Ninja (1986)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


Ninja: A Retro Beat ‘Em Up Adventure

Released in 1986, Ninja is a side-scrolling beat ’em up arcade game developed and published by UPL. Players take control of a ninja who must fight their way through a fortress crawling with enemy ninjas, samurai, and other foes. The game is known for its challenging difficulty, fast-paced action, and innovative non-linear level design.


Ninja is a classic beat ’em up in the same vein as Double Dragon or Final Fight. The player character can punch, kick, and jump their way through hordes of enemies. They can also pick up weapons such as swords, spears, and throwing stars.

What sets Ninja apart from other beat ’em ups is its non-linear level design. The game world is made up of individual fixed screens which can be explored in any order. This gives the player a lot of freedom to choose their own path through the game.

The game also features a variety of boss battles, each with their own unique attack patterns and weaknesses. These boss battles are some of the most challenging in any beat ’em up game.

Graphics and Sound

Ninja’s graphics are typical of early arcade games. The characters and backgrounds are all rendered in 8-bit sprites. The animations are fluid and the colors are vibrant.

The game’s soundtrack is composed of catchy chiptune music. The sound effects are also well done, and they help to create a sense of atmosphere.


Ninja was a critical and commercial success upon its release. It was praised for its challenging gameplay, innovative level design, and excellent graphics and sound. The game has been ported to a variety of home platforms over the years, and it remains a popular choice for retro gamers.

Ninja has also been cited as an influence on a number of later beat ’em up games, including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game and the Streets of Rage series.


Ninja is a classic beat ’em up game that still holds up today. Its challenging gameplay, innovative level design, and excellent graphics and sound make it a must-play for fans of the genre. Whether you’re a retro gamer or a newcomer to the beat ’em up genre, Ninja is sure to provide you with hours of enjoyment.

Tips for Playing Ninja

Here are a few tips for playing Ninja:

  • Learn the attack patterns of your enemies. Each enemy has their own unique attack patterns, so it’s important to learn how to avoid them.
  • Use your environment to your advantage. The game’s levels are filled with objects that you can use to your advantage, such as barrels, crates, and even the walls themselves.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. There are many different ways to beat each level, so don’t be afraid to try different things.
  • Practice makes perfect. Ninja is a challenging game, but it’s also a very rewarding one. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at it.

Additional Information

  • Ninja was originally released in arcades in 1986.
  • The game was ported to the NES in 1988.
  • The game was also ported to the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad CPC.
  • Ninja was developed by UPL, a Japanese video game company.
  • The game was designed by Kazuyuki Nakashima.
  • The game’s music was composed by Manabu Namiki.

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