This is a list of video game characters in the Ninja Gaiden (series), covering primarily the original trilogy for the NES and the Xbox game following the trilogy.

Ryu Hayabusa[]

Main article: Ryu Hayabusa

Ryu is the protagonist of Ninja Gaiden. He is known as the Solidary Super Ninja. Ryu is a descendant of the Dragon lineage and young member of the Hayabusa Ninja clan, whose duty is to uphold peace and battle evil. His father, Ken Hayabusa, is the leader of the clan, and has entrusted Ryu with the Dragon Sword, an ancient sword that has been passed down through generations of clan leaders.

The NES trilogy[]

Irene Lew[]

Irene Lew (アイリーン・ルゥ?), also spelled Irene Liu and Aileen, is the heroine of the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy, serving as Ryu's romantic interest, as well as the series' damsel in distress. She is an agent of the Secret Auxiliary Unit of the CIA, working under the codename of Sea Swallow.

In the first Ninja Gaiden, she aids Ryu during his battle against the Demon Clan, only to be taken captive by the Jaquio. Ryu rescues her and the two fall in love with each other. Thus, Irene disobeys her final duty to kill Ryu. In Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, she is captured by Ashtar during a top secret mission. Irene is rescued by Ryu, only to be taken captive again by the Jaquio. This time, Jaquio sacrifices himself and Irene to revive the Demon God. She is later restored to life, but at the cost of the Dragon Sword. In Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom (which is set between the first two games in the series), Irene is attacked by a man who appears to be Ryu (actually a doppelganger) while investigating a secret lab and is presumed dead after she falls off a cliff and into the ocean. She is later revealed to have survived the attack and helps the real Ryu foil Foster's and Clancy's plot.

She is mentioned by name in Ryu's backstory in the Dead or Alive series and appears in the Ninja Ryukenden anime OVA.

Ken Hayabusa[]

Ken Hayabusa, named Jô Hayabusa (ジョウ・ハヤブサ?) in the Japanese version, is Ryu's father and appears only in the first game of the NES trilogy. At the beginning of the story, he sets out for a duel and leaves behind his family heirloom to his son. Presumed dead during his battle with Bloody Malth, he is later revealed to be alive and under the Jaquio's control under the guise of the Masked Devil. Ken manages to break free of the spell thanks to Ryu, only to be killed by taking one of Jaquio's energy bolts aimed at his son. He is mentioned by his Japanese name in the Xbox revival of the series, although it is never established whether the game is a prequel to the original trilogy or a reboot.


The Jaquio (邪鬼王 Jakiō?, lit. "Wicked Devil King"), also known as Guardia de mieux, is the leader of the Demon Clan and serves as the antagonist of the first two games in the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy. His title is translated as the Devildoer in the English translation featured in the PC Engine version of the first game.

In the original Ninja Gaiden, he seeks to acquire the two Demon Statues containing the soul of the evil god the Demon Clan worshipped. Ryu defeats both, the Jaquio and the Demon in the end of the game. After being presumed dead, he reappears near the end of Ninja Gaiden II and takes Irene Lew captive to lure Ryu into one final battle. Ryu defeats him, but not before Jaquio uses himself and Irene as sacrifices to revive the Demon once again.

Bloody Malth[]

Bloody Malth is the powerful leader of the Malice Four, and is the warrior Ken Hayabusa duels in the opening of the first Ninja Gaiden. As Jaquio's right-hand man, he traps Ryu at a cliff of the Place of Red Execution, by sneaking up from behind. Armed with the "Mask of Blood" and "Shield of Death", he has the fearsome ability to summon lightning from the sky, and uses it to attack Ryu. With his dying breath, he tells Ryu that his father, Ken Hayabusa, did not die, and that if Ryu proceeds further he will see him. Ryu believes that Malth is lying, but he knows that he must continue on to discover the truth.

Walter Smith[]

Walter Smith, who makes his only appearance in the original NES Ninja Gaiden, is an archeologist friend of Ken Hayabusa. During the game, Ryu is told to seek Walter Smith after he is given the Demon Statue of Shadow. He eventually finds Walter Smith, who explains the legend of the two Demon Statues and Ryu's Dragon Sword. However, when Ryu later returns to Smith's cabin after recovering the Shadow Statue from a would-be thief, he finds a mortally wounded Smith who reveals that the Demon Clan has stolen the "Light Statue" that he secretly possessed. It is never made clear whether Smith was actually killed by the Demon Clan or the CIA agents that were already in Smith's cabin when he died.


A. Foster is the chief of the CIA's Secret Auxiliary Unit and Irene's boss. In the events of the NES Ninja Gaiden he seeks Ryu's help to defeat the Demon Clan and retrieve the Demon Statues after Walter Smith is murdered. However, he later reveals his true intentions when he orders Irene to kill Ryu after Jaquio is defeated (which Irene declines). He returns in Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom as the conspirator behind Project BIO-HAZARD and is the one who ordered Ryu's Doppelganger to attack Irene. He is later betrayed and killed by his co-worker, Clancy.

Robert T. S.[]

Robert T. S., also known as Jungle Rat Robert, is a U.S. Army Special Forces operative who aids Ryu during the events of Ninja Gaiden II. Prior to the events of the game, Robert was helping Irene in her investigation on Ashtar's activities. When Irene is taken captive, he informs Ryu of her whereabouts and follows Ryu into the Tower of Lahja and later into the Maze of Darkness. After Ashtar is defeated, he escorts Irene while Ryu sets out to a nearby altar, only to be attacked by the Jaquio. An injured Robert informs Ryu of Irene's capture and sets to distract the enemy while Ryu sets out to fight Jaquio. Although heavily injured during battle, it is never made clear whether Robert was killed by the demons or survived. Whatever the case may be in the game series canon, Robert makes a return in the anime OVA based on the video game series, again working in co-operation with Ryu in his battle against evil. The Ninja Gaiden II: Nintendo Power Strategy Guide gives Robert's family name as Sturgeon [1].


Ashtar, the self-proclaimed Emperor of Darkness, serves as the prime antagonist of Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos and appears to have served as the mastermind behind the events of the first game. He is the leader member of a demonic tribe from the world of Chaos and appears to be old enough to have seen the creation of Ryu's Dragon Sword. He wields the titular Dark Sword of Chaos, which he says he grew from the bone of the Demon, prior to its defeat at the hands of Shinobi. Ashtar kidnaps Irene and lures Ryu into the World of Chaos, his home dimension.

H. P. Clancy[]

Clancy is a mysterious young man who works closely with Foster during the events of Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom.Both men are responsible for building Castle Rock Fortress, over the ruins of Jaquio's fallen temple. After the Demon died, an open seam between dimensions began to leak a continuous supply of Life Energy within the ruins. When Clancy and Foster discovered this, they had the fortress built, so the Life Energy could be harvested as an energy source, and could be used on humans for experiments. He soon betrays Foster, and uses both Ryu and Irene to gain full control of Castle Rock Fortress. Clancy soon reveals that there is a dimensional warship inside the ruins, which he intends to use to destroy the world, and reshape it as he sees fit. He expresses hatred toward humanity, and their warlike tendencies.

The Doppelganger[]

The Doppelganger is a BIO-NOID, created and ordered by Foster to assassinate Irene, and frame Ryu. When he first appears before Ryu with his likeness at the perimeters of Castle Rock Fortess, he simply taunts and defeats him. He is later confronted as the boss of Act V.

Xbox game[]


Rachel is a Vigoorian Fiend Hunter, She is continually searching for her sister Alma, who was turned into a fiend by Doku. Like her sister, Rachel possesses genes that give her abnormal strength at the expense of making her susceptible to becoming a fiend. She can sense where fiends are. Rachel`s weapons are, a massive green War Hammer, a rapier, and rope. Rachel became a Fiend Hunter to kill her corrupted twin sister Alma. However she couldn't go through with it because Greater Fiends retain their souls even after transforming and her sister seemed to be important for her.


A young female ninja and a playable fighter from the Dead or Alive series. She is a subordinate and spy of Murai, and refers to Ryu Hayabusa as 'Master Ryu'. Throughout a major portion of Ryu's mission, Ayane assists him from the shadows, gathering information for him by the art of espionage.


Alma is the sister of Rachel and a boss character. She is under the curse of the Fiend, turned into a powerful monster by Doku, the Lord of the Greater Fiends. While initially hostile towards Ryu, she later turns against the Fiend lord, taking a blow from Doku's sword in order to save Rachel's life.


Doku is the main antagonist in Ninja Gaiden for Xbox. He is famous for his attack on the Hayabusa village. He is the lord of the fiends and serves the holy Vigoor Emperor. Wields the ancient cursed sword, Kitetsu. After defeated by Hayabusa, he becomes a blue evil spirit and later on, he was defeated again but before he dies, he bestows a curse upon Ryu.


The leader of the Shadow Clan, a clan supposively allied with that of the Hayabusa. He's also Ryu's uncle. While Ryu prepares for his vendetta, he informs Ryu of the identity of the invaders who are responsible for the attack on the Hayabusa Village. In the end of the game, he is revealed to having been the sole conspirator behind the whole ordeal, and claims the now empowered Dark Dragon Blade as his own. Ryu defeats him, and he plummets down to the caverns below.


A spy agent with a green coat and hat and eyeglasses, Ryu meets him in Han's Bar. Throughout the game, he observes Ryu's battle with his enemies. He knows very much about Rachel and the Dark Dragon Blade. In Ninja Gaiden Sigma, he fights Ryu with twin pistols. He is killed by his own client, the Dark Disciple.

Dark Disciple[]

A client of Gamov with black hat, mask and long robe and his voice is device-altered; hiding his true identity. In level 10, Ryu sees him standing on a tower and the Dark Disciple sees him back. His motive is to capture the Dark Dragon Blade, which its power increases as Ryu fights off his enemies. In the final level, he kills Gamov and reveals himself as Murai.


A Greater Fiend and the protector of the holy Vigoor Emperor. He tries to prevent Ryu from proceeding to the emperor by sending out several minions for him to fight. After Ryu overcomes the odds, Marbus takes him on personally and he too is defeated.


An ancient Greater Fiend and one of Marbus' minions. Her attacks are similar to those of Alma, only this time, hers are more powerful and dangerous. Unlike Alma, she doesn't have an orb implanted on her stomach. She's one of the two main bosses in Eternal Legend.


An ancient Greater Fiend and one of Marbus' minions. She has a whip for an arm, no eyes, blue skin and stripper boots. In Eternal Legend, she is the final main boss.

Joe Hayabusa[]

Ryu's father. He is mentioned while Ryu and Murai talk but he himself never appears in any part of the game.


One of the protectors of the Hayabusa Village. She knows Ryu very well since childhood. She is killed by Doku when the village is under siege. She has the Dragon Eye, a jewel carved out from an eye of a dragon. On her grave, the jewel is placed and when Ryu comes to the graveyard, he takes it and fitted it underneath his sword. After the credit rolls, a CG scene is revealed, showing Ryu placing the jewel back to her grave.


A great and well-renowed blacksmith, he traveled all over the world. He helps Ryu by strengthening his weapons, giving health, Ki and projectile items and power ups in exchange of essences. As for the Golden Scarabs, he rewards him depending on how many scarabs he gathers. Eventually, he informs Ryu about the Fiend Realm. He also informs him that the Dragon Sword's power can be maximized with the Dragon Eye.

Vigoor Emperor[]

The Emperor of the Vigoor Empire. He sends Doku and his minions to steal the Dark Dragon Blade from the Hayabusa Ninja Clan. In a CG scene near the end of the game, Ryu sees a statue of the emperor with the evil blade floating above its head. Suddenly, the statue comes to life. Ryu uses a platform-floating technique to get close to the Emperor's upper torso. Ryu defeats it but its body parts drop down into lava and it rises again in a form made of many skulls. Ryu defeats it again and for good, removing the curse he received from Doku.

Ryu Doppleganger[]

A human-shaped doppleganger fiend who can assume and copy the abilities of a warrior with its eyes. It can perform almost all of Hayabusa's moves including his melee and projectile attacks, wall techniques and even ninpo attacks. There are two appearance of it. The first one has magma-like skin, white lifeless eyes, a fiendish forehead protector and golden blades on each of its forearms. The second one has a dark dragon skin, red scarf, eyes and gaunlets, kunais around its red belt, dark, shiny forehead protector and its appearance almost resembles Hotsuma of Shinobi. The second one can only be seen if Ryu's wearing the first one's appearance and facing it in a battle. Ryu faces it several times in Hard, Very Hard and Master Ninja Mode of Ninja Gaiden Black.

Helena Douglas[]

Another female character and fighter from Dead or Alive, she is rumored to be appeared in Ninja Gaiden 2 but this has yet to be confirmed. Other DOA characters like Hayate, Kasumi and Ayane (second time) are rumored to appear as well.

Ninja Gaiden video games

Ninja Gaiden (arcade) • Ninja Gaiden (NES) • II • III • Trilogy 
Ninja Gaiden (Xbox) • Ninja Gaiden Sigma • Ninja Gaiden 2 (Next-Generation) • Dead or Alive
Ninja Gaiden Shadow • Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword
List of Ninja Gaiden characters