Shadow of the Ninja is a 2D side-scroller in the vein of Ninja Gaiden which features two player co-op. Natsume developed it for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990, originally with the title Yami no Shigotonin Kage. It was released in the US as Shadow of the Ninja and in Europe as Blue Shadow.
Natsume was in the process of adapting Shadow of the Ninja for the Game Boy, but Tecmo purchased the rights and it became an official Ninja Gaiden spin-off named Ninja Gaiden: Shadow instead. Oddly, this game is still known as Blue Shadow in Europe.
In 2029, an evil empire led by Emperor Garuda has taken over the world. Two ninjas, Hayate and Kaede, emerge from the shadows to topple the dictator and his army.
In addition to the usual running, jumping and attacking, hanging from the bottom of platforms and climbing up plays a large role in traversing the game's stages.
Weapons and Characters
At the beginning of the game, players choose between Hayate or Kaede. They are quite similar, but Hayate has a longer range attack while Kaede attacks slightly faster. Throughout the game there are boxes which will reveal weapon power-ups when destroyed. If another copy of the weapon currently being used is picked up, it will be powered up to the next level. Weapons will be powered down by taking enough damage. If any other weapon is picked up it will replace the current weapon at power level one. The expendable weapons will be at whatever power the main weapon was when picked up.
- Sword: The default weapon. It attacks quickly but has a short range, at least at its default power level. At the second level, a short energy wave is shot out with each swing, nearly doubling its range. At power level three the wave goes almost the length of the screen.
- Chain: A long range weapon which can be swung straight upwards and at a 45 degree angle as well as straight ahead. At power level one it is quite slow. Power level two makes it much faster, almost as fast as the sword. The third power level adds a short energy wave to the attack capable of hitting enemies which would normally be in the safe spot right in front of a character using this weapon. The chain is also notable for a glitch which can be exploited to attack much faster by repeatedly tapping 'Up" during a jump attack.
- Shuriken: Long range throwing stars which are limited in supply. Power level two changes them into kunai (throwing daggers) which fly much faster. Power level three grants homing capabilities.
- Bombs: Very limited in supply but quite powerful. If the player can get to a boss with a couple, many of them go down pretty fast. Power level one drops straight down, while level two and three are tossed a short ways forward.
There is also a hidden technique which can be performed to attack all enemies on the screen with lightning. To do it, hold down the attack button for about three seconds. The life meter will begin to flash and the attack will come out when the button is released. However, this will consume a large portion of the player's life.