Ninja Five-O GBA: Exploring the Shadows of Game Boy Advance"

Ninja Five-O GBA

It's not unusual for a game's inherent appeal to surpass its commercial success. In the annals of video game history, numerous popular titles now command exorbitant prices in the used market—EarthBound and the original Shantae stand out as notorious examples. However, a rare combination of scarcity and widespread acclaim is found in Ninja Cop. Known as Ninja Five-O in North America, this game is widely regarded as one of the finest in the GBA library and has evolved into a highly coveted collectible since its initial release.

  1. Ninja Five-O GBA
  2. Levels
  3. Gameplay of Ninja Five-O
  4. Ninja Five-0 Bezel
  5. Graphics
  6. In Conclusion

Ninja Five-O GBA

This is a side-scrolling action game developed by Hudson Soft. Players step into the shoes of Joe Osugi, an agent assigned to halt a dangerous gang wreaking havoc in the community. In the initial stages of the game, you'll encounter a series of commonplace mobs, but before long, you'll be facing some peculiar enemies, including a giant frog mounted by a ninja.

The objective in Ninja Five-O is to navigate each stage, locate the exit, take down gang members, and rescue hostages along the way. Joe boasts an extensive array of moves, featuring ninja stars, knife attacks, and an assortment of special moves and power-ups, including a clever laser gun. One particularly noteworthy aspect is the grappling mechanism borrowed from Bionic Commando on the NES.

Armed with a reliable grappling hook, you'll need to traverse each stage. It adds a unique and enjoyable twist to the game, setting it apart from conventional side-scrolling titles. The controls are responsive and gratifying to master; eventually, you'll find yourself effortlessly swinging, sliding, and breezing through levels like a seasoned ninja.


The levels aren't overly linear, requiring some exploration. Various keys are scattered throughout each stage, crucial for progressing. While backtracking may be necessary, it's never frustrating. Notably, enemies don't respawn, making most rooms challenging only the first time. The challenge isn't about skill but patience; success comes from understanding each room's design and choosing the most efficient route. It's wise to leave health points and upgrades for potential future needs.

Overall, the level design is sleek, striking a good balance between combat and platforming. Enemy designs are fair, and the non-linear approach lets you decide when to face the more demanding sections.

The game comprises five missions set in diverse city locations. Each mission consists of three stages, concluding with a boss battle against one of the four evil ninja masters. The fights are compelling, featuring a well-designed mix of action and can prove quite challenging, particularly if you missed any benefits from the previous level.

Gameplay of Ninja Five-O

Fortunately, lives are unlimited, allowing you to approach each stage as you wish. The game automatically saves progress upon completing a stage, ensuring a stress-free experience. However, a somewhat frustrating design choice is that your HP meter doesn't fully replenish between stages. If you end a stage with minimal health, the next section can pose a bit of a challenge.

Ninja Five-O is relatively short and can be completed in 3 to 5 hours, depending on your skill level, yet it offers substantial replay value. The scoring system rates your performance based on enemies killed, hostages rescued, and more, providing a compelling incentive for replay. Additionally, there's a time trial mode for those who prefer the thrill of speed over chasing high scores. Undoubtedly, it's a enjoyable game to revisit from time to time.

Ninja Five-0 Bezel

You can download the game's bezel or overlay by clicking here.


While the graphics in Ninja Five-O are deemed acceptable, they tend to lean towards the tedious side. The environments exhibit detail but suffer from monotony, and enemy designs, barring the major bosses, lack creativity. The situation might not be as dire if the protagonist had more personality. The developers had the opportunity to infuse more creativity into the concept of a Ninja Police, but unfortunately, it ended up feeling rather generic. Without a distinctive protagonist, the game struggles to establish a strong identity, which could be one of the reasons why it went overlooked upon its original release.

In Conclusion

It's regrettable that Ninja Five-O didn't receive wider recognition. Despite a few potential complaints, it stands out as a remarkable game, featuring a well-balanced difficulty curve and outstanding level design. The game presents a distinctive combination of wild grappling hook maneuvers and strategic combat that remains engaging even today. Whether you're a fan of 16-bit action games or simply aiming to enhance your GBA collection with something enjoyable, Ninja Five-O comes highly recommended.

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