Ninjas made themselves truly known many centuries after their relevance in the form of ninja-themed computer games. The combination of amazing prowess, a rich culture and an almost mystical presence of the ninja lends itself really well to gaming. The games listed excel in some areas while providing an all-around solid fighting experience.
Ninja Gaiden 3
Team Ninja divorced itself from the former difficulties of the series to delve fully into the ninja’s psyche, while distilling from the combat scenes ruthless displays. As the enemies weaken and grow desperate under your attacks, Ryu has a number of ways to finish them off – swords and weapons come into Ryu’s hands, but he also throws his twisted mutant hand into the mix with the ‘Grip of the Murder techniques’. You can also transform into a fiery dragon – a game sure to bring out the Ninja hidden within.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
An example of the Midway team accomplishing more than they intended with the Mortal Kombat series is the fans nostalgically reflecting on the sub-plots and story-lines of the characters as much as the actual fighting. Over a dozen ninjas come to Deadly Alliance, and the journeys they make are memorable as they explore the much used duality: good vs evil. Two archenemies, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, see their roles reversed as the former is knocked down a peg or two after having his honor cleared and record wiped. Meanwhile, an alienated Sub-Zero relinquishes his human dignity and merges with himself, an unfeeling machine.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
The original format for the “Tenchu” series was so successful that follow-ups in the series stayed on track and didn’t stray far from this winning formula, and even unrelated games borrowed parts of what made it so successful. “Tenchu” mixed stealth elements in a higher order than any game before it – something other games frequently sweep under the rug. Protagonist, Rikimaru, cloaked in darkness, evading pursuit from all sides, is a real depiction of what the ninja is all about as a hired assassin. The evasion techniques have ended up in games such as “Splinter Cell” and “Metal Gear Solid” – a real inspiration of a game.
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja
Rise of a Ninja attempts to stay true to the eponymous Manga and Anime series, but the story of Naruto’s transformation from rampaging kid to grave warrior stands out. The trek through the countryside surrounding Konoha Village is realistic, something the ninja genre doesn’t usually cover; this allows for players to submerge themselves fully in the ninja culture. The intensity of the battles and combat is at times awesome – you must play it to believe!
It doesn’t get any better than the original Ninja Gaiden. The natural and subtle feel of the combat system still holds up against any in its generation as Ryu turns his opponents into puddles of blood. The enemies are really detailed and even beautiful as they are deadly, but none are a match for Ryu after he’s figured them out. The backdrops and environments are also full of detail and mood, creating a powerful stretch to your emotions.