Ninja Gaiden II (cancelled Neo-Geo game; 1994)

Ninja Gaiden II (Neo-Geo)
Promotional flyer of the game
Promotional flyer of the game
Status Lost

Ninja Gaiden II was a cancelled arcade game planned for the Neo Geo system. Various sources reported Tecmo had location-tested the game in a Tokyo arcade[1] (specifically, "Conan" from the Ochanomizu neighbourhood) during the summer of 1994. The game was conceived as a sequel to the 1986 arcade game and thus was a side-scrolling beat'em up rather than an action platformer like the better-known NES games.

Due to its lack of media and obscurity, some members of the Neo Geo community initially speculated reports of Ninja Gaiden II may have been actually for Ganryu, a ninja-themed action game for the system which was tested in 1994 but only released in 1999[2], or Karate Ninja Sho, another cancelled ninja-themed beat'em up for the NeoGeo. However, this died down when other sources were found confirming the existence of the game, and video game composer Takuya Hanaoka listed six tracks from the game on his online resume[3]

A comment on the Japanese blog Migzou Blog in 2007[4] by a purported Tecmo employee reveals some more details about the game. According to the comment, the game had a "completely opposite" feel from the first arcade Ninja Gaiden and featured three playable characters: a redesigned Ryu Hayabusa (now sporting a "leather jacket" and "swords attached to his hips"; the commenter described him as looking similar to Hayato from the arcade game Dragoon Might), an idol singer similar to MaoMao from the Aero Fighter series, and a macho military man. The game was poorly received by players due to its unbalanced difficulty; more specifically the high amount of damage dealt by enemies and was cancelled as a result. The comment expresses confusion at the fact Ninja Gaiden II was cancelled while Eight Forces, an arcade shooter by Tecmo which also tested poorly, nevertheless made it to the market[5].

In a post made on August 30, 2013, at the arcade gaming forum Gamegengai, arcade game archivist Shoutime said he had spoken with a Tecmo employee, who told him the location test build of Ninja Gaiden II was backed-up on media only accessible with a PC-88 computer[6]. Shou later posted that he was unable to dump the game as he hadn't got the chance to speak with his contact again and that he was now in the US.

On June 8 2017, Twitter user ShiN25548268 posted a promotional flyer he found of the game[7].


  5. Translation of the comment by user Shito



Anonymous user #1

9 months ago
Score 0++

"The game was poorly received by players due to its unbalanced difficulty; more specifically the high amount of damage dealt by enemies, and was cancelled as a result."

Ironic that the series would eventually become revered for its artificial difficulty. A very interesting find all the same.

Anonymous user #2

4 months ago
Score 0++

First off, thank you very much to everybody involved in getting the flyer posted so that we can get an impression of what the game may of been. I, for one, am a huge fan of the original arcade game and loved the vivid scenery and quirks the game provided.

This version looks like 3 characters from a Neo Geo 1 on 1 beat em up got together to move from left to right and beat car salesmen up. I'm showing 2 the enemies in one of the screenshot is wearing a red suit and one wearing blue jeans and a yellow shirt with suspenders, they appear to be graphic swaps as they have the same sprite. Was this going to be Ninja Gaiden 2's version of the Jason Vorhees clones?

As for Ryu himself- this is the most radically different Ryu Hayabusa I've ever seen. Is that 2 swords he's holding? In Ninja Gaiden 1, the complaint was he had a sword, but never used it. Now he has 2 swords and they're on his hips. Obviously, the 2 other characters were intended to be named Rash and Ran. Wait..Rash- Rash, as in Battletoads Rash? The graphics appear colorful and detailed- similar to most Neo Geo (and Arcade) game of the mid 1990's.

Difficulty not withstanding, it's a shame the game was never released. The Ninja Gaiden name alone would of attracted people to give it a chance. To me, this is one of those games that you would of needed to release in limited quantities. This was not uncommon in the mid 1990's. games on SNES and even the Saturn had very limited releases in America. As I mentioned above, I loved the arcade version- but I understand I'm in the minority on this one. Still, there would of been an audience for it. There do exist other people who would of paid for it, not many, but worth it to pursue.

We'll never know what this game could of been, but at least we have a concept of what the intent was. I guess the only other question that will forever go unnoticed is the Continue Screen, wonder what it would of been. Th


Anonymous user #3

4 months ago
Score 0++

From the translations I've got from neogeo forum member "BlackaneseNinja", it's implied that the Ryu we see on this game may or may NOT be the Ryu Hayabusa we know. Rash is a Football player similar to Max J from world heroes, and Ran looks suspiciously similar to Carol Stanzack, from Savage Reign, but with a different haircut. Speaking of which, give Rash an USA flag motif, an axe to grind and voila. There's Eagle from Savage Reign (No, not the mustached twin stick fighter from Capcom, nor the ninja superhero from Tatsunoko). And there's a bit more in that regard: Rosa, from Kizuna Encounter, has a bit of that Ryu vibes on her design, up to the katana, the red shirt and blue bottom parts, a similar haircut... I'm sure SNK took ideas from this game to a LOT of assets that eventually came to be Max Eagle and Carol Stanzack - not to mention a similar, colorful and somewhat superhero-esque aesthetic to both SR and Kizuna Encounter.

What could this be? Perhaps, something different from the NES trilogy, the unreleased Mega Drive version and the Master System game. Something more "Super Hero Style", like Battle Circuit. The style is too colorful, and a bit more light-hearted.
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