|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, two-player co-op|
Ninja Combat (ニンジャコンバット?) ("Ninjakonbatto") is a 1990 side-scrolling beat 'em up video game developed by Alpha Denshi and published by SNK. It was one of the launch titles for both the Neo Geo MVS (arcade) and AES (home) systems. It is notorious for its unbalanced difficulty and odd design and gameplay ideas.
The journey takes the ninja heroes from an amusement park to the top of a tower. Along the way, they must survive endless attacks from the members of Kage Ichizoku and their minions. The protagonists Joe and Hayabusa uses shurikens as their primary weapon, although other weapons that aid them along the way are nunchakus, maces, ratchets, battle axes, spiked clubs, and katana swords. A special somersault attack can be used to knock down a multiple enemies in a row. As an art of ninpo kairou, a fire dragon can be summon to destroy all enemies on the screen.
The story, set in the year "199X", follows the twin ninja warriors named Joe (ジョー) and Hayabusa (ハヤブサ, lit. "Falcon") (not to be mistaken with Joe Musashi or Ryu Hayabusa), who are waging a battle against an evil ninja clan Kage Ichizoku (影一族, lit. "Shadow Family"). Their mission is to fight their way into the enemy home fortress, the Ninja Tower (ニンジャタワー, "Ninjatawa"), which has emerged from the oean in the center of New York City, to once and for all defeat the Shadow Family and its leader, the long thought-dead demon sorcerer Genyousai. When defeated, three of the bosses: Musashi (ムサシ), Kagerow (カゲロウ, lit. "Mayfly") and Gembu (ゲンブ), become allies and fight alongside Joe and Hayabusa as optional player characters. If the heroes are victorious, Genyousai is destroyed and the Ninja Tower crumbles.
Ninja Combat was originally released in Japanese arcades on July 24, 1990. Its home version was released internationally for the Neo Geo in 1991 and for the Neo Geo CD on October 31, 1994 in Japan only. The original soundtrack for both Ninja Combat and The Super Spy, along with the arranged versions by SNK Sound Team and KONNY, was published by Pony Canyon and Scitron on November 21, 1990.
Ninja Combat was re-released through Nintendo's Virtual Console download service in Europe and Australia on October 26, 2007, and in North America on June 2, 2008. It is also one of the five games ported to the PlayStation 2 in the game compilation ADK Tamashii in 2008.
The game was poorly received by critics. Famicom Tsūshin scored the Neo Geo version a 22/40. The Virtual Console release received the score of only 3.5/10 from Lucas M. Thomas of IGN, who called it "a profoundly unappealing gameplay experience," opining that "anything potentially innovative or interesting about Ninja Combat gets totally defeated by its terribly stiff control and overly difficult programming."