The Top 10 Ninjas In Video Games

Oh video game ninjas. They’re everywhere! And used to various effecst. Sometimes, they only resemble a ninja in the loosest terms, but we still love them. Because ninjas are badass – some might say they are the ultimate badasses. Even just the slightest association to a ninja is an instant hit among the gaming geeks.

So here’s Wild Gunmen’s list of top 10 ninjas in video games. Not everyone will agree with the list or it’s order – even some of the staff – but we took into account how much a character resembles the traditional ninja, how recognizable or iconic they are in their role, and what kind of  crazy shit they’ve had to use their ninja skills to get out of in their video game careers.

The ninja from N & N+ really knows what being a ninja is all about. He’s silent, and moves quickly to his goal, dispatching what enemies he needs to along the way, but focusing mostly on his speed.

There’s not too much to him, adding to the ninja mystique and authenticity. What started as a flash game quickly rocketed to success on portable consoles, hurtling this little ninja into the spotlight.

Mai Shiranui is a master ninja. I know, I know – her ninjitsu is hardly what she’s known for, but once you get past the cleavage and booty shots, Mai is a pretty good ninja. She can throw that fan and flip an opponent like a pro… and she’s got badass hot clevage… which she can use to… um… help her balance!

The ninjas from Ninjatown must fend off the forces of Dr. Demon to protect their village in this wonderful tower defense game.

Led by Ol’ Master Ninja, these adorable guys prove to be deadly, using traditional weapons such as snowballs to take down their foes. The currency of Ninjatown is ninja star cookies! Sweet!

Everyone has a favourite, so all four of the turtles share one spot on this list. The Ninja Turtles have been capturing the hearts and imaginations of gamers for years, not only in comics and on camera, but in an outstanding number of shallow to amazing video games.

Go Ninja! Go Ninja! Go!

The Final Fantasy series has had its share of ninjas, but Shadow stands out. Although for the first half of the game, you could only pay him to join your party as a mercenary, and sometimes he’s paid by the bad guys to be your enemy, he does save the party at the half way mark of the game, thus redeeming himself as a good guy ninja.

Many gamers ran straight to their airship and escaped – there was a time limit imposed on you, and if you didn’t make it, you died. Those that chose to wait for shadow until only the last few seconds on the timer, were rewarded.

A great character, Shadow was a pure ninja. He looked the part, he used throwing stars (and could throw anything else in your inventory) and even had a dog to help him out in some attacks. All around Shadow stands as an iconic powerhouse of a ninja even if he was only a side character.

There was a time when Shinobi was a flagship title for Sega. With his short swords, ninja throwing stars and powerful ninja special abilities, Shinobi’s Joe Musashi was a hardcore ninja, taking down an entire crime syndicate on multiple occasions.

A big factor in deciding if a character is “ninja” enough for this list is difficulty, and the Shinobi games were hard. But a true ninja perseveres, and although Shinobi’s popularity has sharply declined since the days of the Genesis, somehow the series still limps on, with Joe Musashi keeping up appearances as one of gaming’s oldest and greatest ninjas.

The Lin Kui warrior has become one of the poster boys for the Mortal Kombat series. He’s been in every entry of the main series, his costume is easily recognizable, and so are his special attacks.

People don’t care much what his personality is, and only fans of the series have bothered to learn his back story, but everyone remembers that MK1 fatality where he rips off his opponents head, wrenching out the spine.

Everyone remembers the Cyborg Ninja from Metal Gear Solid. A wild card in the plot, the Cyborg Ninja (who was revealed to be Grey Fox) was just bad ass. In his first appearance, he cut off Ocelots hand like it was no big deal.

Later, he tears through a hallway of enemies, leaving no one alive. He then forces you into hand-to-hand combat, as he can block your bullets with ease. And nearing the games big finale, he sacrifices himself to save the day.

The character is popular enough that he’s survived the series in many ways, but everyone always remembers the original.

Tenchu is the heart of ninja games. Rikimaru dispatches enemies with the sword of his clan, Izayoi, and more importantly, through stealth. It’s fascinating how many ninja games there are, but this is the only one on this list that is stealth based.

Rikimaru himself sports a scar over his eye, given to him by his older brother, who also killed his master. At one point all that was left of his entire clan was him and his partner Ayame. Although the Tenchu game series has fallen in quality over the past few iterations, Rikimaru remains a total badass. This guy has seen some serious shit.

Regardless of which version of Ryu you prefer (the NES or the current one), this dude has always kicked ass and looked good doing it. While he may not have freeze powers, or use traditional ninja methods or show off his cleavage, Ryu Hayabusa is the biggest name on this list. And that hasn’t always been so, and it may change in the future, but right now Ryu Hayabusa is on top.

Ninja Gaiden games have always looked good and been extremely popular – not to mention difficult – and Ryu has always been a stylish, but lethal force.

His costume isn’t particularly original, but throw any of the characters in a ninja garb, and chances are gamers today will assume it’s Ryu.

Disagree? Tell us about it in the comments!

This list is subjective. I mean, the seven staff writers who helped compile it surely don’t accurately account for the entire gaming populous. We know this, which is why we like to hear your suggestions and comments below. Thanks!

To contact the author of this post: aaron.chatha@wildgunmen.com

Comments (54)

  1. Dwight says:

    Typo Shadow was in FFVI not FFXI.

  2. xino says:

    once again Ryu dominates!
    seriously who can kill him?

    Ken Ogawa?

  3. bigcheese says:

    Needs more Stealth Assassin or Phantom Assassin from Warcraft 3!

  4. aѕdjғнѕdjĸ says:

    Rikimaru should be number one… the dude is the epitome of a real ninja.

  5. heroprotagonist says:

    Agreed. Rikimaru (and Ayame) are the most realistic ninja characters in any game. I wish they would bring the true Tenchu back to life on this generation of consoles. Tenchu Z was good, but I miss playing as Rikimaru and Ayame and I want a good narrative.

  6. BlackTar187 says:

    Rikimura is #1
    for sure. He is the definition.

    man when i bought Tenchu 1 on a whim at target it will always be remebered as one of the best expriences i ever had in a videogame.

    what a great game.

    tenchu z was fun until you relized all the levels were the same. The coop was the best part and evern that got old.

    they need a true sequel to that game with the love and care that was put into #1 and #2

    anyways great game glad this article brought back such fond memories. to be honest i dont consider ninja gaiden a ninja game other then he dress’s like a ninja nothing about it really screams ninja to me. all about stelth

    Game ON

    • Janx says:

      100% agree and if I had my way Rikimaru would be #1! :P

      I had a similar experience as you BlackTar187. I picked up Tenchu on a whim from Blockbuster. Me and my buddy Arne played it non-stop all night.

      Such an unbelievably good game… and then Tenchu 2 just further blew our minds! Such an unbelievable beginning to that series. Thank God it’s at least up there in #2 position.

  7. tigersnake86 says:

    Grey Fox is my fav

  8. HeavenlySnipes says:

    Raiden…
    /thread

  9. Lombax says:

    Zero should be on this list.

  10. albel_nox says:

    The Ninja Turtles are longtime favorites of mine but I would have to pick Sub Zero and Grey Fox as the best.

  11. [...] FasterThanFTL says:

    Where is Scorpion?

  12. disparage says:

    Wonder who would win between Fox and Ryu….

  13. punisher99 says:

    Its nice to see that they gave Shinobi (Joe Musashi) some respect. This guy is probably the original ninja in the video game world.

    • NinjaAssassin says:

      Indeed. I remember playing the original Shinobi in arcades back in the late 80s. Although, come to think of it Ninja Gaiden dates back nearly that far as well. I think Shinobi was just a little bit before.

      • punisher99 says:

        @NinjaAssassin
        Yeah. for Shinobi I was trying to remember if it was the early 80s or even the late 70s. Ninja Gaiden I know started in the late 80s on the 8-bit nes.

      • Bathyj says:

        Havent you guys ever heard of The Last Ninja?

  14. madara says:

    wow… totally omit Naruto and all the ninjas in that series from this whole thing… sheesh… seriously this list disappoints.

    • Janx says:

      Call me stereotypical… but a ninja who dresses in the brightest coloured orange jumpsuit imaginable and has a head full of bleach blond hair whipping around at all times… isn’t exactly a ninja in my books.

      Also, the Naruto gaming franchise isn’t that old either compared to the other ninja characters on this list who come from a different entertainment medium other than video games like anime, television or movies.

  15. JOLLY1 says:

    I totally agree! Ryu is a BAMF

  16. George says:

    they once again picked the wrong person to represent Shinobi, Joe MUsashi is a pusy compared to the 2002 shinobi hero, Hotsuma, the game got low ratings mostly due to extreme difficulty being on par if not harder than ninja gaiden. Hotsuma and his skills have no equal, but since the ninja gaiden team owns that company they wont allow a very good game to be made about him. research Hotsuma from 2002 Shinobi and compare his pros and cons to Ryu, and you will fin they are almost identical.

  17. Gary says:

    I think Hanzo from Samurai Shodown should be in the list

  18. PREDATORDAP says:

    Where the fuck is The Last Ninja?!
    The guy was kicking much ass back in a day – was the best ninja ever!!!!
    If you don’t know about the game – find out now. C64 4eva!

  19. Bathyj says:

    You all know my opinion on this. I’ve said it again and again.
    Tenchu is the ONLY ninja game.
    Stealth tactics anyone?
    All the rest are simply asian action heroes.

    Tenchu X is my favourite 360 game. It returned to the big open levels which you skirt around the perimeter and then start tackle it from any angle you wanted. The PS2/Xbox games got very linear with usually one coridor to go down. Plus it was the first game to get the controls and camera controls right. Tenchu is a game that demands you control the camera so you can see every angle.

  20. writersblock says:

    I know he’s not a real “ninja”
    But I’d say Sam Fisher

    Just creep through the shadows. Think about it, in SC 1-3 you take out whole bases without anyone suspecting a thing

    Bank level in 3, I got through the whole thing without knocking out or killing anyone, or even spotting my shadow

    Thats a ninja

  21. ShadowJetX says:

    Damn…
    I was hoping to see Sheena Fujibayshi or her ancestor from Phantasia in there. But oh well, this is a good, if not a great list anyways yeah.

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    Cubs’ series opener vs Reds postponed

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    The bonds used to design and build Safeco Field are on pace to be retired early — seven years ahead of schedule for the $26 million used to build the parking garage (they are expected to be paid off this year), and four years early (in 2012) for the $310 million in ballpark bonds.

    And Armstrong notes that once the Mariners’ ownership group recoups its operating losses, a profit-sharing system goes into place in which 10 percent of subsequent earnings will go back to the public via the PFD.griffeys for women

    On an aesthetic level, there are still critics who bemoan the fact it wasn’t built in the North Lot of the Kingdome, or who maintain that the retractable roof was unnecessary.

    Architect critic John Pastier said upon its opening that the retractable roof was “not only a superbly engineered waste of money” but also “a superbly engineered waste of space.”cheap griffey shoes

    A decade later, he hasn’t changed his advocacy for the North Kingdome location (“it’s in the wrong place,” he says of Safeco) nor his disdain for the roof, which he calls a “real wet blanket … a beast. It’s like a foreign object.”

    Yet the ambience, atmosphere, architecture, sightlines and sensibilities — the whole ballpark experience — is widely considered to be one of the best in baseball in survey after survey.

    Certainly, it is revered by ballplayers (with the exception, perhaps, of right-handed power hitters).king griffeys 2012

    “Everyone loves it,” said Texas reliever Eddie Guardado, who spent two-plus seasons with the Mariners. “I’d say it ranks in most players’ top three, and a lot of top ones. It’s a beautiful park.”

    The Mariners were adamant from the beginning they needed a roof to ensure their large contingent of out-of-town fans that their trip would not be for naught. And the roof, designed with the concept of being an umbrella over the stadium — a carport rather than a garage was the common explanation — actually came in on budget at $67 million after being reduced from five to three sections.

    “It was an amazing feat to get that done, and to do it in a way that doesn’t just work well technically, but works well from a fan enjoyment standpoint,” said Johnsen. “When you’re in the park and the roof is closed, you still feel like you’re outside. That amazed me.”

    Other attributes of Safeco are the dazzling view from various locales, and the way the park fosters mobility — fans can watch from various vantage points in the ballpark and not miss action while in the concourses.king griffeys

    “I often get up around the fifth or sixth inning, walk around the whole place on the 100 level all the way around, and just sort of purr, looking at all those happy people looking down on that field of dreams,” said former University of Washington president William Gerberding, one of the original members of the PFD board. “Seattle got lucky with that park.”

    Branch Rickey once said famously that luck is the residue of design. The Seattle-based architectural firm NBBJ was given the task of designing Safeco Field, though in the meeting to choose the architect, the Mariners cast the lone vote for HOK, the Kansas City powerhouse that had masterminded the highly praised Camden Yards.

    “I think the M’s finally came around,” says Dennis Forsyth, the NBBJ architect who had the daunting position of project manager. “We weren’t their choice, and we were always walking up hill. But they’re proud of the field. Whenever I run into Chuck, I think he’s happy.”

    At their pitch meeting to the PFD, NBBJ posted a sign that said, “Our goal is to create the best ballpark in the world.”cheap ken griffey shoes

    Said Forsyth: “I think the PFD board had the same desire, and the Mariners had the same desire. That was the mission we were on — to make it fit into Pioneer Square and make it feel like it belonged in Seattle.”

    And to do it on an accelerated timetable that the Mariners deemed essential. The original goal was to have the ballpark ready for opening day in 1999, but that was reluctantly moved back to midseason. Still, of the five ballparks that were being built at the time — San Francisco, Houston, Milwaukee and Detroit, as well as Seattle — it was on the fastest track.

    “Remember, we were losing, just pure cash losses, $20 million every year,” said Waldman. “So every year’s delay was another $20 million of loss. Beyond that, this thing had a certain momentum to it. You always worry, on the political side, about losing that momentum.”kids ken griffey shoes

    So it was a wild race against time that accentuated the stress that was already swirling. More than 3,250 workers representing about 29 construction trades built Safeco in a joint venture of Huber, Hunt and Nichols and Kiewit Construction. Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire designed and engineered the roof.

    “We needed to build it as fast as any ballpark that size — faster,” said the PFD’s Johnsen. “I think in a lot of ways that drove the tension over the course of the project on a number of fronts. There was not a lot of time to say, ‘Let’s sit back and think about this.’ ”

    “It was a crazy atmosphere,” added Forsyth. “We had to really make every decision count. People were out there trying to stop it. It was just strange. We all put our heads down and got it done.”kids griffey shoes

    And they did so in a way that even some of its fiercest critics have grudgingly admitted is an artistic success. Chris Van Dyk, head of the watchdog group, “Citizens for More Important Things,” which filed a lawsuit claiming the ballpark bonds were illegal that went all the way to the state Supreme Court before being shot down, remains disdainful of the public expenditure.

    “We opposed it because we felt professional baseball had plenty of its own money to build its own bloody stadium, and the Kingdome was only 20 years old,” he said. “Neither factor has changed.

    “What they used to justify the wisdom of using a half-billion dollars which was desperately needed for other stuff was the economic development in the immediate area. The only economic development you see in the area is a strip club that they’ve been fighting.”

    Yet Van Dyk is a Mariners follower, and he acknowledged that he has recently taken in a game at Safeco Field. His evaluation?griffey shoes

    “It’s an incredible facility,” he said. “Gosh, the fans love it.”

    On that one point alone, perhaps, he and the Mariners are in sync. Armstrong has noted that several times a week, he’ll find himself admiring the place and reflecting on the arduous journey that got the team there.

    “I tell people I have four children, three of whom are human,” he said.

    “Safeco Field is my fourth child. She’s beautiful.”

    Larry Brown is introduced as Southern Methodist coach | College basketball

    Larry Brown has returned to college coaching.

    The 71-year-old Hall of Famer was formally introduced as Southern Methodist’s coach Monday in Dallas. SMU has not won an NCAA tournament game since 1988 — the same year Brown won a national title at Kansas in his most recent season as a college coach.

    Brown, known for sometimes messy departures from jobs, brushed off questions about how long he would stay at SMU, saying he thought the Mustangs had the resources to compete in the Big East when they join that conference in 2013. He joked about his age.

    “When I look in the mirror, I get kind of scared,” said Brown, who replaces the fired Matt Doherty. “But inside, I feel like I can do this forever.”griffey shoes 2012

    Brown is the only coach to win both an NCAA championship and an NBA title. He hasn’t coached since leaving the Charlotte Bobcats in December 2010.

    Brown declined to talk in detail about his contract.

    “I’ve always been overpaid and this is no exception,” he said.

    Virginia Tech fires Greenbergken griffey shoes

    Virginia Tech fired coach Seth Greenberg, who had a 170-123 record in nine seasons and guided the Hokies to the NCAA tournament once (they were 1-1 in the 2007 tournament).

    Greenberg, 56, gets a $1.2 million buyout.

    2 UConn players get releasescheap griffeys

    Connecticut officials confirmed center-forward Michael Bradley and forward Roscoe Smith have been released from their scholarships, which will allow them to transfer.

    Olympics

    Ex-USOC leader Walker dies

    LeRoy Walker, the first African-American to lead the U.S. Olympic Committee and the first black man to coach an American Olympic team, died. He was 93.

    Walker led the USOC from 1992 to 1996. He coached the U.S. track-and-field team at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, where it won 22 medals.

    Track and field griffeys

    Siegel will be CEO of USATF

    USA Track & Field hired former board member Max Siegel as its new chief executive officer, ending a 16-month search. He signed a two-year contract worth $500,000 a year, with a chance for bonuses.

    Siegel was on the board when it ousted the former CEO, Doug Logan.

    Horse racing

    Havre de Grace is retired

    Havre de Grace, the 2011 North American Horse of the Year, has been retired because of an ankle injury detected Sunday after a workout at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

    Owner Rick Porter said the injury is not considered life-threatening.king griffey shoes

    Havre de Grace, a 5-year-old mare who was trained by Larry Jones, won nine of 16 starts and earned $2,586,175 in her career.

    Hall of Fame has 2012 class of 4

    Ghostzapper, the 2004 North American Horse of the Year, and jockey John Velazquez, 40, were elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame along with two trainers — Canada-based Roger Attfield, 72, and the late Robert Wheeler.

    The induction ceremony for the 2012 class is Aug. 10 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

    Charity

    Jackson seeks to raise $1 million

    Retired two-sport star Bo Jackson hopes to raise $1 million for tornado relief and increase awareness of lingering damage across Alabama with a five-day, 300-mile bicycle ride through the state that begins Tuesday.

    The 49-year-old Jackson, a former resident of Bessemer in Jefferson County, said he was on the West Coast when 62 twisters hit the state April 27, killing about 250 and leaving a path of destruction officials said was the equivalent of an area 1,000 miles long and 20 miles wide.

    Jackson, a standout at Auburn who won the 1985 Heisman Trophy, was a Pro Bowl running back in the NFL and an All-Star outfielder for baseball’s Kansas City Royals.cheap griffeys 2012

    Riders can join Jackson in “Bo Bikes Bama” for a donation of $200 a day. Jackson said numerous sports celebrities will join him along the way, including former Mariners superstar Ken Griffey Jr. and cycling icon Lance Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner.

    Elsewhere

    ? Asjha Jones was added to the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team, making half the roster former Connecticut Huskies. UConn coach Geno Auriemma coaches the Olympic team, which is to train in Seattle from May 11 to May 13.

    ? The golf course at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in England has been lengthened by 181 yards for this year’s British Open, with all but two holes having been altered since the last time the tournament was held there in 2001.

    The length of the course has increased to 7,086 yards, but par will remain 70.ken griffey jr shoes

    The British Open starts July 19.

    ? The Glasgow Rangers were barred from signing players older than 17 for a year and their owner banned for life from any involvement in Scottish soccer as part of a series of punishments imposed on the financially troubled club by the Scottish Football Association. The team has three days to appeal.

    The record 54-time Scottish champions went into administration — a form of bankruptcy protection — in February with tax debts of about $14 million accrued after Craig Whyte’s takeover in May 2011.

    ? Norwood Teague, 46, previously athletic director at Virginia Commonwealth, will be the new AD at Minnesota if approved by university regents. Joel Maturi plans to step down July 1.

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