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The Top 10 Ninjas in Video Games

by Sasha Erfanian a month ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Aside from pirates, who doesn't love ninjas? They generally wear black, have cool swords, and can occasionally utilize magical powers. As such, there are many, many bad ass ninjas to be found across video game history.

RELATED: The Top 10 Villains in Games

Here are the 10 best.

10. Ninja — Mark of the Ninja

Bearing a mystical tattoo and shuriken up the whazoo in his quest to avenge the death of his clansmen at the hand of an evil corporation, the titular ninja from Mark of the Ninja has plenty of tools up his sleeve.

Whether you favor the stealthy approach, laying traps or just straight up slitting throats, Mark of the Ninja gave you the tools to complete each level your way and in so doing craft your protagonist your way.

9. Kennen — League of Legends

Kennen might be small, but The Heart of the Tempest packs a wallop. A Yordle shinobi hailing from the same clan as Akali and Shen, Kennen's power over lightning allows him to control the battlefield with strong AoE abilities and stuns.

He's also an adorable little cat person ninja.

8. Hotsuma — Shinobi

The star of 2002's PS2 reboot of the classic Shinobi franchise, Hotsuma was certainly an upgrade from the series' previous protagonist, the delightfully named "Joe Musashi."

With a sleek design featuring a flowing scarf and four-eyed mask as well as a soul-eating demon sword, Hotsuma's fighting style was swift and graceful leading to some really cinematic encounters.

7. Strider Hiryu — Strider

Debuting way back in 1988, you young'uns might know Strider Hiryu from his appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom games.

A high-tech ninja with a plasma blade and several drones at his command, Hiryu has appeared in a number of games as well as a manga series. Though definitely past its hey-day, the series saw a revival with a 2014 reboot simply titled Strider.

6. Ibuki — Street Fighter

School girl by day, ninja by night, Street Fighter's Ibuki might wish she was a normal teenager...but then who would Kun "Xian" Xian Ho main in Season 2?

Loved for her high-mobility and complex move set — and equally feared for her mix-ups — Ibuki can kick ass and still make it back to class in time for algebra.

5. Genji — Overwatch

Sure getting stuck with a Pro-Genji™ in your last placement match sucks, but who can blame someone for trying to git gud with a super-cool cyborg ninja with a magic dragon sword?

I mean, it could be worse. You could get stuck with a Hanzo-main.

4. Shen — League of Legends

Shen is not your traditional ninja. Rather than sticking to the shadows and striking swiftly before slinking back into the darkness, he'd rather take a punch outright.

One of the most popular Tanks in League of Legends, the Eye of Twilight has a highly mobile kit that lets him dart across the battlefield taking hits that would crush his squishier teammates.

I just wouldn't trust him to operate on me.

3. Raiden — Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

What do you do to rehabilitate a character hated by fans by fans for his whiny petulance? You turn him into a bad ass cyborg ninja. At least, that's how Hideo Kojima tried to get Metal Gear Solid fans to give MGS2 protag Raiden a second chance in MGS4.

While you couldn't play as Robo-Raiden in Guns of the Patriots, Platinum Games' 2013 hack'n'slasher Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance let you take control of all the sick sword stuff you previously watched in MGS4's 45-minute cut scenes.

Just don't ask me to explain the game's story.

2. Scorpion/Sub-Zero — Mortal Kombat

Dogs vs. cats, TSM vs. CLG, Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero, some rivalries are eternal. The duality between the Mortal Kombat franchise's marquee ninjas is so entrenched, it just doesn't seem fair to pick one over the other for this list.

The saga twixt the two (well, three if you count the original Sub-Zero, Noob Saibot) is long and complex involving shape-shifting, multiple resurrections and many dead family members. It's quite the complex tale considering the fact that the two started out as just the same character recolored to bulk up MK1's roster.

At the end of the day though, all you really need to know about the two is explained in this clip from the best video game movie every made.

1. Ryu Hayabusa — Ninja Gaiden

Among all the ninjas on this list, Ryu Hayabusa of Ninja Gaiden fame is without a doubt the best.

As the star of one of the most notoriously difficult franchises out there, Ryu has a wide variety of weapons and techniques players have to master to survive enemies like vicious werewolves, ferocious demons, and even wilder baddies.

I mean, the guy fought the Statue of Liberty for Christ's sake.

Honorable Mention: Ninjas in Pyjamas

Admittedly, they aren't actual ninjas — they're mostly just Swedish kids — but they're still pretty cool.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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