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Video Game / Mark of the Ninja

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Mark of the Ninja is a Stealth Based Platform Game developed by Klei Entertainment (the developers of Shank) and released on Xbox Live Arcade, and later on Steam. The player takes on the role of a Ninja of the Hisomu Clan who must track and slay the man responsible for the decimation of his clan through modern cityscapes, employing all his stealth abilities and quasi-magical feats granted to him by a mystical tattoo.

Published by Microsoft Studios, the game was released on September 7, 2012, and a DLC was released on August 16, 2013. An enhanced version for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch scheduled to be released in Fall of 2018, thanks to the rights to the game lapsing from Microsoft back to Klei.

Tropes used in this game:

  • 100% Completion: Aside from the main mission, there is plenty of stuff to collect and do, all of which are required to buy every available upgrade as well. The game is designed for multiple playthroughs; fortunately, you can restart from the last checkpoint (which rarely force you to redo more than the room you restarted in) if you trigger an alert or screw up one of the special actions. To earn honors, you must:
    • Collect three hidden scrolls per stage.
    • Do three special actions per stage. Normally, they are Self Imposed Challenges like "break 20 lights", or not breaking any lights until a certain point and sometimes trickier stuff like getting guards to shoot each other.
    • Score high enough to get three honor marks.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Special Edition DLC level stars Dosan, the main hero's mentor who oversees the use of the ink. In this level, the bandits guarding the ink find out what it does and try to steal it, so Azai sends in Dosan to give them a little "reminder" of who's really in control.
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  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Dosan in his youth did not use a sword out of pride of his skills at hand-to-hand combat.
  • A-Team Firing: Zig-zagged: on normal conditions enemies can fire even if they are close to you, on each side, with no harm; however, everything changes if they are in a panic.
  • Action Commands: Used whenever the player character performs a Stealth Kill or picks a pocket. Failure to execute this properly will result in a much messier and noisier incident, resulting in fewer points and potentially alerting others. However, failing the quick-time event against Elites will make them retaliate, even if you had stunned them previously.
  • Agony of the Feet: Caltrops will naturally cause this to any poor schmuck who steps on them.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Loads of them, to the point of Benevolent Architecture, and guards rarely ever check in them on their own; mostly if they detect a noise coming from the air vent or caught a glimpse of the Marked Ninja running into one.
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  • Amazon Brigade: The Stalker enemies
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Each mission has three "honors", challenging optional tasks that can be completed. Complete three honors of each category and you will unlock a costume.
    • Path of the Ninja: The starting outfit. Grants no advantages nor disadvantages.
    • Path of the Mark: Earned after freeing Dosan in A Shattered Stronghold, grants the Marked Ninja the ability to use a short range teleport allowing him to bypass seemingly impossible traps.
    • Path of Might: Increases health and makes stunning enemies with attacks easier, and stealth kills will also heal the Marked Ninja. However, the focus will no longer stop time.
    • Path of the Hunter: Grants the ability to always perform perfect stealth kills (action command will be removed and the Marked Ninja will never fumble an execution). On the other hand, items will not be restocked on checkpoints, only on Hisomu stations.
    • Path of Silence: Running will make no noise and you will be able to carry two distraction items, but you will not be able to use the sword or any attack items.
    • Path of Nightmares: This will give the ability to terrorize enemies that either witness an assassination or find a dead body killed by the Marked Ninja, and also works for knocked out dogs, but Elites will not be frightened and will raise the alarm. The Marked Ninja will only be able to use one attack item and no distraction items.
    • Path of Wisdom: Available only to people with the Special Edition DLC. Dosan in his prime. Trades the sword killing for a Non-Lethal K.O. tackle and room for more quantities of items, but removes the Farsight and causes the Focus to lose the time-stopping trait.
  • Animal Motifs: The ninja clan's motif is a raven.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Checkpoints are often close and common enough that the game rarely forces the player to re-do more than one room at a time.
    • In New Game+, you can choose your Path and equipment for the final level. Normally, you are forced to use the Path of the Mark and only darts due to your hasty escape from Tabriz.
    • In both difficulties, there is no Fog of War in the final room in the last level.
  • Artistic License – Physics: During thunderstorms, you risk being seen by guards in a flash of lightning. However, to prevent the player from being caught by surprise, the thunderclap actually sounds before the lightning flash, not the other way around.
    • Somewhat downplayed, in an example of Developers' Foresight: if you're at a high enough elevation and can see the open sky, you can actually see the lightning that accompanies the smaller thunderclap. This is then followed a second later by the Lightning Reveal flash and its own boom.
  • Asshole Victim: Pretty much all of them. Count Karajan in particular stands out. The man traded a shipment of body armor meant for his guards for a bottle of white-wine, and doesn't even particularly like it. …But come the night where you infiltrate his castle, he's breaking down into a desperate, shivering coward. He even has the Terrified mark above his head when you're about to kill him!
    Count Karajan: …Where is he?… Is he gone?…
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Whenever you spook a mook, they'll be prone to yell cuss words.
    • Amusingly enough, this overlapped with Cluster F-Bomb with the bandits of Tabriz (before an update which removed the voice clip) who would shout "die, motherfucker, die!" while spraying bullets around in panic.
  • Awful Truth: Those who accept the mark are called "the severed" and shunned by their own companions thereafter. Marked ones are nothing but dignified human tools which must be quickly disposed of after finishing their tasks before they go completely insane from the ink's side effects.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The titular ink itself. You become a human with super reflexes capable of doing time-stopping stunts. The downside? You go insane.
    • The No Enemies Killed bonus. While it is impressive to finish a level without ever killing an enemy, the effort is generally not worth the reward if you're going for a high score, as extensive killing is actually worth way more points.
    • Path of Might is this embodied. It grants the ability to stun enemies quicker, which also means you'll have to fight them head-on, most likely causing them to ring the alarm in a game where fighting more than one enemy head-on is plain suicidal.
  • Back Stab: Stealth Kills, with which the player can execute an unaware enemy.
  • Badass Boast: The second Elite Guard the player encounters is overheard boasting to another guard that he has studied several different martial arts and is in the MMA hall of fame. Doesn't stop one from getting one-shot by getting a chandelier dropped on the head, though.
  • Bad Boss: Karajan. During a cutscene with his guard captain, it's revealed that he traded a shipment of advanced body armor — armor that had been meant for his field troops — for a bottle of expensive wine that once belonged to Otto von Bismarck, just to see what it tasted like. When Corporal Kelly implies that his men got killed because they didn't have the body armor, Karajan's sole remark is: "Then this was more expensive than I thought."
  • Bald of Awesome: The Marked Ninja is bald.
  • Beating A Dead Player: If a player is killed by gunfire, enemies will continue firing at him as if he was still alive.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Hisomu" means "to lurk" in Japanese.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The morality of this game can get really murky. Hessian has all the markings of being a corrupt Mega-Corp, but their attacks on the Hisomu are pretty understandable once it's found out that the clan attacked and robbed from them first. Things get even more confusing when the Marked Ninja comes into play, who may have been an Unwitting Pawn or a willing accomplice in the whole affair before his sanity began to dwindle. In the end, it's all but impossible to tell if there ever really was a "good" side in this conflict.
  • Blessed with Suck: The marks given to people in the Hisomu clan, and the game never tries to hide what it will do eventually. Enhanced reflexes enough to stop time while focusing and a myriad of other benefits would be great if it weren't for the "go insane after getting it" thing.
  • Blood Knight: Tetsuji. One of the first things learned about the man is that he was able to kill 500 men blindfolded and reveled in wartime.
  • Booby Trap: Present all over the place in Tabriz. While these can seriously hurt an incautious player, a canny one can turn them into an opportunity to get points for some indirect kills even with Path of Silence.
  • Ceiling Corpse: You can hang guards from grappling hook points with the chain of your hook, either after you've killed them or, if you've taken the Hangman's Hymn perk, in the process of doing so. Any guards who spot the corpse will be immediately terrified.
  • Chiaroscuro: Lit background and characters are in full colour, but shadowed areas or people are white and black, while the ninja uniquely gets a bit of red from his Power Tattoo.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The eponymous mark, with a "murderous insanity" variant of this trope.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ora has some shades of this if you play sloppily: if you trigger multiple alarms before you make it to the first target on the map on the second level, she flat-out says: "If you planned to trip every alarm, you should go back and make sure, since you might've missed one or two."
  • Death from Above: One of the unlockable stealth kills can be performed when hanging from a ledge or a wall, or in midfall.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Hessian Castle, Count Karajan's stronghold. After that, it turns out Azai has his own plans…
  • Disaster Dominoes: Put on the Path of Nightmares outfit and guards will freak out and start shooting at every dead body they see. One dead guard can spook a few others, who shoot their buddies, they freak out and eventually maybe half of them have killed the other half and are so itchy that they can be easily persuaded to shoot each other some more with a single dart.
  • Downer Ending: Neither of the endings feels "correct" or "right".
    • The "Seppuku" ending has you kill Ora, your Deadpan Snarker Mission Control who had never been anything but loyal to you, despite not being real, and you do this by stabbing through yourself, committing suicide. While this adheres to the laws of the Hisomu — and may be necessary, since it's implied that the Marked Ninja is losing his grip on reality thanks to the Deadly Upgrade of his tattoos — the clan will also degrade as Azai remains in charge, and will phase out the old ways for advanced technology and weaponry.
    • The "Kill Azai" ending sees the Marked Ninja run his master through and take the title of clan leader for himself, and Ora, an extension of your consciousness, implies that you'll go on to purge the clan for their perceived dishonor. The last scene of this ending is of the character turning into the "marked demon" from the background story, possibly indicating that he's gone completely insane from the ink's poison.
  • Driven to Madness: The fate of those who wind up marked by the tattoos, leading to them committing suicide in order to avoid becoming a danger to their clan. This practice was put into place after Tetsuji, the clan's founder, wound up obtaining tattoos of his own to restore his youth and went on a madness-fueled rampage. The Marked Ninja begins to have this happen to him as well as the game progresses. If he chooses to kill Azai in the ending, he passes the point of no return.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The upgraded Hisomu Poison Dart will make enemies blow their brains out, out of sheer terror after a set period of time (or in the case of dogs, just makes them drop dead).
    • The Marked Ninja can choose to do so in one of the endings, staying true to his vow of ending his life before going completely insane.
  • Elite Mook: First we get a Giant Mook aptly named "Elite" that cannot be stealth killed unless you stun them first, either with items or clever usage of the environment.
    • Later, Stalkers, Hisomu ninja women equipped with Karajan's high-tech that see in the dark, leap around, and use grapple points like the Marked Ninja, and instantly detect you from within your normal stealth kill range and can't be stealth killed unless stunned, even from behind obstacles.
  • Eaten Alive: The Ravenous Insects. The victim will die screaming, albeit, thankfully, in seconds.
  • Evil Mentor: Azai has some shades of this. As revealed in the story and the scrolls you collect, he purposefully attacked the Hessian group first and got himself captured by them after he found out what kind of technology they possess. On the other hand, he was forced to do this since the plant from which the special ink used in the Marks was made from had died out and the last of it was used to give the main character his Mark, and without it or the technology, the clan wouldn't be able to survive in the modern world. The main character is angered about having to go on a suicide mission just to capture enemy technology when he thought his mission was about justified revenge for Karajan's seemingly unprovoked assault on the clan in an attempt to wipe them out.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation: In certain story sequences, the player character can do little but walk left or right.
  • Face–Heel Turn: An extremely rare example where the main protagonist does it, and you get to see his point of view. Azai's true motives also count, but his case is somewhat justified by the fact that the toxic plant that grants the Hisomu clan their powers died out a year ago, and the clan needs some kind of edge to survive in the modern world.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Neither Ora nor Azai put up a fight when facing the Marked Ninja's final judgment. They just bow their heads and quietly accept it.
    • Particularly noteworthy for Azai, whose fear of committing seppuku for his failure in the first place is what led to the events of the game.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: You can drop chandeliers on enemies to kill them in one hit. Even Elite Guards.
  • Flash Step: The Path of the Mark replaces your distraction item with a skill called Mark of Serenity, which allows you to teleport short distances to any place you can throw an item.
  • Fog of War: A rare non-strategy game use of this trope. You can't directly see anything that your ninja is unable to see. Guys behind doors or on different floors become invisible, but you do see visible indicators of the sound of their footsteps so you can get an idea where they are, and later a type of sixth sense that lets you see through walls. Taken even farther in New Game+, which vastly increases the fog of war so you can't even see anything your ninja has his back to.
  • Foreshadowing: In the final level, the ninja hallucinates further, seeing ghastly images on the walls, watching him. One of these is of a young girl, who morphs into a monstrosity when you get close. It heavily resembles Ora, foreshadowing her identity as a hallucination brought on by the mark.
    • Another example is when your mentor, Dosan, mentions in the beginning that he's running out of ink to produce the mystic tattoos of the Hisomu clan. It's revealed that the flowers whose toxins make up the prime ingredient of the ink died out years ago, and Azai apparently covered that up.
  • Friend or Foe: Guards who become terrified will go into a panic, backing away and reflexively shooting at the next thing to make a noise, even if that noise is another guard barging into the room to see what's wrong. The player can exploit this by making a distraction noise between a terrified enemy and another, causing them to shoot each other in fearful confusion.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Found in the areas with poisonous gas, as can largely be expected. They also have night vision goggles by default.
  • Glass Cannon: You and the enemies. Both can kill each other very quickly and even the most common kind of mook can be surprisingly agile while giving chase.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: While it doesn't deal damage directly, the player can hide in the shadows and throw dead bodies at guards to cause them to panic.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Mooks, especially at the beginning, have terrible vision, have short attention spans, and are easily distracted and spooked.
  • Heroic Build: Under his garbs, the Marked Ninja is pretty ripped.
  • Heroic Mime: The protagonist never speaks once. Aside from a grunt of pain should he commit seppuku at the end. And depending on your definitions (Ora, being a hallucination, is voicing your thoughts).
  • Honor Before Reason: Potentially mixed with Wrong Genre Savvy. According to Ora, Corporal Kelly counts on the protagonist invoking this trope. Whether or not the Marked Ninja does so is up to the player. Of course, this doesn't prevent him from trying to fight the Marked Ninja with two snipers in the same room...
    Ora: He expects you to engage him like a glorious samurai. I guess he doesn't know much about ninja.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: People from the Hisomu clan willingly accept their marks while fully aware of their eventual effects, just so they can perform a daunting task in order to greatly benefit the clan.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Tabriz, it's quite possible to lure the bandits into one of their own traps.
    • Spooking enemies is fun, right? Getting accidentally shot while they are spraying bullets in a panic might not be. Especially in the New Game+ where anything kills you in a single hit.
  • I Am a Monster: Basically The Path of Nightmares.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Implied at the very end, though not stated.
  • Imaginary Friend: The ending reveals that Ora is a figment of the protagonist's imagination as part of the ink's influence.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Marked Ninja is referred to as "The Champion" by Azai. But in truth, he is known as "The Severed" by everyone else.
  • In the Hood: The Marked Ninja, mainly. The hood is often confused as his hair.
  • Interface Screw: The ending sequence of the game is a solemn moment as the ninja walks through a water-color-esque world, using all the same visual cues (hearing cones, fear signals, etc.) There's also the implication that the Marked Ninja has fully succumbed to the effects of the plant's toxins, then reaches a moment of clarity before either killing Azai or Ora.
  • Interface Spoiler: Ora makes no sound when running.
    • The challenges shown in the menu might mention enemies you have yet to encounter in the level, such as hallucinations.
  • Just Like Making Love: Ora gives a brutal example.
    Ora: The beginning of a kill is like embracing a lover. The end, of course, is not.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook:
    • Elites and Stalkers, who cannot be killed with stealth attacks without stunning them first.
    • Dogs. They can smell and identify you even in darkness and hiding if they get close enough. Knocking them out is possible, but if the player takes too long the dog will alert the other guards.
    • Downplayed with Snipers; they can be killed with stealth attacks, but their scope allows them to see the Marked Ninja even in darkness unless he's hiding.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Kill Azai or kill Ora (the latter means the protagonist killing himself).
  • The Magic Goes Away: The flower which gives the ninjas Power Tattoos is extinct. This causes Azai to seek modern technology for his clan.
  • Martial Pacifist/Technical Pacifist: Path of Silence enforces this tactic by removing all of the lethal equipment of the Marked Ninja. "Indirect Kills" via the environment or luring enemies into deadly traps does not count towards the Marked Ninja's kill count.
    • Dosan, the protagonist of the Special Edition DLC, is definitely one. He uses his bare hands in order to perform non-lethal takedowns, and the last part of his chapter greatly encourages you to solve the situation by scaring the enemies rather than killing them all.
  • Meaningful Name: Corporal Kelly is named after Ned Kelly, the Australian bush ranger "who is something of a Robin Hood figure."
    • "Hisomu" means "hide" or "lurk" in Japanese.
  • Mega-Corp: Hessian Services, against whom the player spends most of the game fighting. Exactly what business they are in is unclear, but it is implied that they are a high-tech weapons manufacturer who employs a lot of mercenaries.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: In the end, the poisonous ink takes hold over the Marked Ninja, Ora, now known to be imaginary, eggs him on to murder his master and his entire clan, and the entire environment is hallucinated into traditional art.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: The Cardboard Box has this effect wherever you are, no matter how illogical the place seems to be.
  • Mook Horror Show: You can scare the hell out of guards by startling them with corpses and making particularly brutal kills.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: Somewhat justified. Corporal Kelly is merely a Palette Swap of Elite Guards and Count Karajan is too frightened to even put up a fight. Azai might be just too old to fight an extremely well-trained ninja with the power of the ink.
  • Mortality Phobia: Tetsuji develops one in his older years, causing him to seek out the tattoos that the Hisomu Clan made use of.
    • It is somewhat implied that this may be a common cause for the descent into madness by others who obtain the tatoos, with Ora attempting to talk the Ninja out of suicide both before and almost immediately after Karajan's death.
  • Ms. Exposition: Ora. She normally comes by, says something relevant, and goes away until you reach a certain point of the stage.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Sure, you get to do all kind of cool ninja powers based on your magic tattoos, but you are forced to be stealthy because even a basic goon with a gun can kill you in seconds in a straight up fight.The tattoos also come with the side effect of insanity. The player's master is entirely aware of these facts, and wants to keep the clan relevant by adopting high tech ninja suits that don't come with the risk of uncontrollable rage.
  • Multiple Endings: See Downer Ending for details.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: The Marked Ninja is slim and pretty skinny compared to almost any other enemy, but given that his weapon of choice is a very sharp sword combined with stealth attacks...
  • Neck Snap: Stealth-killing a stunned Elite Guard from behind a door has the Marked Ninja do this with his grappling hook chain instead of using his sword.
  • New Game+: Once the game is beaten, the player may begin a New Game Plus, which increases the difficulty by making footstep noise, dog's smell radius, and Stalker's detection radius invisible, also greatly decreasing your field of vision and making you unable to see behind you and making all enemy attacks a One-Hit Kill. Thankfully, the upgrades you unlocked thus far carry over.
  • No-Gear Level: After accumulating an extensive range of equipment over the course of the game, the last few missions have the protagonist largely bereft of his gear (even his sword, preventing him from killing enemies directly), instead forcing the player to rely on acrobatics and supernatural ninja abilities.
  • No Name Given: The Marked Ninja never gets named.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • In The Trail of Shadow, raising an alarm or killing the courier before he gets to the tracking device will instantly kick you back to the last checkpoint.
    • At the end of The Fall of Hessian Tower, if you let the time run out in the final segment, the screen will go white and you'll only hear the sound of an explosion.
  • Notice This: Air vents mostly. You'll see one reflecting the light (or lack of) most times, and they are extremely handy to avoid detection.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Ora is always right behind you, even when it's logically impossible for her to take the same route as you. At one point, she says she'll find another route and catch up with you, (and while there are two routes after she says this, both become inaccessible when you collapse the grapple platforms before them) but it's usually ignored. One extremely rare example where this is eventually explained.
  • One-Hit Kill: Sniper soldiers/bandits need only a single bullet to send the Marked Ninja to the grave.
    • If you terrorize an enemy, any shot that hits their allies will kill the schmuck instantly, even if happens to be an Elite Mook. Except revolver and shield mooks; they need to hit about three shots before downing one of their own.
    • If you start a New Game+, every type of guard can take you out with just one hit or bullet, even if it happens to be a stray bullet from a guard you had spooked.
  • One-Man Army: As Dosan puts it:
    Dosan: One man striking from the shadows would seem like an army.
  • Pacifist Run: Possible in most missions. One achievement even requires doing this on one level and another requires a Stealth Run as well.
    • You gain an achievement for doing a Ghost Run, called "Ghost", for managing to go through an entire level undetected and without killing any guards. This can be profoundly difficult without the Path Of Silence outfit, which allows you to run without generating noise, and lets you carry two stealth items.
    • With the DLC-exclusive Path Of Wisdom outfit, you can do a more Metal Gear Solid-style pacifist run by knocking everyone out with non-lethal takedowns. And, yes, using this ability does count for both the "Mercy" and the "Ghost" achievements.
  • Palette Swap: Corporal Kelly, who is merely an unique elite.
  • Pistol-Whipping: More like Assault Rifle Whacking which will happen if you get too close to normal mooks.
  • Power Tattoo: The "Mark" of the title is an elaborate pattern of tattoos placed on the main character's skin using a special ink made from a unique toxic plant. This ink will grant great powers of perception and speed, but the toxin will eventually drive the marked person to madness. As a result, those who accept the mark do so only to accomplish the most critical of missions, and will be expected to perform Seppuku afterward before the madness overtakes them.
  • Reality Ensues: Go ahead and try to run into fights like other kinds of ninja game. Heavily armed mooks with assault rifles, sniper rifles, and shotguns and later with laser beams will make real short work of you.
    • Killing Count Karajan. He's just an executive and someone without any sort of combat training who's completely terrified of the marked ninja in his final appearance. The real challenge is getting to him rather than fighting him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Azai. After the player goes rogue during the second part of the game upon learning that Azai lied about his motives for having the Marked Ninja attack Karajan, and that he plans to phase out the old ways in favor of advanced technology, he nontheless engages his wayward student in polite conversation, and allows said student to decide whether to kill himself or not. Bear in mind, he knows full well that the Marked Ninja is suffering from the madness brought on by the toxin of his tattoos, and may well decide to murder him and the rest of the clan, yet he doesn't even put up a fight.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Averted Trope — the Marked Ninja is red and black in the dark (with white serving as the colour of lines), but is the protagonist.
  • Sequence Breaking: The Mark of Serenity allows the player some pretty creative ways to bypass obstacles that they would need to find other ways around. However, since it is only available near the end of the game, such options are primarily only presented when replaying old levels.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Terrorizing a guard will make them freak out so badly that they'll fire at the first thing that causes the slightest noise, instantly killing any unlucky guards in the line of fire.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Comes equipped with a flare pistol which he will use upon hearing any suspect noise in darkened areas. Shield Bash ensues if one gets too close, but if he panics he will drop it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The stealth kill for dropping down on the target from above is called Bat's Prey.
    • Killing and throwing a guard off a ledge is called Leap of Faith.
    • You can get a cardboard box as a distraction item, and the unique stealth kill it gives access to is called Voracious Snake.
    • Many of the Achievement names are Shout Outs:
  • Shown Their Work: As noted by Gaijin Goomba of Game Exchange, the game is very accurate to actual ninja protocol: Nobody, not even you, knows the protagonist's name, you get bonus points for stealth and no deaths, and you can go down very easily in actual combat.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: This game is like a love letter to every stealth game made in the past fifteen years, but done in a genre (2D platforming) that's almost never seen this type of gameplay before. Where to begin?
  • Smoke Out: As a ninja, you predictably get access to smoke bombs. They can be thrown to block enemy's lines of sight, as well as to disrupt laser sensors. Upgrades also cause enemies exposed to the cloud to choke and cough like it was tear gas. Gas Mask Mooks are immune to this additional effect though.
  • Speed Blitz: The ninja can do a limited version of this on stunned enemies: it involves quickly blurring around the target while making rapid slashes and seems to be slightly quicker than other forms of stealth kills, and if more than one stunned enemy is grouped close enough together, he can kill off all of them simultaneously.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: Smoke bombs (see Smoke Out), caltrops, ninjato, Kusari Fundo and a few others.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": One region is called Tabriz or Tebriz. The game gives one name, the DLC gives the other.
  • Stealth Run: Naturally, you get a bonus for being undetected the entire level.
  • Stop Poking Me!: During the third to last stage when Dosan is being held hostage, the player can interact with him, prompting him to tell the Ninja that the chains he's bound in cannot be cut and must be unlocked with keys held by his jailors. Continuing to interact with him has him continue to repeat this dialogue in an increasingly irritated tone.
    Dosan: Listen to me. You. CAN'T. CUT. THE CHAINS.
  • Super Senses: The main effect of the Mark, along with enhanced speed and reflexes.
  • Technicolor Ninja: Played with: Whenever the ninja is in the shadows, his outfit appears to be completely black. However, once he is exposed to light, it appears to be a dark blue with red stripes.
  • The Ace: Tetsuji, the founder of the Hisomu Clan. He eventually wound up becoming a Broken Ace when he succumbed to the madness of the ink, bringing about a great suffering for his clan.
  • The Joys of Torturing Mooks: Invoked. To be able to get the maximum possible score, you need to terrify guards, which makes them shoot wildly at anything that causes noise and freak out when you pop out in front of them while also stopping them from thinking straight enough to just sound the alarm on you immediately.
    • Wearing the Path of Nightmares costume makes soldiers panic upon finding a dead body instead of raising the alert, easily leading into a chain reaction where a large group of mooks ends up shooting each other to death while you stand there as your score rises.
    • There are also numerous achievements that involve things like terrorizing mooks with corpses you hang from grapple points or scaring them so that they stumble backwards and fall to their deaths.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness:
    • That girl who helped you from the beginning to the end? She never existed. Notice how nobody addresses her directly in any of the cutscenes or asks about her, and how she just basically leaps off the level into the background whenever enemy soldiers approach her during scripted events.
    • The main character hallucinates the normal ninja found in the final stage as the mooks found in earlier stages, who revert to their normal form when you kill them: this also comes with a hint of Your Mind Makes It Real, which Ora states to be reason why their nonexistent guns have the same range and lethality as the actual mooks' despite the fact that the ninjas aren't carrying any.
  • Unskippable Cutscene: Cutscenes are skippable, but you can't skip Ora's instructions during a mission no matter what.
  • Vague Age: In the DLC where you play as a younger Dosan, it's stated that Azai was already the leader of the Hisomu clan. However, the DLC is set fifty years prior to the main story. For reference, compare Dosan to Azai.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Corporal Kelly. Unlike others, he doesn't panic, but becomes really infuriated after the Marked Ninja bested everything Kelly threw at him, to the point where he issues a challenge against him.
    • Count Karajan. He starts out full of confidence that his men and defense systems will protect him, but come A Blade at his Neck and he gets progressively more panicked as he realizes the ninja is in his stronghold breaching his best defenses and elite troops to his room. After the Marked Ninja starts breaching his last line of defenses, he goes as far as trying to bribe him, and then he tries to buy his forgiveness by giving up high-tech equipment to Azai. When the Marked Ninja finally gets to him, he's shown with the "terrorized" indicator over his head, and he's so out of it that he won't realize the Marked Ninja is in his safe room in spite of the Marked Ninja just opening the door and walking in right in front of him until the Marked Ninja decides to make the killing move.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Amusingly enough, Ora. The Marked Ninja somehow intercepts a few enemy transmissions during the stages, though.
  • Wham Line: "Who are you listening to?"
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Mark grants supernatural abilities, but it will eventually drive a person insane. Apparently. The tattooist who paints the Mark claims that no one has ever lived long enough to find out.
    • As it turns out, the Mark does drive people insane and causes hallucinations. For instance, a Marked person might even dream up a Deadpan Snarker ninja girl who tags along on missions.
  • Wutai: A curiously modern take on the trope. The early and late stages of the game take place in a Far East city which is never named but is presumably in Japan, with plenty of skyscrapers in the background and functional subway tunnels underground. However, everything has a very "shrine" kind of aesthetic to it. For example, modern buildings might have roofs and terraces that make them look vaguely like pagodas.
  • X-Ray Vision: The Mark of Farsight, a part of the ninja's Power Tattoo added midway through the story, allows him to sense enemies through walls, and see the flow of electronics through switches and triggers. This ability is a permanent addition to his repertoire, but can only be used while stationary.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: An interesting take on this trope: the Marked Ninja took a vow to kill himself once he completed his task, as the ink will eventually drive him into madness, but he gets suspicious of Azai's true motivations and refuses to do so until he finds out the truth.


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