The best video game cover art featuring Ninjas

Ninjas. Just say it with me. Ninjas. The world sizzles the air like fresh bacon in a hot pan. . .that mysteriously appeared out of now where, thanks to a delivery from the breakfast ninja. As a child of the 1980’s, I was a huge ninja fan, be they of they of the mutated teenage turtle variety or not. These mythical assassins spawned a ton of play time for my friends and I. I had plastic ninja swords, plastic (and later real) ninja stars, ninja action figures (Stormshadow forever!), I even went as a Ninja for Halloween twice. Of course, we had Ninja video games. There are a billion Ninja video games out there and since I went through over 7,000 covers for the last cart article, I decided to go with games I remember playing in my childhood. So put on your best all black clothing, because we are lurking in the shadows for this one.

Ninja Kid
Ninja Kid

Yeah, starting on a downer. Is it ever good when the front of the game box has a screen shot of the game on it? Let’s call a spade a spade. Are you ever going to be afraid of our purple clad ninja boy coming for you out of the shadows? No, no you are not. Look at his hat. I know it is supposed to look like a head wrap but it has more of a Shriner’s fez to me. The sword on is back is at least 33% longer then the Kid Ninja is tall. Now, I find it hard to tell if the ninja is hurling the ninja star or is the ninja star shooting a lightning bolt at the ninja? In end, I only have one request to all those video game character designers out there: If you are going to unmask a ninja, do not give him rosy cheeks. . . please.

Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow

Donald Duck is going to . . .kick. . . your . . butt. Not only is Donald going to take your down, he is going to do it blind folded, that how strong his Ninjitsu is on this cover. Look at the intensity of that water foul’s face, there is only pain and suffering for Donald’s enemies. I know I am stretching this cove out since there is not a whole lot going on but I feel that everyone needs to view this cart art. If for no other reason then to have dreaded nightmares of fierce Donald beating your rear with that staff.

Kid Nikki Radical Ninja
Kid Niki

How radical is this cover? So radical that nothing on this cover looksremotely like a ninja! Where to begin? Our hero here, Kid Nikki has been hitting the gym, oiling up for combat with a tight sleeveless yellow t-shirt and sporting a sweet mullet with a rat tail. He looks more like secondary character in a Conan movie than a master of the shadow arts. The sword? Right out of barbarian comic books. Does the captured woman (who looks like one of Jemm and the Holograms) have the same hair as the hero? In the background of the photos we have some sort of giant punk rock ork, an jacked executioner wielding a ball and chain and a very depressed looking centipede monster. All three of those on the same cover. . .is. . .fantastic! You know how this cover was made in the 1980’s? Pink! A whole lot of pink. Is the text for Kid Niki up top from a ransom note? Why are there a random smattering of shapes near the top? So many questions, so little time.

Ninja Golf
ninja golf

A perfect cover! This cover is EXACTLY what this game is about, a ninja playing golf. The little touches are what makes this cover fantastic. The golf tees and golf ball on the ninja’s chest, the nunchuk hanging out of the bag, the ninja even has a golf umbrella in his bag! How awesomely prepared is that! I enjoy thinking about the guy posing for the cover dressing like this and trying keep a straight face. Maybe that’s why he is wearing the full and proper protective ninja head gear. I may need to dress as a ninja again for Halloween again, but this time bring along the old golf bag.

Shadow of the Ninja
Shadow of the Ninja

Alright, got a pretty sweet cover here. Female ninja in flowing robes, male ninja with a cyber arm (head kinda looks like Ryu from Street Fighter), flying mega fortress in the sky, factory and seaport in the background, mountain strong hold to the right, all sorts of great things. Wait. . . what is that on the bottom right hand side? What the heck is that? Some sort of heavy metal sea horse? Why is that there? Everything about this cover is great, exactly what you want from a Ninja’s in the future game but what is the point of the metallic Hippocampus? Un-Ninja, very, very un-ninja.

Until next time, keep you Ninja-to sharp, you blow gun darts poisoned and always be hiding in the shadows. . . or at least grow yourself on totally awesome rat tail.

OffisaPups

OffisaPups is a lover of fine retro gaming (video as well as board), classic comic strips and has a noggin filled with decades of television ads and song lyrics. Due to fears of a zombie apocalypse, do not approach OffisaPups while groaning, staggering with out-stretched arms, or requesting brains. Needless to say, OffisaPups has a very understanding and patient wife and a daughter who has no hope of a normal, non-dork upbringing.

Subscribe to the Retroist Newsletter

* indicates required

2 thoughts on “The best video game cover art featuring Ninjas

  1. Atari Adventure Square says:

    I agree – no rosy-cheeked ninjas.

    And if I had seen Donald as a seriously dangerous-looking ninja duck a while back, it might’ve tipped the scale in the Daffy Or Donald survey.

    And also, Ninja Golf rules as a cover and as a game concept.
    I’ll have to try that one.

  2. Why is Donald called Maui Mallard though? That’s an odd name for a ninja.

    I can guarantee that I if see any of you on the Golf course dressed as a ninja, I’ll let you play on through. ;)

    Great article as always, OffisaPups!

Comments are closed.