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There are two main versions of this game which due to localization, the plot and the characters identity have been altered. in the original Japanese plot of the Mega drive version, the main character is Hayate, who was brought over to America and raised by "Dick C. Kato", along with his pet dog Yamato. Hayate and Yamato set out to avenge Kato's death after he is killed by the mysterious organization called the Union Lizard. In the English version of the game, the main character is Joe Musashi, the father of Hayate and Kato is made into one of his students who dies. Yamato is made Musashi's pet dog after the original owner dies and the two seek vengeance.
The gameplay is very similar to that of the Shinobi games except now you have the addition of a dog for a game mechanic. The dog is able to harass enemies for you, some of which are very difficult to kill otherwise. When the dog is hurt, it shrinks into a puppy and is unable to do any attacking until you reach the next powerup. To summon the dog on enemies in the Mega Drive version, the player would have to hold down the attack button to charge a meter, when this meter has been filled, the release of the attack button would make the dog attack the first enemy it came across.
Throughout the game a number of hostages would be present for you to rescue and in the arcade version of the game, these were bombs which had to be disarmed before you could face the boss.
The Ninja's main weapon would be an unlimited supply of throwing stars combined with punches and kicks when you got close to enemies. Ninja Magic can also be performed one in each level which would kill all enemies on screen or damage a boss. A single power-up also exists which would upgrade the throwing stars into energy bolts and allows you to perform more powerful sword slashes.
The game contains 4 rounds which are divided into subsections totaling 15 stages. Every round has only 1 regular stage and 1 boss stage. This differed slightly on the Sega Master System port of the game which was the shortest of all the versions.
Bonus rounds were also present, in the Mega Drive version these had the Ninja falling down between 2 buildings while enemies wall jumped upwards. The aim was to shoot as many of the enemies as possible using the Shurikans and directing the player left and right. The arcade version saw Hayate go up against a group of ninjas climbing down a building in the style of a first-person shooter.
The Master System contains both versions of the bonus round.