The Top 10 Ninja Video Games
Throwing stars, silent-but-deadly stealth maneuvers, and cool clothes—ninja are possibly one of the most romanticized aspects of Japanese culture. Video games, of course, are happy to maintain that image and let us live out our wildest ninja fantasies. We've picked out our 10 best ninja games (or game series) of all time. See if you agree!
10. Mini Ninjas
Mini Ninjas is a little indie game from 2009 that pays tribute to all things ninja with its charming art style and simple mechanics. The game foregoes the typical blood and gore of many early ninja games to present something a tad more whimsical.
9. Bushido Blade
Bushido Blade was one of the first ninja games rendered in 3-D, and also one of the toughest thanks to its Body Damage System. Where most fighting games have health bars, Bushido Blade was the exception. This more realistic system allowed players to cripple their opponents by targeting legs or arms—or causing death with a single, well-placed blow.
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in Japanese arcades as a coin-op game by Konami before making its way to the NES. This side-scrolling beat 'em up let '90s kids realize their wildest dreams playing as all four of the eponymous turtles.
7. Fruit Ninja
No ninja game is quite as satisfying as Fruit Ninja, with its sloppy, tactile sound effects and bright colors. This is a game that delights in making a mess, made all the more fun because you're wielding a katana.
6. Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Most ninja games before Tenchu were all about the hack-and-slash mechanics. Tenchu revolutionized ninja games by focusing on the stealthier aspects of ninja tactics. Your principal goal? Go unseen across rooftops, then drop down to take out your target instantly from behind.
5. Mark of the Ninja
Another stealth-heavy ninja game, and one of the more recent titles on our list, Mark of the Ninja is truly a work of art. Its moody, cartoon-style graphics are stunning, truly capturing the game's conflict between tradition and modernization.
Shinobi is one of the most enduring names in video games, and for good reason. The series was well-known for its advanced enemy AI and punishing difficulty.
3. Ninja Gaiden
The Ninja Gaiden series has consistently offered over-the-top ninja fun, from its inception in arcades and in the 8-bit NES era to its most recent entries on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The games generally center on ninja Ryu Hayabusa as he takes on baddies and hunts down sweet, ultra-powerful ninja swords.
2. Arc the Lad
Arc the Lad is a series of tactical RPGs, making it a more cerebal, slow-paced entry on a list otherwise full of stabby action. If it's an excellent story and solid gameplay you seek, Arc the Lad is the ninja throwback game for you.
1. Mortal Kombat
What ninja list is complete without Mortal Kombat? Most of us have fond memories playing this game when the parents weren't paying attention. If they caught a glimpse of you punching holes through people's abdomens, that would be the end of your fun! Mortal Kombat shocked and awed when we found out just how violent 16-bit graphics could be.