Video Game: Nightshade (Kunoichi)

Nightshade, also known as Kunoichi in Japan, is a 2003 game for the PlayStation 2. It's a sequel to the previous year's Shinobi, a 3D installment in Sega's ninja franchise, and plays in a similar way.

Hibana is a government-employed ninja, out to assassinate the members of the Nakatomi Corporation. In a near-future Tokyo, Nakatomi has unleashed a series of demons upon the city, and Hibana must eliminate both them and Nakatomi's rival ninja.

Nightshade is notoriously difficult, mostly due to its later levels requiring increasingly high levels of precision and timing.

Not to be confused with 1991 NES game called Nightshade.


This game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Hibana. She actually has a few fans who've never played the game, owing largely to her striking visual design.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Like many PlayStation 2 era female characters, Hibana has a couple of risque outfits you can unlock after completing the game.
  • Atsuko Tanaka: Hibana's Japanese voice actress.
  • Bishounen Line: Kurohagane gets bulkier and bulkier in each appearance until his last one, where his 'armour' explodes, turning him into a slick swordsman who looks, for all accounts, human. He doesn't even look like a robot except for his helmet.
  • Blow You Away: Kazaguruma
  • Third-Person Seductress: Hibana.
  • Death Seeker: Onibi wants Hibana to kill him.
  • Dueling Games: Came out a month before the Ninja Gaiden Revival and was promptly forgotten after the latter game's release.
  • Flash Step: She's a ninja. What do you want?
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Hibana wears bright white and kills everyone she sees.
  • Making a Splash: Hisui.
  • Karmic Death: Jimushi betrays and blows up Kurohagane (With Hisui's help), taking Akujiki from him. Come the end of Jimushi's boss fight, Kurohagane steals back Akujiki and then kills Jimushi as payback.
  • Mega Corp.: Nakatomi in Nightshade have gone from simply having a preposterously laid-out factory used by Hiruko to being a full-on evil company with their own B-2 Spirit bomber, F-117 Nighthawks and ballistic missile submarine.
  • Nintendo Hard: The combat's comparatively forgiving, but the platforming is what stops most players in their tracks.
    • To elaborate, you will be required to navigate between platforms using enemies as a bridge with a combination of Locked-On Stealth Dashes and Homing Kicks. Keep in mind that this often takes place around environmental hazards or pits. Something like the sections in the Sonic Adventure games with a set of midair enemies to Homing Attack, but done more manually, so to speak.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hibana strongly resembles actress Chiaki Kuriyama, a move likely inspired by the fact that Kill Bill Vol. 1 was the hottest action movie on Earth at the time of the game's development (and her rival Hisui vaguely resembles fellow Battle Royale co-star Kou Shibasaki, who was the first choice to portray Kuriyama's character, Gogo Yubari.)
  • Playing with Fire: Onibi's shtick, via fireworks and flame attacks.
  • We Can Rule Together: Kurohagane offers this to Hibana, asking that she be his, and Akujiki's, master. She refuses.
  • You Are Already Dead: One of the primary ways to take down enemies throughout the game is the "Tate" system, where you run around stunning every enemy in a room so they all fall over dead at once.

Alternative Title(s):

Nightshade Kunoichi