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Ryu Hayabusa is the last survivor of the Dragon Ninja clan and has been working with the CIA on several ultra sensitive missions. His previous exploits are documented in Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden II for the NES. Now his CIA contact, Irene Lew, has been brutally murdered, and witnesses have fingered him as the killer. Now Ryu must evade the authorities while retracing Irene's trail to find out who was responsible.
Starting with three lives and five continues, players must guide Ryu through several stages of enemies on his way to the end of the game. Most enemies can be dispatched with one hit, but boss characters have a life bar and require multiple hits to kill. Ryu himself can take a number of hits before losing a life.
Besides his sword, Ryu also has a variety of special ninja weapons available to him if he has enough power. These weapons can be picked up by hitting the power-up orbs hovering in midair, and are powered by other orbs. In addition to his offensive abilities, Ryu can jump and climb vertical walls. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide