It’s well established that ninjas rule everything around them and are totally sweet. Video game creators certainly know this fact, so it’s no surprise that ninjas have appeared in various video games throughout the years. Just about all of them kick ass, but some stand out much more than others. I recently played Ninja Blade demo – which I thought sucked – and got to thinking about the coolest, most bad ass ninjas in video games. Naturally, I created another Power Rankings. After the jump, take a look at the top five video game ninjas presented – as always – in reverse order.
5. Joe Musashi – Shinobi Games
Joe first showed up in the arcade version of Shinobi in 1987, and I remember it being one of the more popular games. He started off as a young, weak boy, but by training hard and meditating, he was able to become a powerful, deadly ninja. Joe Musashi was agile and swift with the sword as any good ninja should be, but his ability to hit enemies with throwing stars is what makes Joe really shine. Nothing was better than pelting enemies in the bonus stage of the arcade game; a first-person view allowed you to see the stars flung from Joe’s hand and stuck into an enemy ninja. Later games in the Shinobi series featured Joe’s son, but Joe Musashi is THE Shinobi ninja, and he lands at number five in these rankings.
4. Sub-Zero – Mortal Kombat
I like Scorpion and can’t deny how awesome he is, but he’s just not in the same class as Sub-Zero. After all, it was Sub-Zero, not Scorpion, who got his very own game. There’s quite a bit of backstory to Sub-Zero (there’s actually two Sub-Zeroes; they’re brothers), but all you really need to know is that he can use ice-based attacks, freezing his adversaries and, sometimes, smashing them into little bits. Even when Sub-Zero doesn’t use an ice-based Fatality, it’s still awesome: ain’t nothing uncool about ripping someone’s spine out. You may argue that Sub-Zero isn’t technically a ninja, and you might be right. Regardless, he’s close enough, and there’s no way I could leave out a guy with the same monicker as one of Unreality’s writers.
3. Raphael – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Games
All the Ninja Turtles are pretty bad ass, and for the original – and impossible – NES game, Donatello is by far the most effective. Still, Raphael’s temper and willingness take on anyone, anytime, and anywhere launch him into the number three spot for these rankings. He’s got a real bad temper and despite being part of a team, maintains a lone wolf mentality. Raph’s weapons of choice are a pair of sais, which, if you think about it, is pretty nuts. Sais are essentially parrying weapons, and Rapahel uses them to make quick work of his enemies while his brothers rely on nunchucks, katanas, and a bo staff.
2. Gray Fox – Metal Gear Solid Games
The cyborg ninja Gray Fox takes stealth to an whole new plane, becoming “invisible” as he moves and slices his enemies. His skill is nearly unmatched, and his technological upgrades make him pretty much unbeatable by anyone not named Solid Snake or Liquid Snake. Best of all, Gray Fox is incredibly creepy, presenting as a detached machine, but still has enough humanity to aid Solid Snake in his mission. Oh yeah, Gray Fox can slice bullets in half. That’s got to count for something. As bad ass as Gray Fox is, he’s only number two in these rankings. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, though, especially considering that the number one video game ninja is…
1. Ryu Hayabusa – Ninja Gaiden Games
It does not matter what comes Ryu’s way – the Black Spider Clan, winged fiends, dragons, wolves, or the Archfiend itself – he will destroy it. And violently, too. Ryu has been around for a long time, fighting in the arcades, taking on Jaquio in the NES original, and later jumping into the Nintendo DS and Xbox. And wherever he goes, he effs sh*t up. Ryu can eviscerate an enemy with his trusty Dragon Sword, pepper them with shuriken, hack them to bits with the Eclipse Scythe, create a black hole and propel it toward them, rip them to shreds with claws…well, you get the idea. Ryu – a class A ninja – is just about unbeatable and has defeated enemies that entire armies have failed to stop. It’s not even close: Ryu Hayabusa is the greatest video game ninja of all time. If you own a PS3, I can’t recommend Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 enough.