This is perhaps one of the most under-rated and overlooked games for the GBA. It is without parallel the swiftest moving action gave worthy of the title "ninja" within its appellation. No need for Pulitzer storyline or garish cut scenes, this game delivers precisely ninja action with addictive simplicity and speed with its hawkish grappling hook, enticing music and razing swordplay.
Hearkening back to the original ninja game, Shinobi, wherein you play a cool footed ninja who rescues baby hostages, Ninja employs the same system of rescue (of adults, this time) within labyrinthine settings. There is thankfully no one way of assault to rescue hostages, insuring welcomed alteration to the intransigence of usual one-way hack n' slash in the same genre.
Notwithstanding the tantalizing fighter's atmosphere skillfully designed by its programmers, the substantial improvement of shurikan powers, movement and sword capabilities, the winning element is by far the sinewy grappling hook. Very similar in role to the bionic arm of NES's Bionic Commando but greatly updated, the grappling hook of this game just feels so much better with physics; your player isn't just meaninglessly swinging back and forth but like a gymnast sets himself up for amazing feats. It is this flow of motion that allows your character to implement either a surprise ambush or frontal assault onto the enemy. If it weren't for the ninja, the grappling hook would be the protagonist of the game, for its use is ubiquitous in the game.
The only drawback is the invariable ninjitsu which replicates the mass onslaught of hundreds of ninjas on the screen from the original Shinobi, except here it is only executed with only the one ninja's alacritous sweep around the screen killing every enemy in sight. While the bosses no doubt are capable of much more diverse and seasonal ninja magic, it would have been better to equip the ninja with a more elemental assortment of fail-safe demolition. Even so, the favoritism of the grappling hook excuses all faults in this game.