Series: Metal Gear
While many ninjas on this list cover the ninja fighting style well, Grey Fox from the Metal Gear series covers the espionage end of the profession. Throughout the first several games of the series, Grey Fox acts as a deep cover agent, pretending to oppose Solid Snake while actually helping him behind the scenes. He provides valuable intelligence to Snake, but he can hold his own in a fight when the need arises. Plus, in his final official appearance in the series, Grey Fox gets to be a cyborg ninja. How cool is that?
Game: Final Fantasy VII
Yuffie is a teenage ninja who is a secret, optional character in Final Fantasy VII. She's got a cocky, brash, and slightly abrasive personality, but she's also a compassionate person with an impressive goal. Yuffie's homeland of Wutai has been turned into a tourist attraction by the Shinra Corporation, and she aims to gain the power to drive Shinra out and restore Wutai to its former glory. Throughout Final Fantasy VII and its various spin-offs, Yuffie serves as both comic relief and unlikely hero, a seemingly self-centered sneak thief who always does the right thing in the end.
Game: Mortal Kombat
Scorpion is one of the most popular characters in Mortal Kombat, and also happens to be a Grade-A ninja. On top of his stylish version of the traditional ninja outfit, he's got the whole revenge thing going, seeking to wreak vengeance on the people who destroyed his clan. Oh, sure, he's not quite human anymore, but when has that ever kept a good ninja down? Scorpion's a neutral type of ninja. All he cares about is teaming up with people who will advance his cause of revenge, which allows him to enter into all sorts of tournaments as a plot twist. The fans eat that stuff up, and it doesn't hurt that he's got a great moveset and a popular finisher.
Games: TMNT Games
When they first arrived on the cartoon scene in the 1980's, nobody could have guessed that these pizza-noshing terrapins named after Renaissance artists would become the quintessential American ninjas. The TMNT are ridiculous in concept but somehow pretty darn awesome in practice, silly slogans and all. Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael have left a lasting mark on US culture, and are probably responsible for a lot of the popularity of ninjas in North America today. In the world of video games, the TMNTs are best known for their side-scrolling brawlers, which were very popular in the arcades of the early 1990's and have been re-created and re-released on a variety of consoles over the years.
Series: Ninja Gaiden
Ryu Hayabusa takes the top spot on this list almost by default. The star of the Ninja Gaiden series is a ninja's ninja, often used as the best example of a ninja in modern popular culture. He's not only a deadly ninja, he's also the star of one of the most difficult modern action game series. In other words, not only does Ryu have major skills, but players need to step up their game to propel him to victory. Ninja Gaiden is one of few long-running series that has resisted the trend towards making games easier and more casual-player-friendly, and that's just the way Ryu likes it.
Although he's a good-aligned ninja who fights against evil clans and blood-cursed fiends, Ryu is a brutally efficient fighter who takes no prisoners. In the modern Ninja Gaiden games, he slices his enemies to a bloody pulp with his ninja sword, leaving buckets of blood splatter in his wake. Nevertheless, Ryu is admired for his courage against seemingly insurmountable odds and his respect for the skills of his enemies. He's been ranked number one on more top ninja lists than one can count, and he tops this list, too.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*