Ninja Gaiden Shadow (Game Boy) Playthrough - NintendoComplete -

Ninja Gaiden Shadow (Game Boy) Playthrough – NintendoComplete

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A playthrough of Tecmo’s 1991 platformer for the Nintendo Game Boy, Ninja Gaiden Shadow.

Tecmo’s line of ninja action games for the NES was excellent. Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden II are both widely regarded as some of the best games of their type for the system, and they deserve to be.

Given their success on the NES, it’s pretty surprising that it took Tecmo well over a year to get a Ninja Gaiden-branded game onto Nintendo’s portable. Even more surprising, at least for me at the time, was that Ninja Gaiden Shadow wasn’t originally a Ninja Gaiden game at all, nor was it even created by Tecmo.

In the early 1990s, developer Natsume was starting to garner some attention with their fantastic NES line-up. They were the creative force behind cult-classics like Shatterhand, SCAT, Abadox, Dragon Fighter, and Shadow of the Ninja.

Instead of developing a Game Boy game themselves, Tecmo secured the rights to Natsume’s handheld adaptation of Shadow of the Ninja. They changed the title, added in a couple of Ninja Gaiden tunes, and lo and behold… Ninja Gaiden Shadow.

Even though the core game is completely unrelated to Ninja Gaiden, it is an excellent representation of Natsume’s NES work. The graphics are sharp, even on the blurry green Game Boy screen, and there is even some impressive parallax scrolling going on. And check out that wavy water effect on the aquariums in the office walls! The soundtrack will be familiar to anyone who has played Shadow of the Ninja or the Ninja Gaiden games, and these GB remixes are excellent – some actually sound better than their originals!

It plays well, too. The controls are smooth and quick-to-respond, and the level designs take into account both the slow refresh rate and the low resolution of the Game Boy’s LCD panel. The play field isn’t overly-crowded, you can always see things far enough ahead for it to feel fair in what it throws at you, and the screen scrolls quickly without the sprites turning into unrecognizable smears.

More developers should’ve have taken a page from Natsume’s playbook here. Ninja Gaiden Shadow is a shining example of how to move a game from the NES to the Game Boy without making it feel compromised. (But I do wonder why is a boss from Shatterhand randomly put in here?)

It might not feel like Ninja Gaiden, but give it a couple minutes and you’ll be enjoying it too much to care. Ninja Gaiden Shadow is one of those rare platformers that got everything right. Gaming Rewind: Play Gunstar Heroes Online. A Blast from the Past! Take a trip down memory lane and play seven force online. Rediscover the thrill of cooperative gameplay and intense battles.

If you’d like to see Shadow of the Ninja, you can find my playthrough of it here:

And though it’s not technically a sequel, there was a related game by the name of Return of the Ninja for the Game Boy Color. You can find my video of that one right here:

*Recorded using Retroarch’s DMG shader for that crispy dot-matrix look!
No cheats were used during the recording of this video.

NintendoComplete () punches you in the face with in-depth reviews, screenshot archives, and music from classic 8-bit NES games!


  1. I am pretty curious to see a character swap of shadow of the ninja what difference it will have.

  2. Respect to you for playing retro games. I never knew ninja gaiden was made for gameboy too.

  3. Stage 3 music sounds like it could be "You spin me right round"

  4. I missed out on this. I need track down a copy.

  5. It sucks this wasn't on the 3DS eShop. But it's a great game.

  6. Я тоже прохожу ретро игры, кому интересно заходите ко мне))

  7. Shadow of the Ninja became a Ninja Gaiden entry when brought to the USA and Europe? Sounds like another Doki Doki Panic to Super Mario Bros. 2 scenario.

  8. 1:20 SilvaGunner would make Megalovania out of that track

  9. I guess if it ain't broke don't fix it. Or rather in this case take another company's pre-existing game, port it to a portable system, change a few graphics, add some killer tunes, something something, profit. At least this was made by old Tecmo back when they cared about making fun games and not excessive amounts of SEX and way too many microtransactions to a point that even EA would blush. Just because your on the toilet or on the go why shouldn't you get your Ninja Gaiden fix?

  10. I love ninja gaiden on the nes. Wish they could've redone the flaws in a retro revival or had more to offer like easy medium hard and expert mode.

  11. the only ninja gaiden game I've ever beaten

  12. got this when it came out its one of the early greats with awesome music like motocross maniacs, battletoads, fall of the foot clan, batman, and yes castlevania: the adventure!

  13. You can tell this was originally gonna be a GB version of the NES game Shadow of the Ninja. This was developed by Natsume too. Tecmo just slapped the Ninja Gaiden name on this.

  14. Mmm that's strange. This is an adaptation of "Blue Shadow" /"Shadow of the Ninja" from the NES game (same music for example) but with the "Ninja Gaiden" title. I'm curious about the creation of this game…

  15. I have this on cartridge, it was cool but way too easy

  16. Que buenos recuerdos….. Música, gráficos, jugabilidad…. Era un juego redondo. Gracias por dejarme verlo otra Vez

  17. Extraordinary music by limited technology back then , that’s the definition of miracle

  18. This game is still awesome
    WE need to save the world from CORONA 😂

  19. Even to this day, I still really like Natsume's NES/Game Boy and SNES soundfonts.

  20. Que mierda de consola y oye que bien se ve 😥

  21. Hello! Retroarch? Shader? How? please. Good job.

  22. @9:42 there is a secret room using the vertical grapple. The tile shading is the giveaway. A potion or ninpo refill, I forget exactly…

  23. hubiese preferido que este juego se hubiese mantenido como lo que en un principio fue una adaptación de shadow of the ninja para game boy

  24. esse vídeo é uma obra de arte 😲

  25. It reuses sound effects from Shadow of the Ninja, which makes sense since it was made by natsume, shadow of the Ninja kind of reminds me of Ninja Gaiden

  26. Best intro in GB for sure.
    And what a soundtrack!!

  27. another one of Natsume's great creations on the Game Boy, aside from Tail Gator and Lucky Monkey.

  28. Intro – Ninja Gaiden 2 Introduction
    Stage 3 – Unbreakable Determination (Basilisk Mine)
    Stage 5 – Inverted Catwalk (Aproaching Castle Rock Entrance)
    Boss – Ninja Gaiden 1 Battle
    Final Boss – Shadow of the Ninja Garuda Battle

  29. Goosebumps my childhood flashed infront of my eyes .. I am tearing right now

  30. Ryu Hayabusa's Ninja Quest Begins In Ninja Gaiden Shadow, The Prequel To The Ninja Gaiden Trilogy For Your Nintendo Game Boy From Tecmo!


  32. how can i play this on pc or mobile systems

  33. Hey could you please tell me the emulator you use? I'm trying to find a good one with this DMG green shader, thanks.

  34. I remember this bad ass Gameboy game.. I even wear the cut off sleeve shirt with same cover art.

  35. A metroidvania style ninja gaiden 2 d game would be cool!

  36. I didn't know there was a Ninja Gaiden game for the original Game Boy!


  38. I like how that tecmo didnt know what to do in the introduction that they just put ninja gaiden 2 on nes prologue theme

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