Home Samurai culture 5 Most Iconic Ninjas In Video Games (And 5 Indomitable Samurai)

5 Most Iconic Ninjas In Video Games (And 5 Indomitable Samurai)

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After World War II, Japan realized that it was falling behind in the competition against the United States. Whether industrial or military, their opponents were too big and had a big advantage. Instead, the Japanese focused more on exporting their culture.

Since then, this non-violent approach has worked surprisingly well in times of unprecedented peace. From video games to TV shows and, most importantly, cartoons, Japan’s rich heritage has been exported around the world. Among these exports are tales of the martial prowess of Japan’s iconic ninjas.

The contrast between the two could not have been starker. One is a true medieval battlefield chariot that fought with honor and discipline. The other was a cunning rogue who struck from the shadows and was ruthless in getting his way, no matter the means.

Their popularity over the decades hasn’t waned, and even today they enjoy a strong spirit of sharing with games still being released according to their tradition. Players around the world have enjoyed playing as these two warriors and experiencing their different fighting styles and weapons.


The deadliest ninjas in video game history

5) Shadow – Final Fantasy VI

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A solitary warrior who lives by his own rules, Shadow pledges allegiance to no one. A playable character in Final Fantasy VI, Shadow is a mercenary with a compelling personality who has caught the attention of players.

A man of few words and a loner par excellence, this ninja’s only constant companion is a canine sidekick.

Frequently switching sides from empire to rebellion, Shadow works for the right price and plays by a different set of rules.

While much of Shadow’s past, present, and future are a mystery, players get a glimpse of his backstory through dreams while resting between missions.


4) Leonardo – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Leonardo, the unspoken leader of our favorite half-shell heroes, is on the other end of the spectrum.

As loyal as he is strong, Leonardo is a disciplined warrior who always puts the team before himself.

Leo trains and studies tirelessly, the most driven of the team, and it’s no wonder he’s the favorite student of Splinter, their adoptive father.

Leonardo, the eldest of his brothers, is identifiable by a distinctive blue mask.

While each Ninja Turtle is unique in their skills and personality, this Ninjato wielding dual fighter is famous for always being calm under pressure and a rock that the team can rely on.


3) Wolf – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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Sekiro, also known as Wolf, has made a lasting impression on gamers’ minds with his prosthetic tools and combat arts. The immense capacity for learning, the agility that would put the fastest to shame, and the ability to see in the dark make Wolf a shinobi of legend.

A young orphan rescued from the mess of a terrible battle, Wolf was taken in by the owl, who became an adoptive father and mentor. A lifetime of discipline and training turned this ninja into a lethal weapon, and he was soon sworn to a lifelong duty to protect a young lord.

Believing his master to have died in an attack that also crippled him, Wolf wasted his life aimlessly until news of his master still alive reached him. The story that follows is what makes Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice an award-winning game.


2) Scorpion – Mortal Kombat

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Mortal Kombat’s roster of ninjas (secret characters included) has one key differentiator, but Scorpion stands out for several reasons. An undead ninja, fueled by the exacting revenge of those who killed his clan, not even death can stop him.

With attacks propelled by a deadly Kunai or a rope spear, Scorpion unleashes a show of grotesque power at his opponents in the bloody fighting game. The signature taunts of “Come Here” and “Get Over Here” accompanying his spear attacks add to the character’s personality and make him even more memorable.


1) Snake Eyes – GI Joes

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Arguably the most famous ninja of our time, Snake Eyes became a fan favorite of all the 90s kids of GI Joe TV shows. Although later GI Joe games hardly caused ripples in the gaming community when they were released, the legend of the mighty silent ninja never waned.

An orphan taken in and trained by the clan of his future nemesis Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes is a deadly warrior with legendary combat abilities. Severe burns and the loss of his vocal cords in an accident didn’t stop him from completing a mission and haven’t slowed him down since.

Since its debut, every franchise film has featured the iconic ninja, including one entirely dedicated to its origins.


The most honorable samurai in video games

5) Oshiro Mugen – Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

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Set in feudal Japan, Shadow Tactics essentially follows Oshiro Mugen, the samurai tasked by his Shogun with bringing peace to the country. He then recruits four other allies and is the undisputed leader of the team.

A tough, honorable warrior with a heart of gold and the skills to back it up, he’s excellent at taking down many targets together. The team’s paladin, Mugen, is used to being the center of attention and likes to be in the thick of the action while leaving the rest of his team free to attack key targets.

Born a peasant, Mugen rose through the ranks to become the Shogun’s most trusted and fearsome warrior.


4) Guillaume Nioh

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Possibly the only character on this list who is not originally from Japan, William is an Irishman skilled in violence on the high seas. His initial mission to find powerful spiritual stones called Amrita led him to Japan in pursuit of the alchemist Edward Kelley, where he formed an unlikely alliance with the Tokugawa shogunate against his quarry and the Oni. They are a threat to the political stability of the country.

Nioh is set in a dark fantasy version of Japan’s Sengoku period, where different clans are at war. William is based on a real person and meets several other historical figures from this period during his journey.


3) Haohmaru – Samurai Shodown

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A Ronin (samurai with no lord or master) is based on legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, Haohmaru is an iconic gaming character, having starred in each of SNK’s Samurai Shodown games.

First appearing in 1993, it has been featured 20 times since then. While serving no master and fighting for the thrill of battle, players are acquainted with HaohMaru’s journey from a reckless young warrior to an enlightened and wise samurai with pointed observations on his adversaries and the mystery of the life.


2) Jin Sakai – Ghost of Tsushima

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Jin Sakai, or the Ghost of Tsushima, has been masterfully animated by Sucker Punch Productions for an open-world samurai experience. He is one of the most popular samurai of recent times. The only remaining member of the Sakai clan, he is the nephew and ward of Lord Shimura, the Jitō of Tsushima.

Set during the historic event of the first Mongol invasion of Japan, Jin was part of the small army of defenders who made the ultimate sacrifice for Tsushima.

Understanding that the enemy cannot be taken head-on, Jin must choose between the honorable Bushido path or the ruthless Shinobi path, and this conflict within him is apparent throughout the game.


1) Samurai Jack – Time Battle

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Samurai Jack, the ultimate indomitable samurai warrior, made his first animated appearance in 2001. Trained from a young age to battle the demon Aku, Jack is cast into a spell and sent eternities into the future where Aku reigns supreme.

The post-apocalyptic world our hero wakes up in is plagued by all kinds of thugs who thrive on the chaos that the Demon King is spreading. Without thinking of giving up, Jack confronts all the evil townspeople Aku sends him and becomes a beacon of hope for the terrorized populace.

A stoic hero with a wise wisdom that puts the needs of others above his own, Samurai Jack is one of a kind.


Note: This article is subjective and reflects the opinions of the author only.


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