Mark of the Ninja consists of stealth oriented 2D platforming. The character is required to sneak through a series of environments while staying out of sight of guards and performing silent takedowns. Levels are divided into areas of light and darkness; the player character is invisible while in the latter. Sounds such as running may also give away the player character's location and are represented visually by a rapidly expanding circle. Unusual for a platformer, Mark of the Ninja employs a line of sight mechanic, meaning that enemies which would be invisible to the character are also invisible to the player, though their sounds are represented on screen in the same manner as the player character's.... More Info »
By approaching enemies undetected, the player character is able to execute a one-hit kill. To facilitate this, the player can extinguish light sources, hide behind objects and pass through narrow grates and shafts inaccessible to enemies. If detected, they must evade their enemies and remain out of sight for a set period, after which enemies will return to their original positions and one-hit executions will once more be possible. Enemies respond to their environment and one another; they will sound an alarm if they spot the player character or find a body, which will alert all enemies in the area. If they hear a sound or get a glimpse of the player character they become suspicious, displaying a question mark over their head and actively searching for the player character.
The game's story begins with an attack by an armed force on a ninja base. The unnamed main character, passed out after receiving a tattoo, is awakened by a female ninja named Ora. Gathering his equipment, the ninja is able to defeat the soldiers and save his master, Azai, alongside his other companions. Azai tells him about the power of his tattoo and the legend around it, explaining how the ink comes from a special desert flower that grants special skills, but at a cost...