and ominous red eye radiant calm, lethal capability. Shame he’s vulnerable to chaff grenades and being stamped on by fifty foot tall robotic death machines, really.
6. Hattori Iga – Total War: Shogun 2
You’ve read the site, you know we can be a bit spoddy at times. In gaming terms, the most often expresses itself in our love of stat-scrutinising, number-crunching strategy games. In recent years, our favourite more-work-than-play game has been Total War: Shogun 2, and our favourite units the uber-powerful Hattori Iga ninjas included in the game’s special edition.