The game begins in 1582, when the forces of Oda Nobunaga burn the protagonist's village to the ground, but withdraw before taking his life upon hearing urgent news of an incident at Honnō-ji Temple. Rather than dying at the temple as he did in real life, Nobunaga is merely injured, and somehow comes into possession of mystical demonic powers, and so the main character must go and complete his ninja training and gain the skills to avenge his clan and kill the unstoppable warlord.
This game provides examples of:
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: One of the most restrictive ever implemented. The game features dozens of recruitable characters, including a number of fellow Iga ninjas who are implied to be friends of the main character from before the beginning of the game, but no more than two will ever accompany you at once. There is no backup party, anyone who is not with the main character resumes traveling on their own.
- Beef Gate: While some areas are blocked off by checkpoints that won't permit you to pass before addressing the plot, large expanses of the map are barred only by powerful random encounters intended to slaughter you if you show the temerity to explore them out of order.
- Functional Magic: Ninjutsu, which offers a wide array of apparently supernatural abilities. Other character classes such as priests and mystics have their own magical skillsets which tend to be less versatile but more powerful.
- Turn-Based Strategy: Once the protagonist has built up a sufficient reputation, he can sell his services out to daimyos either as a spy or saboteur, or as a military officer. Provinces will change hands and factions can be wiped out, even without your participation. Engaging in the tactical warfare elements of the game isn't strictly necessary until near the end in order to gain access to the final dungeon.