Video games are filled with strange and unique characters. Ninjas are particularly common as enemies in video games, even those that don’t have an oriental theme. These nameless ninjas are often easily forgotten. But, plenty of ninjas that appear in video games are much more memorable. In fact, the best are nearly legendary in the video game community. The following list highlights the top five best ninjas to ever appear in video games.
5. Ninja (I-Ninja) – The unnamed protagonist of I-Ninja is seemingly the most unlikely ninja ever. He is crass, impatient, and loud. But that just adds to his charm. In terms of movement, though, he is the perfect ninja. He is fast, can run on walls, and throws a mean shuriken. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to see a ninja that was a drunken lout, Ninja will make you stop wondering.
4. Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) – While this arcade game lets you play as any of the four turtles and Donatello is generally considered the most effective fighter, Michelangelo is the most fun. Whirling nunchaka are just more interesting than the basic motions of a bo staff. The other turtles are nearly as cool as he is, so any of them could reasonably take this spot, especially if you are a fan of a particular turtle.
3. Ayame (Tenchu: Stealth Assassins) – This game has two ninjas, and while Rikimaru wears the more traditional outfit, Ayame feels more like an actual ninja. She is more agile and uses paired kodachi instead of a katana. Rikimaru’s slower and more powerful approach makes him feel more like a samurai at times than like a ninja. The game itself definitely projects a ninja vibe, as it is possible to complete levels without ever getting into a face to face battle. Ayame is definitely the stealthiest ninja on this list.
2. Scorpion (Mortal Kombat) – It is pretty hard to argue that Scorpion is one of the coolest ninjas ever to appear in video games. His slogan, “Get over here,” is known to just about every fan of video games, as is his signature move that he uses when he says it. If there is any competition for cool ninjas, it is his in-game foe, Sub-Zero. But, while ice powers are cool, a spear to the chest is just awesome. In a game that actually has nearly half a dozen ninjas, about half of which are robots, Scorpion stands head and shoulders above the competition.
1. Ryu Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden) – With all due respect to Joe Musashi from Shinobi, Ryu Hayabusa is the character that made ninjas in video games popular. From his first appearance in Ninja Gaiden, his story included traditional Japanese plots and themes. Even the method of storytelling mimicked traditional Japanese animation. Game play itself also includes Japanese kanji on power ups and traditional ninja weaponry and ninjitsu. Modern versions of the game only make everything about the character feel that much more traditional, including his complicated story. Even without any game play to highlight his stealth abilities, Ryu just feels like the perfect ninja.