The game’s story involves a small and mysterious island called Kasumi Island (which is believed to have produced the world’s most powerful Ninjas). When one of the Elders, Gyaku, has killed the others and become the evil Lord of the island, it’s up to the titular ninjas (Habaki and Senzo) to harness the power of six other warriors and challenge Gyaku.
It is one of the first games to feature a parental lockout system, allowing parents to limit the amount of violence displayed. It is also known for its unique character selection screen, where each player moves around a small temple in first-person perspective.
- Habaki – The elder yellow-garbed brother of the ninjas trained in the island of Kasumi, Habaki was trained from birth under elder ninja Kaioh as a guardian of the Netherworld portal. In the single-player mode, only he and Senzo are playable from the start.
- Senzo – The younger green-garbed brother of the ninjas trained in the island of Kasumi and a palette-swap of Habaki. Senzo was trained from birth under elder ninja Hiei as a guardian of the Netherworld portal. In the single-player mode, only he and Habaki are playable from the start.
- Chagi Nelson – A world-famous kickboxing champion determined to prove himself the greatest fighter in the world.
- Pakawa – A large Native American chief who trained a league of elite stealthy Comanche warriors named the Tu-Wee-Kah.
- Thundra – A scantily-clad warrior queen from a lost Amazonian tribe who has sworn to protect the rainforest.
- Alaric – Loosely based on the first King of the Visigoths, Alaric is the strongest warrior of the ancient Goth tribe, which terrorized northern Europe for centuries.
- Danja Ureda – An American martial artist vigilante who takes to the city shadows to beat down criminals at night, while also fighting crime as an assistant district attorney during the day.
- Angus McGreggor – An eccentric Scottish blacksmith who fights in his people’s customary tartan kilt and loves to brawl.
- Gyaku – The self-proclaimed Lord of Kasumi Island and an elder ninja possessed by the most powerful demon in the Netherworld, Gyaku is a grey palette-swap of Habaki and Senzo. He is the game’s final boss and cannot be fought on the Easy difficulty. By defeating him on Hard or Ninja God difficulties without a finishing move, he transforms into the demon that possessed him as the game’s true final boss. Both forms can be unlocked for play with a cheat code.