Top 5 Ninja Games for the PC

While the culture of origin is obviously in Japan, there is an undeniable global level of appreciation for all things ninja. The allure of secret ninja clans with their ancient martial arts techniques which focus on stealth and assassination is nothing short of fantasy in reality. Of course, the modern media depictions of the ninja are heavily romanticized, but that does not make them any less appealing. So, if you have got the pangs for some stealthy swords and shurikens style combat, here's some of our top picks for you.

Mark of a Ninja

Mark of a Ninja

A puzzle-action platformer may not be the first thing that you would think of if you want to see ninjas but this game has more than just a snazzy title going for it. Excellent AI, clever puzzles, and a challenge level that will make even the most hardcore of gamers cringe makes for a pretty worthy title to play. Players take on the role of a ninja given the last of a clan's special tattoo that allows them to become stronger. However, things are not what they seem to be, and it is up to the player to discover the truth about the secrets of the clan, and ultimately decide upon the fate of the characters.

The game is platform based, and limits the player's field of vision to line of sight. This prevents players from knowing exactly where all the enemies are. Shadows, obstacles, hidden pathways, and other environmental elements must be made use of in order to stealthily evade or dispose hostile targets. Aside from visuals, both the player and enemy units will make use of sound to detect each other. If you wanted to see silent death in action, Mark of the Ninja allows you to pull it off.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma

Ninja Gaiden Sigma

Ninja Gaiden started out as a classic 2D platform action game, but a 3D reboot on the X-Box turned Ryu Hayabusa into the ninja he could truly be, utilizing both stealth and fast paced martial arts at his disposal. The game was later improved and re-released as Ninja Gaiden Black. Ninja Gaiden Sigma is the third and final version of the game, released exclusively for the Sony Playstation 3. Sigma brings together all the best elements of Gaiden and Gaiden Black to provide players with one of the best ninja-themed games ever made.

Created by Tecmo's Team Ninja , Sigma re-explores the original narrative of Ninja Gaiden, but adds plenty of new content for players to explore. Most notable is an additional stage and boss fight early in the game. In the previous versions, these events simply appeared as non-playable cutscenes, now players are actually able to play through this important narrative point to directly experience what happened (and for the benefit of this who have not played the previous two versions, we are not going to spoil what happened).

Another notable thing about Sigma is the new "play as Rachel" mode. Admittedly, this mode is not as awesome as it sounds. Rachel appears in the previous versions as a supporting character. In Sigma, the developers allow the players to experience the game from Rachel's perspective. While she shares some of the stages with Ryu, she also has a couple of stages that are designed exclusively for her. Shifting from Ryu to Rachel can be quite a bit of a shock to the players as Rachel's fighting style is completely the opposite of Ryu's. Her defensive and offensive skills are top notch, but both are high at the complete cost of speed. Blocking, and dodge-counters are her strongest suit, as opposed to Ryu's overwhelming use of speed and power. While the change adds a bit of dynamic feel, it gets plenty repetitive after a while -while Ryu's mode enjoys the employment of different offensive skills, players are forced to stick to only a few effective moves with Rachel.

Total War Shogun 2

total war 2 shogun

Nothing displays the importance and value of a ninja than seeing how they are utilized in an all-out war. Total War Shogun 2 is a quasi real time strategy game that turns the player in to a warlord fighting for Shogun status. You must make use of a wide range of fighters from swordsmen, to mounted infantry, to spearment, to archers, and yes, even ninjas, in order to defeat all the others vying for the same position.

Nothing displays the importance and value of a ninja than seeing how they are utilized in an all-out war. Total War Shogun 2 is a quasi real time strategy game that turns the player in to a warlord fighting for Shogun status. You must make use of a wide range of fighters from swordsmen, to mounted infantry, to spearment, to archers, and yes, even ninjas, in order to defeat all the others vying for the same position.

The game has two main modes -the first pace is when you manage your economy, get troops, establish trade routes, study the field map, etc. This mode is turn based and for those of you who have played Civilization games, this would feel a little familiar. Once you enter combat however, the game goes into real time and you must directly manage your army as you siege enemy fortresses or defend your own territories. The game is massive and requires some serious hardware to run, but when you do, expect graphical awesomeness. From the little cutscenes where your generals are rallying troops (and sometimes with pretty cool speeches), to the fact that you can zoom out to see the entire field of war and then zoom in close enough to watch your swordsmen cut down their enemies. Ninjas are employed in order to pull off tactical strikes against enemy leaders -most notably if you send them on an assassination mission inside an enemy base (the game even shows a quick clip of them in action).

While this is certainly not your typical ninja game, Total War Shogun 2 provides players with a unique perspective on what role the ninja actually plays in war. And seeing how the different types of combatants affect the tide of war makes you appreciate the value of having fighters that can work from the shadows.

Devil May Cry

devil may cry

This classic Capcom game series is one of the most iconic 3D hack-and-slash action games ever made. The original Devil May Cry spans 4 games and tales the tale of Dante, a half-demon who makes a living by slaying actual demons. He is not what you would normally call a ninja, but his fast, agile, and powerful approach to combat is nothing short of ninja-like.

Combat in this game is pretty straightforward, you explore the stage map while dispatching of all enemies around you. While players could simply choose to spam the attack button, combining the attack button with other control inputs adds a variety to the attacks. More importantly, many of these other moves can be chained in order to create combos that will prevent your enemy from being able to fight back.

Of course, pulling off a combo on a single target is one thing, but being able to manage an entire room of hostiles without missing a single beat takes serious skill, and this is where the Devil May Cry games excel at: providing Dante the fighting means to combo a room hull of hostiles without taking a single hit. It does take a while to fully master the controls (which require fast and accurate reflexes), but once you do, pulling off those SSS rank combos are nothing short of satisfying.

There is no stealth in Devil May Cry , just straightforward fighting, and the enemies will swarm at you from all directions -even coming out of the walls, floors, ceilings, and on plenty of occasions ripping the fabric of reality out of thin air.

Super House of Dead Ninjas

super house of dead ninjas

And coming full circle, here's another 2D action platformer: Super House of Dead Ninjas. Unlike Mark of a Ninja which requires stealth and careful planning, Super House requires you to move at a blazing fast speed, react to enemies and traps even faster, and reach the lowest floor of a tower at the fastest. The story is pretty vague and does not do much to progress the game, but this is not about the narrative, this is about the gameplay experience.

The game presents the players with a timer that will announced the coming of the grim reaper, and the only way to keep this timer from completely running down is to run around the tower looking for ways to add precious seconds to it. Enemies, traps, and even bosses stand in your way. Of course, the real goal is not just to keep the grim reaper away, but actually make it down to the ground level (since you start out at the top of this impossibly tall tower).

Once you beat the final game, the game's best hell mode opens up and this will show you that anything you've managed to beat is just a warm up compared to this vast and endless challenge (one could even say that hell mode is the real game and the first part is just the intro).

While Super House of Dead Ninjas has little on ninja lore (aside from the character and weapons employed), and does not even make use of stealth combat, it does provide one of the most fast paced action mechanics we have ever seen -and that alone is worthy of the ninja title.