Ninja Gaiden (Master System)

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NinjaGaiden SMS title.png
Ninja Gaiden
System(s): Sega Master System
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Master System
£29.99[1] 7101
Sega Master System
?F 7101
Sega Master System
DM ? 7101
Sega Master System
?Ptas 7101
Sega Master System
R$? ?
Sega Master System
₩? GB2019JG

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Ninja Gaiden (忍者外伝) for the Sega Master System is a platform action game developed by SIMS and published by Sega in 1992. Aside from the name and brand, it is unrelated to the other two Sega "Ninja Gaiden" games. This game also bears a "reprogrammed by Sega" line, though it is a unique game from any previous Ninja Gaiden work.

Even though considered "tame" in terms of difficulty compared to the other releases in the series, Master System version is still considered one of the finest games in the Master System library.

Master System version takes place in an alternate timeline and is not considered a part of the official Ninja Gaiden continuity.

There seems to be two versions of the game; the first version tells the story through the eyes of Ryu himself, explaining his experiences in great detail and the second version is narrated from an outside source, but some details of the plot are not explained as much. Furthermore, certain dialogue and names vary between the two versions as well, such as names of chapters. For example, samurai in the third chapter is not named in the second version and is simply called "Kendo Samurai". In the first version, name of the game is also mispronounced between the chapters as "Ninjya Gaiden".


Ryu Hayabusa is a descendant of clan of Dragon Ninjas who have kept the peace in Japan for generations. One day he received the news that his home village, the Dragon Village, was attacked by someone. He hurried home to take care of things.

But he returned home only to find that he was too late. He could do nothing but stare at the rubble that was once his village.

Ryu found the sole survivor in the village. With his last few words, the survivor told Ryu that the Bushido had been stolen.

The Bushido is an ancient scroll that have been handed down through generations of Dragon Ninjas. This document contains secrets about ways to summon the powers of this world. According to Ryu's ancestors whoever summoned these powers could even conquer the world.

Ryu whipped out his Dragonsword which is also endowed with such powers. He swore to himself that he would regain the Bushido and take revenge for his village.

— Intro sequence


Ninja Gaiden is a platforming action game. Hayabusa can use his sword with button 1 to attack and can jump with button 2. Pressing Up with button 1 uses the special weapons which will drain the energy meter.

Hayabuse can climb and move along the ceiling but cannot climb vertical wall as he did in the NES versions. He can however do wall jumps. He can also climb through the horizontal walls.

Pressing both buttons at the same time will make a "desperation attack" that will kill all enemies on the screen but also take a quarter of Hayabusa's health.

Many levels contain stage hazards in addition to the enemies but as stated above, they are much easier to navigate compared to the other games in the series.

A staple of the Ninja Gaiden series, story is narrated through manga style panel illustrations between each level.

At the title screen, holding Up on the first controller, Down on the second, and pressing 1 + 2 on both will open up a cheat menu, with a level select, sound test, and settings for lives, infinite ninja power, and invincibility.


Level 1: Escape in a Forest

With his village in ruins, Hayabusa attempts to escape to the nearby forest to evade the enemy force who wants to hunt down the last survivor of the Dragon clan. At the end of the level, Hayabusa faces a large sumo wrestler.

Chapter 2: Pursuit in Tokyo

Hayabusa travels to Tokyo to face off a powerful Yakuza Oyabun who might have information about the enemy. Fight on top of the streets and rooftops of the capital and fight armed thugs. Boss of the chapter is a yakuza leader who is surrounded by his army of henchmen.

Chapter 3: Samurai in Tsutenkaku

Hayabusa heads for Osaka to find location of a samurai who is in league with the enemy and faces him, wondering why a honorable man like him would side with bunch of murderers. Fight through slums and ruined buildings to reach your objective.

Chapter 4: Rescue Geisha

In his last breath, Samurai admits that his daughter was kidnapped by a man who calls himself, "Shogun of Darkness" in order to force his cooperation and begs Hayabusa to save her. Hayabusa resolves to honor the last request of an honorable warrior and heads off to Mt. Fuji. Navigate through waterfalls and pitfalls to fight a jetpack equipped soldier.

Chapter 5: Land of the Enemy

After being rescued, Geisha informs Hayabusa that Scroll has been taken to a place called the "Castle of Darkness" in the far north of Japan. Covered by snow and ice, Hayabusa travels through treacherous, cold terrain and faces off a man with uniform called "ice monster" capable of controlling cold.

Chapter 6: Raid

Hayabusa goes through a dark cave filled with traps, molten hot lava and creatures from darkness. While Hayabusa defeats a stone golem brought to life by the heinous powers of the Shogun, Geisha is captured again.

Chapter 7: Overcome

Finally reaching the Castle of Darkness, Hayabusa battles all sorts of enemies from samurai troops to ninjas. At the end of the level he faces off with a kabuki dancer who is heavily armed with heat seeking paper fans and a radar guided kabuki mask(?).

Chapter 8: A Decisive Battle

Wounded by a surprise attack from the Shogun, Hayabusa receives an unexpected help and enters the final battle with his nemesis, with the fates of himself, Geisha and potentially the entire world hanging in balance.

Production credits

Source: In-game credits


Magazine articles

Main article: Ninja Gaiden (Master System)/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

MegaForce ES 03.pdf

Print advert in Mega Force (ES) #3: "Julio 1992" (1992-xx-xx)

MegaForce ES 11.pdf

Print advert in Mega Force (ES) #11: "Marzo 1993" (1993-xx-xx)
also published in:

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
75 [3]
87 [4]
81 [1]
83 [5]
86 №11, p26-27
67 [6]
90 [7]
85 [8]
65 №52, p84
83 [9]
93 [10]
90 [11]
53 №34, p34-35
90 №11, p58-59
90 №13, p25
90 [12]
90 [13]
90 [14]
89 [15]
66 [16]
90 [17]
Sega Master System
Based on
21 reviews

Master System, EU
NinjaGaiden SMS EU Box.jpg
NinjaGaiden SMS EU Cart.jpg
Master System, AU

NinjaGaiden SMS AU Cart.jpg
Master System, BR
NinjaGaiden SMS BR cover.jpg
NinjaGaiden SMS BR Cart.jpg
NinjaGaiden SMS BR Manual.pdf
Master System, KR
NinjaGaiden SMS KR backcover.jpgNospine.pngNinjaGaiden SMS KR cover.jpg
NinjaGaiden SMS KR cart.jpg

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Master System
CRC32 1B1D8CC2
MD5 2CD25B3D9A1CED329A551D7FC3C0F01E
SHA-1 4C65DB563E8407444020AB7FD93FC45193AE923A
256kB Cartridge (EU)