A ninja is a fighter, spy and/or assassin trained in the mysterious, unconventional arts of ninjutsu. They often use weapons and tools from the time of the ninja arts' creation, including shuriken (throwing blades), ninjato (ninja sword with a larger-than-normal guard), katana, kunai and kusarigama (chained sickle). They usually wear some or all of the 'ninja uniform' (shinobi shozoku) no matter what time period they're in to visually inform the player that the character is indeed a ninja and to expect some sort of ninja-ness to be afoot.

The abilities of the ninja are a blend of reality and fantasy due to their use in folklore, but that's possibly because ninjas have always been sneaky and have no good reason to tell anyone what they can really do. Most video game ninja characters use powers such as invisibility, enhanced jumping, control over the elements, the ability to temporarily split into multiple ninjas, and short bursts of super-speed.

Playable ninjas in games with more than one playable character usually have lower health and attack power and higher speed compared to the other characters. They often have special techniques to avoid being damaged by the enemy or to defeat them quickly or at a distance, like Guy and Maki's Off-the-wall jump in the Final Fight series and Kazan's double jump (or triple jump) in Brawl Brothers/Rushing Beat Ran.
Related Terms: shinobi shozoku Kunoichi
Guy (Final Fight) Joe Musashi (Shinobi) Akira (Karate Blazers)
Game list:
the Legend of Kage (arcade), the Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES), Ninja Combat (Neo Geo), Ninja Commando (Neo Geo), Ninja Gaiden (NES), Ninja Gaiden II (NES), Ninja Gaiden III (NES), Ninja Spirit, the Revenge of Shinobi (Genesis), Shadow Dancer (arcade), Shadow Dancer (Genesis), Shinobi III (Genesis), Shadow of the Ninja (NES), Sengoku 3 (Neo Geo), Shinobi (arcade)

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