Ninja Gaiden (Ninja Ryuukenden in Japan) is an NES video game released in 1989 by Tecmo. While not the first installment in the series (an arcade game of the same name was released prior), it is more widely known than any other before it and was the first in the NES Ninja Gaiden series. The game was eventually ported to the SNES and the Wii's Virtual Console, among other systems not owned by Nintendo. There will also be an arcade version of this game on the Virtual Console.
In all there are a total of six challenging sidescrolling levels that the game's protagonist, Ryu Hayabusa, will have to venture through. The character has a simple life bar which is at all times displayed at the top right of the screen along with the enemies' bar as well (if Ryu is battling one). Among other things seen up here is the level, score and timer. At the end of every act the player will be required to battle a boss, with six in all.
Ninja Gaiden graced the cover of volume 5 of Nintendo Power magazine in 1989 and was present in various forms in subsequent issues in the Counselor's Corner and Howard & Nester comics. Various sequels have been released on a multitude of consoles, and it's not uncommon to have Ninja Gaiden present in "top 100" or "200" video game lists - In Nintendo Power's top 200 games of all time list, Ninja Gaiden placed an astonising #89/200 - no easy feat for a list of triple A titles.