Ninja Gaiden, known in Japan as Ninja Ryūkenden and as Shadow Warriors in Europe, is a side-scrolling action-platforming video game. It was developed and published by Tecmo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES); its development and release coincided with the beat 'em up arcade version of the same name. It was released in December 1988 in Japan, in March 1989 in North America, and in August 1991 in Europe. It has been ported to several other platforms, including the PC Engine, the Super NES, the Virtual Console, and mobile phones.
The story follows a ninja named Ryu Hayabusa as he journeys to America to avenge his murdered father. There, he learns that a person named 'the Jaquio' plans to take control of the world by unleashing an ancient demon through the power contained in two statues.
Ninja Gaiden (NES version)
Featuring platforming gameplay similar to Castlevania and the NES version of Batman, players control Ryu through six 'Acts' that comprise 20 levels; they encounter enemies that must be dispatched with Ryu's katana and other secondary weapons.
Ninja Gaiden has been renowned for its elaborate story and usage of anime-like cinematic cutscenes. It received extensive coverage and won several awards from video gaming magazines, while criticism focused on its high and unforgiving difficulty, particularly in the later levels. Over fifteen years after its release, the game continued to receive acclaim from print and online publications. It was novelized as part of the Worlds of Power NES game adaptations written by Seth Godin and Peter Lerangis, and it spawned a soundtrack CD. On the NES, Ninja Gaiden has been described as one of the best arcade-style games, and the best ninja-related game.
Ninja Gaiden features a ninja named Ryu Hayabusa who seeks revenge for the death of his father and gradually finds himself involved in a sinister plot that threatens the entire world. The story opens with Ryu's father Ken being killed in a duel by an unknown assailant. After the duel, Ryu finds a letter written by Ken which tells Ryu to find an archeologist named Walter Smith in America.
Ninja Gaiden is a side-scrolling platform game in which the player takes control of the player character, Ryu Hayabusa, and guides him through six 'Acts' that comprise 20 levels. Ryu's physical strength is represented by a life meter, which decreases when he is hit by an enemy or projectile. A 'life' is lost when the life meter depletes entirely, when Ryu falls off of the screen, or when the timer runs out. A game over screen appears when all lives are lost; however, the player may restart the level on which this occurred by continuing. At the end of every act, the player fights a boss; bosses have life meters that the player depletes with attacks. A boss is defeated when its life meter is depleted entirely. Each boss is one of the 'Malice Four' – evil underlings of the Jaquio, the game's main antagonist. The Malice Four consist of Barbarian, Bomberhead, Basaquer, and their leader Bloody Malth.
Players attack enemies by thrusting at them with Ryu's Dragon Sword – a katana-like sword passed down from the Hayabusa clan for generations. They can also use 'secondary' weapons that consume Ryu's 'spiritual strength'. Secondary weapons include throwing stars, 'windmill throwing stars' which cut through enemies and return like boomerangs, a series of twirling fireballs named 'the art of the fire wheel', and a mid-air slashing technique called the 'jump & slash'. When Ryu's spiritual strength meter becomes too low, the player cannot use secondary weapons. Players can replenish Ryu's spiritual strength by collecting red and blue 'spiritual strength' items found in lamps and lanterns. Other items found along the way include hourglasses that freeze all enemies and projectiles for five seconds, bonus point containers, potions that restore six units of physical strength, 'invincible fire wheels' that make Ryu temporarily invincible to attacks, and 1-ups.
Ryu has the ability to jump on and off ladders and walls, and by using the directional pad, he can climb up or down ladders. Ryu can spring off walls by holding the directional pad in the opposite direction he is facing and pressing the jump button. He cannot attack while on walls or ladders. Players can use this technique to get Ryu to climb up spaces between walls and columns by holding down the jump button and alternating between left and right on the directional pad. Ryu can also vertically climb a single wall by springing off it and then quickly pressing the directional pad back towards the wall.
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The NES version of Ninja Gaiden (Shadow Warriors) was originally controlled via the NES controller with a cross-shaped joypad and two action buttons. The basic description of game controls is summarized in the table below. Detailed description of how to play this game can be found a in the attached game manual. Please note that individual
gamepad buttons are emulated by different keys on your PC keyboard depending on the settings of your online emulator (see the table next to the game).
Press left or right on the D-pad to run in either direction. Press up or down to climb or descend ladders. Press down while standing on the ground to squat.
Press the A button to jump in the air. Unlike many other games, you have no control over the height of your jump; you will jump the same height whether you tap the button or hold it down.
Press the B button to attack by swinging your sword. You can attack low by squatting when you attack. Hold up while pressing B to utilize whichever secondary weapon you have in your possession.
Not used in this game.
Press the Start button to begin a new game, or to pause the action mid-game. You can also press the Start button to bypass the cinematic cut scenes and advance directly to the next stage.
This version of Ninja Gaiden (Shadow Warriors) was designed for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which was an eight-bit video game console manufactured
by Nintendo in the years 1983 - 2003. In that time, it was the best-selling video game console for which more than 700 licensed games and a number of non-licensed
games were created. Worldwide, approximately 62 million units of this console were sold at approximately price $ 100 per unit. More information about the
NES console can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, buy a suitable USB controller on Amazon or AliExpress or in some of your favorite online stores.
Available online emulators:
6 different online emulators are available for Ninja Gaiden (Shadow Warriors). These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Ninja Gaiden (Shadow Warriors) are summarized in the following table:
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