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The Best Of: Video Game Ninjas

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Posted by: Robert Workman

Ninjas--they’ve been around for ages in movies, TV shows, conversations about battles against pirates…everywhere.  In the video game lexicon, they’ve easily earned their place in the spotlight with some badass adventures.

With that, we’ve decided to take a look at some of our favorite ninja video game characters over the years.  Some choices are more obvious than others, but there’s no question that these guys could probably take you in a fight.  Chances are they already have…

Ninja Kirby (Kirby Super Star, Kirby: Squeak Squad)

Normally, Kirby’s just your average puffball.  Granted, he’s a character that can easily devour you and steal your abilities, but other than that, he’s fairly innocent, right?  Well, make him swallow a ninja and change him into this mighty warrior, and you’ll have a fight on your hands.  Ninja Kirby makes quick work of his enemies with his knifing ability, so beware, um, umbrella dude!  You’ve got it coming!

Sub-Zero/Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)

There are a number of ninjas and cyber-ninjas that stem from the Mortal Kombat universe, but when you get right down to it, two really stand out – the ice-cold Sub-Zero and the hell-born Scorpion.  Both of these guys are devastating in battle, with special abilities and familiar quotes (“Get over here!”) that echo in the halls of fighting eternity.  No matter who you choose, chances are you could whip Ermac’s ass.  (C’mon, he’s ERMAC, for God’s sake.)

Joe Musashi (Shinobi)

Originally introduced as a maskless hero in the arcade game Shinobi in 1987, Joe Musashi has since become something of legend over at Sega, with each one of his games becoming increasingly tougher than the last.  Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master built quite a legacy on Genesis, but Shinobi on the PS2 and the recently released 3DS game proved he’s still as tough as nails after all these years.  Beware his ninja magic!

Ryu Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden, Dead Or Alive)

Speaking of a true ninja warrior who’s been around since the days of the old school, we couldn’t dare forget Ryu.  This guy’s been carving up foes since the NES days, standing for everything right in the ninja ways and going through one heck of a rebirth on the Xbox.  Soon, he’ll be slashing his Dragon Sword again in the upcoming Ninja Gaiden III, due for release next year.  (Oh, and watch out for him in Dead Or Alive 5 as well.)

Kage-Maru (Virtua Fighter)

Even though he hasn’t made a name for himself as big as Ryu’s, Kage-Maru is still one of the more highly respected Virtua Fighters in Sega’s long-running fighting series.  He’s got sneaky abilities galore, and his grab maneuvers are quite powerful, leaving heavy damage on an enemy’s health bar.  Look for Kage to tear up the virtual streets once more with Virtua Fighter 5: Final Evolution, hitting Xbox Live and PlayStation Network sometime next summer.

Ninja and Kunoichi (The Ninja Warriors)

Taito didn’t dabble too much with ninja-oriented gaming, but when it did, these two robotic superheroes stepped in without breaking a sweat.  Making their debut in the dual-screen arcade game of the same name, The Ninja Warriors have since appeared in other variations, including a cool SNES remake with plenty of slice-and-dice action.  These guys are due for a return – and hopefully a better hyped one than Kage got a few years ago on DS.  What happened there?

Ibuki (Street Fighter III)

When Street Fighter III came out, it introduced a number of amazing new characters to the fighting series.  Among them was Ibuki, a swift-moving female ninja who proved to be quite the adversary, even to the likes of fireball-throwing heroes like Ryu and Ken.  Her fast movement makes her hard to hit, and her attack abilities are second to none.  We’re glad she’s still a staple in this series to this very day – but when is she going to come over to Marvel vs. Capcom territory?

Rikimaru, Ayame (Tenchu)

If there’s one game that could be considered a true ninja simulator (if someone’s looking for that sort of thing), it’s easily Tenchu.  The series features two versatile warriors to choose from – the young, beautiful Ayame and the older, much more experienced Rikimaru.  Both are awesome when it comes to battle, as they leave their enemies laying in a bloody heap.  What’s more, they can sneak around better than most anyone on this list.  If only there was a way we could have a battle royale…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

“They’re heroes in a halfshell, and they’re green!”  The stars of a hit animated series, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles struck gaming gold when Konami produced an arcade game featuring the fabulous four, battling against the evil Shredder and company.  Since then, they’ve starred in countless other games and ports, including an XBLA release of the original arcade game that’s still wildly popular today.  “Cowabunga says it all!”

Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (Kid Niki: Radical Ninja)

What else needs to be said?  Kid Niki is FRICKIN’ RADICAL!

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