The Last Ninja (1987)

by Christopher
8 minutes read


The Last Ninja: A Retrospective

Released in arcades in 1987, The Last Ninja quickly became a beloved classic among gamers. With its groundbreaking graphics, innovative gameplay, and challenging difficulty, The Last Ninja set a new standard for side-scrolling action games.


The Last Ninja tells the story of a young ninja named Armakuni, the sole survivor of the Brotherhood of White Ninja, who has been tasked with avenging his fallen comrades and reclaiming the sacred scrolls of the Ninja from the evil Shogun Kunitoki.


The Last Ninja is a side-scrolling action game with a unique blend of martial arts combat, platforming, and puzzle-solving. Players control Armakuni as he fights his way through hordes of enemy ninjas, samurai, and other obstacles. Armakuni can perform a variety of punches, kicks, and special moves, and can also use weapons such as swords, shurikens, and grappling hooks.

One of the most innovative aspects of The Last Ninja is its use of a “ki” energy system. Armakuni can use his ki to perform special moves, such as fireballs and lightning bolts, and to heal himself. However, using ki too much can leave Armakuni vulnerable to attack.

The Last Ninja also features a variety of platforming and puzzle-solving elements. Armakuni must climb walls, jump over chasms, and solve puzzles in order to progress through the game. The game’s levels are filled with hidden secrets and power-ups, which can give Armakuni an edge in combat.

Graphics and Sound

The Last Ninja was one of the first arcade games to use digitized graphics, which gave the game a more realistic look than its contemporaries. The game’s backgrounds are lush and detailed, and the character sprites are fluidly animated. The Last Ninja’s soundtrack is also highly regarded, with its catchy melodies and atmospheric sound effects.


The Last Ninja was a critical and commercial success, and it helped to popularize the ninja genre in video games. The game has been ported to numerous home platforms over the years, and it remains a popular choice among retro gamers.

The Last Ninja has also been praised for its influence on later games, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game and the Shinobi series. The game’s unique blend of action, platforming, and puzzle-solving has served as a template for many other side-scrolling action games.


The Last Ninja is a classic arcade game that still holds up today. Its innovative gameplay, stunning graphics, and memorable soundtrack make it a must-play for fans of retro gaming and action games in general.

Tips for Playing The Last Ninja

  • Master the ki system. Ki is essential for performing special moves and healing yourself. However, using ki too much can leave you vulnerable to attack. Learn to manage your ki carefully.
  • Use the environment to your advantage. The Last Ninja’s levels are filled with objects that can be used to your advantage. For example, you can use barrels to block enemy attacks, or you can use grappling hooks to reach high places.
  • Don’t be afraid to explore. The Last Ninja’s levels are filled with hidden secrets and power-ups. Take your time to explore and find everything that the game has to offer.
  • Be patient. The Last Ninja is a challenging game. Don’t get discouraged if you die a few times. Just keep practicing and you’ll eventually master the game.

The Last Ninja FAQ

Q: What is the best way to defeat the final boss, Shogun Kunitoki?

A: Kunitoki is a tough boss, but he can be defeated with the right strategy. First, focus on dodging his attacks and using your ki to heal yourself. Once you’ve whittled down his health, use your most powerful special moves to finish him off.

Q: How do I find all of the hidden secrets in The Last Ninja?

A: There are many hidden secrets in The Last Ninja, including extra lives, power-ups, and new weapons. To find them, you’ll need to explore every nook and cranny of the game’s levels. Look for hidden passages, breakable walls, and other suspicious objects.

Q: What are the best weapons in The Last Ninja?

A: The best weapons in The Last Ninja are the sword and the shurikens. The sword is a powerful melee weapon that can quickly dispatch enemies. The shurikens are a ranged weapon that can be used to attack enemies from a distance.

Q: Is there a sequel to The Last Ninja?

A: Yes, there is a sequel to The Last Ninja called The Last Ninja 2. The sequel was released in arcades in 1988 and on home platforms in 1989. The Last Ninja 2 features new levels, new enemies, and new weapons.

Review Score



Cover Art


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