Ninja Gaiden (book)

From TheAlmightyGuru
Jump to: navigation, search
Ninja Gaiden

Worlds of Power - Ninja Gaiden - Mass Market - USA - 1st Edition.jpg

Mass market - USA - 1st edition.

Author Peter Lerangis
Published 1990-07-??
Type Fiction, Novelization
Genre Science Fiction
Themes Adventure, Action, Ninjas
Age Group Children

Ninja Gaiden is a young adult novelization of the NES video game Ninja Gaiden published by Scholastic in July of 1990. It is the third book in the Worlds of Power series, and, like all books in the series, it is attributed to "F. X. Nine." The internal text lists the author as "A. L. Singer," which is a pen name for Peter Lerangis.

In the book, Ryu Hayabusa is a young gifted ninja who, on the day of receiving his black belt from his ninja teachers, also learns about his father's death. His father, a black belt ninja, but also a doctor of archeology, discovered ancient Japanese statues in the jungles of Peru left there 700 years ago by the legendary ninja Shinobi. A tablet at the site warns that if the statues are ever brought together in a distant temple, at a specific time which only happens once every 700 years, the great evil defeated by Shinobi will be resurrected. Ryu's father was killed trying to recover the statues, and, now, Ryu must find them and prevent the great evil from being brought back into this world.


Own?Mass-market, USA, 2nd edition.
Read?Mass-market, USA, 2nd edition.

As a child, the only Worlds of Power book I owned was Blaster Master. However, as an adult, I wanted to read more of these extremely hokey video game books, so I bought several others in 2007. Since I bought several at once, I'm not sure if I read at the time. If I did, I had no memory of it when I read it later. I found this book to be just as ridiculous.




— This section contains spoilers! —


  • All the major plot points from the game's story are in tact in the book. There are some additional characters, dialogue, and scenes, and things are a little out of chronology, but all the main points remain. This was probably due to the game having a pretty complete built-in story.
  • Despite the ridiculous subject matter, the book is competently written.
  • The book mentions various forms of Japanese terminology and culture, including tabi boots, straw mats, ginkgo trees, shurikens, etc.


  • Like much of children's media in the early 1990s, ninja are not described as being ruthless mercenaries practicing in espionage, but rather openly-accepted martial arts students who go to ninja training camps and love their mommies.
  • Most of the violence of the game has been censored. Ryu never kills anyone, he destroys mechanical robots and slays phantoms which disappear when they're stabbed. Walter Smith is only injured, even Ryu's father somehow survives the entire temple collapsing around him.
  • The CIA is so inept that they accidentally give a random person an artifact that can destroy the world instead of the fake they were supposed to use. Seems legit. Of course, I guess this is better than in the game's story line where they purposely give Ryu the real one to take with him to the temple!
  • The game mentions that Ken Hayabusa, Ryu's father, went along with Dr. Walter Smith on a archeological dig, but, in the book, Ken isn't just a black belt ninja, but also doctor of archeology himself! Talk about your Renaissance man!
  • The recreated cover art was mildly censored.
  • Ryu just walks around wherever he goes in full ninja costume with his sword on display, and can't understand why security guards don't like him.
  • Ryu's ninja powers don't fit with how I envision them from the game. The author appears to have taken a line from the manual which describes the fire-wheel as being activated by Ryu's anger, and extrapolated that the other ninja arts are acts of pure will rather than devices. The fire wheel also uses Ryu's energy, and a new art of invisibility was created for the book (and incorrectly described with the Chinese chi). The book also includes the time stop which certainly doesn't fit in the world.
  • The author mistranslates the Japanese word gaiden to describe a letter left to Ryu Hayabusa by his father. However, the real definition of gaiden is more akin to "side-story."


  • The hints in the book are useless. They're about as helpful as, "Pro-Tip: Shoot at the cyberdemon until it dies."


Although the cover art looks very similar to the video game, it was actually completely repainted for this book. Most likely, Scholastic couldn't secure the rights from Tecmo. The remake doesn't have as much detail as the original and removes Ryu's dagger from his hand to make it more acceptable for kids.


Strong female character?Pass
Bechdel test?Fail
Strong person of color character?Pass
Queer character?Fail