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Sometimes, if not often, Sega just seems to be ahead of the game like in Streets of Rage 2. While wandering the theme park level, players find a sign pointing them onwards and promising "pirates". Upon reaching the pirate ship however, the player is attacked not be the scurvy scourges of the sea, but by those deadly assassins of the far east, Ninjas! This is a beautiful act of bait and switch that predated the whole pirate/ninja internet rivalry by more than a decade, evidencing great foresight on Sega's part.
Of all the "grunt" enemies in Streets of Rage, none of them can hold a candle to Kusanagi, Mifune etc in shear range of abilities. Armed with swipes, low kicks, an evasive shadow step and several methods of throwing shuriken, they already have an impressive arsenal, but add in their ability to perform both basic and special attacks with Japanese weapons like the Kunai and Katana, and you have a variety of moves second to none, even most bosses.
Alike Hakuyo and Electra, Streets of Rage's ninjas can perform an attack while dropping in from the top of the screen, though it isn't common. In Streets of Rage 3, they can also cling onto mine ceilings to avoid active minecarts.