The Ninja Warriors (1987 video game)

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The Ninja Warriors
The Ninja Warriors arcade flyer.jpg
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Taito Corporation
Publisher(s)Taito Corporation
Director(s)Masaki Ogata
Producer(s)Yojiro Suekado
Designer(s)Hiroshi Tsujino
Yukiwo Ishikawa
Programmer(s)Daisuke Sasaki
Writer(s)Hiroshi Tsujino
Composer(s)Hisayoshi Ogura
Platform(s)Arcade, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, Mega-CD
Genre(s)Action game

The Ninja Warriors (ニンジャウォーリアーズ) is a side-scrolling action game developed and released by Taito in 1987. The original arcade game version used an unusual screen setup that situated one display in between projected images of two other displays, creating the appearance of a triple-wide screen. Versions of the game were subsequently released for a variety of home platforms, including various personal computers, and were mostly well received. A remake known as The Ninja Warriors Again was developed by Natsume and released in 1994, followed by The Ninja Warriors Once Again to be released in 2019.


Arcade version screenshot.

The Ninja Warriors presents side-scrolling hand-to-hand combat. Players take control of Kunoichi (player 1) or Ninja (player 2) and fight wave after wave of Banglar forces across six levels. Button 1 attacks with a short-range kunai slash, while button 2 fires long-range shurikens that are limited in supply.


The game is based in a dystopian future where Banglar, the President of the United States in 1993, issues martial law on the nation, with the military having total control over the law.[1] A group of anarchist scientists led by Mulk decide that it is time to revolt against the government. Knowing full well that approaching the military themselves could be considered an all out suicide mission, the scientists create two androids that can sustain various forms of damage in order to do the mission for them. The robots, code named "Kunoichi" (red female) and "Ninja" (blue male), are sent by the scientists in order to end Banglar's tyranny once and for all.

Development and release[edit]

The game's arcade cabinet is unique due to its three contiguous screens (one screen in the usual place for an arcade game, and two more screens in the cabinet below, reflected by mirrors on either side of the middle screen) which created the effect of a single, "triple-wide" screen, depicting ninjas.[2] The same cabinet was also used for Darius and Darius II and Konami used a similar format for its X-Men arcade release (six players). The music was composed by Hisayoshi Ogura and Taito's in-house band Zuntata. Pony Canyon and Scitron released the two soundtracks for the game in 1988 and 1991,[3][4] while further arrangements were released in 1993[5] and by Zuntata Records and Taito in 1988 and 2009.[6][7]

The game was ported to various personal computers: the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Sinclair Spectrum 128K, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC. Home console versions of the game were released exclusively in Japan for the NEC PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 and the Mega-CD. A version for the Arcade Archives series on the PlayStation 4 was released in September 2017[8]. A new port based on the 1994 version titled The Ninja Warriors: Once Again will be released in 2019 on Nintendo Switch. It will feature a new artwork and two new playable characters[9].


Review scores
CVG84% (PC Engine)[10]
Crash69% (ZX Spectrum)[1]
Your Sinclair75% (ZX Spectrum)[2]
ACE830 (Atari ST)[11]
825 (C64)[11]
Amiga Action77% (Amiga)[12]
Amiga Computing93% (Amiga)[13]
Amiga Format88% (Amiga)[14]
CU Amiga92% (Amiga)[15]
Mega15% (Mega-CD)[16]
The Games Machine90% (Amiga)[17]
90% (Atari ST)[17]
85% (C64)[17]
58% (Amstrad)[18]
Zzap!6482% (Amiga)[19]
79% (C64)[19]

The Ninja Warriors received mostly positive reviews, especially its 16-bit versions such as the one for the Amiga. In 2010, CraveOnline featured it on the list of top ten ninja games of all time.[20] In 2008, GamesRadar featured Kunoichi as the best assassin in the video game history, stating: "She cut a memorable figure, rocking the huge blonde ponytail and bright-red shozoku. On top of that, she wasn't just a ninja - she was a ninja Terminator. It's hard to imagine a better assassin than that."[21] In 2006, Akiman drew her as his girl of the month for the Japanese magazine GAMAGA.[22] Robert Workman of GameZone included Ninja and Kunoichi on his 2011 list of "best video game ninjas" and stated: "These guys are due for a return – and hopefully a better hyped one than Kage got a few years ago on DS?"[23]


Natsume developed a 1994 follow-up for the Super NES also known as The Ninja Warriors, or The Ninja Warriors Again in Japan. A remake of the Super NES game is in development by Natsume for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 with a planned 2019 release.


  1. ^ a b Crash, Issue 1.90, page 52.
  2. ^ a b Your Sinclair, Issue 1.90, page 91.
  3. ^ "D28B-0001 | The Ninjawarriors -G.S.M. TAITO 1". VGMdb. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  4. ^ "PCCB-00074 | The Ninja Warriors". VGMdb. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  5. ^ "PCCB-00116 | Ninja Warriors Complete Album". VGMdb. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  6. ^ "ZTTL-0024 | Z-REPLICA Vol.1 DADDY MULK THE NINJA WARRIORS". VGMdb. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  7. ^ "ZTTL-9016 | The Ninja Warriors arrange sound tracks". VGMdb. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  8. ^ "Playstation Store -- Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warrior". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  9. ^ "Ninja Warriors Again for Switch officially titled The Ninja Warriors: Once Again, launches worldwide in 2019". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  10. ^ Computer + Video Games 94 (September 1989).
  11. ^ a b ACE 27 (December 1989).
  12. ^ Amiga Action 5 (February 1990).
  13. ^ Amiga Computing Vol 2 No 9 (February 1990).
  14. ^ Amiga Format 6 (January 1990).
  15. ^ CU Amiga-64 (December 1989).
  16. ^ Mega 11 (August 1993), page 48.
  17. ^ a b c The Games Machine 26 (January 1990).
  18. ^ The Games Machine 28 (March 1990).
  19. ^ a b Zzap 57 (January 1990).
  20. ^ Top 10 Ninja Games Of All Time Archived 2011-01-28 at the Wayback Machine, CraveOnline, September 18, 2008.
  21. ^ The Top 7... Assassins Archived 2011-06-16 at the Wayback Machine, GamesRadar, 2008-02-05.
  22. ^ "Scan of the page in question". Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  23. ^ Workman, Robert (2011-11-20). "The Best Of: Video Game Ninjas". GameZone. Retrieved 2014-06-17.

External links[edit]