Ninja Spirit, or Saigo no Nindou in Japan, is a 1988 side-scrolling platforming Action Game from Irem. It's most well-known for its port on the TurboGrafx-16 console as well as later re-release on the Nintendo Wii's virtual console, but also appearing as an arcade game and other consoles.
The young ninja Tsukikage ("Moonlight"), journeys through 7 stages, slashes his way through numerous enemies to face the bosses at the end of each. He primarily uses a versatile katana but has access to shurikens, explosives, and kusarigama over the course of the game, as well as a number of power ups.
The game contains these examples:
- Bubble Gun: Maxing out the katana's power turns it into a bubble-lightsaber.
- Classic Cheat Code: In the PC Engine version of the game Mr. Heli no Daibouken, also by Irem, the code for up to 99 continues was I, II, II, I, Select. Entering the same code in Ninja Spirit would just display the message "Do you play Mr. Heli?" This confused some American players, since Mr. Heli was released in the U.S. only as an Arcade Game under the Market-Based Title Battle Chopper.
- Descending Ceiling: The area of the fourth stage leading to the Boss Room is a long corridor with a slowly descending ceiling, with Mooks to hinder you along the way. You have to reach the end before the ceiling touches your head.
- Enemy Roll Call: There is a review of bosses at the end of the TurboGrafx-16 version. However, the names are in kanji even in the US version.
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: An unusually prolonged case of screen flashing appears in the ending (at least in the arcade and TurboGrafx-16 versions), where The Hero transforms back into a wolf.
- Giant Mook: The boss Hanzo the Fiend is an enemy ninja twice as tall as the Player Character, wielding an equally oversized sword with ease.
- Jidaigeki: This story is set in an alternate feudal Japan.
- Kite Riding: The Stage 5 Boss Battle is with the Tribe of the Nine Wind Demons, all nine of whom are arranged on a giant flying kite emblazoned with the kanji 影 ("shadow"). Smaller kites carrying individual enemy ninja appear in the following stage.
- Ninja: The main character is one, as are some of the opponents.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: In the TurboGrafx-16 version, Moonlight has five hitpoints in PC-Engine mode, but only one hitpoint in Arcade mode.
- Orbiting Particle Shield: The Wheel of Fire powerup blocks attacks with flames orbiting the player.
- Real-Time Weapon Change: This game was one of the first to have this feature - you can switch from katana to shuriken and so on without going into a menu.
- Spikes of Doom: In keeping with its Jidaigeki theme, this game's deadly spikes are made of bamboo.
- Spiritual Successor: Some consider this to be a worthy successor to The Legend of Kage despite being made by completely different developers.
- Stealth Pun: Probably unintentional, but Moonlight can create up to three "shadow clones" which follow his every move. Moonlight is casting shadows!
- Variable-Length Chain: The Rising Dragon is a kusarigama whose chain can be extended and spun to sweep across the screen.