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Ninja Gaiden (Arcade)

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Title Screen

Ninja Gaiden

Also known as: Ninja Ryukenden (JP), Shadow Warriors (EU)
Developer: Tecmo
Publisher: Tecmo
Platform: Arcade (Ninja Gaiden hardware)
Released in JP: February 1989[1]
Released in US: October 1988[1]
Released in EU: December 1988[2]

RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.

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A game overshadowed by its NES counterpart, mostly due to this game being a clunky beat em' up.

Regional Differences

The Japanese version is the later released version of the game. It has the following changes from the other versions:

Title Screen

Japan US Europe
Ninjaryukenarcade title.png Ninja Gaiden (Arcade) Title Screen.png Shadowwarrarcade title.png


To do:
What other differences are there between the overseas and Japanese OSTs?

While the other background music tunes besides Stage 4 are the same as in the U.S. version, there are some minor additions to the tunes in the Japanese version.

Stage 4

The background music for Stage 4 was replaced in the Japanese version by another tune that resembles in some parts Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

Ryuichi Nitta composed the original overseas Stage 4 theme, while Mikio Saito composed the new Stage 4 theme for the Japanese version.

Grand Canyon Stage BGM
Overseas Japan
The Sun Rises Over the Hills
Symphony of Nature

Round Clear

  • In the Japanese version, after the stage clear jingle for each stage plays, a digitized voice shouts the game's title on the "stage clear" screen.
Round Clear / ラウンドクリアー
Area Overseas Japan Notes
Stage 1
The track uses a different backing in the Japanese version.
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5

Game Over

The Japanese version has a voice speaking over the Game Over jingle.

Overseas Japan


  • The enemy characters cause normal damage during the final stage (a three-hit combo takes one square of the player's life bar), unlike the U.S. version, where at the last stage, the standard enemies and the mid-bosses just need to hit the player once to take off one or two life squares, and the last boss(s) can kill the player's character with just one attack.

Revisional Differences

Virtual Console

This game has been ported to the Nintendo Wii as a downloadable Virtual Console Arcade game. However, this contains the same changes found in Ninja Gaiden Black, including:

  • The boss music in Stages 2 and 5 has been omitted from this version (due to the supposed similarity to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man"); in turn, the regular background music keeps playing even after the bosses appear (which would normally prompt the quick music switch).
  • The use of the Star of David in the game's imagery (such as the rug at the end of Stage 4) was edited out.

The European version also uses the Ninja Gaiden title, due to the taboo on the word "ninja" having largely died out.