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Ninja Gaiden (NES)
Box artwork for Ninja Gaiden (NES).
Developer(s)Tecmo
Publisher(s)Tecmo
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TurboGrafx-16
Hudson Soft
Distributor(s)Nintendo eShop
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Wii Virtual Console
Wii Shop Channel
Designer(s)Shuichi Sakurazaki
Release date(s)
Genre(s)Action, Platform
System(s)NES, PC Engine, Wii, 3DS VC, Wii U VC
Mode(s)Single player
Rating(s)
ESRB: ESRB E.png Everyone
SeriesNinja Gaiden
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For the arcade game, see Ninja Gaiden. For the Xbox version and all newer revisions, see Ninja Gaiden (Xbox).

Ninja Gaiden (NINJA外伝?), known in Japan as Ninja Ryūkenden (忍者龍剣伝? literally "Legend of the Ninja Dragon Sword") and as Shadow Warriors in Europe, is a side-scrolling action-platformer. It was developed and published by Tecmo for the 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, and the Virtual Console.

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. 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.

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