Unless you are continuing, each game begins at 'Mission 1' and will have everything you need to complete each mission. Each level must be completed within 3 minutes, and all hostages must be rescued before you can exit the level. If you are killed, all hostages rescued prior to your death will still be recorded as rescued. In addition to melee attacks, you will also be able to use a specific Ninja Magic attack once per level. These magical attacks kill everything that is on the screen but you will be awarded a point bonus if you manage to complete a level WITHOUT using your Ninja Magic. The three Ninja Magic attacks are :
1) Multiple-Attack Magic : Allows you to gain lightning-fast speed to attack up to 12 times at once.
2) Tornado Magic : Brings about a magical tornado to blow your enemies away.
3) Lightning Magic : Causes the air to crackle with electricity and destroys your enemies.
Some general gameplay guidelines :
1) Joe is strictly a one-hit, one-kill character, so you must avoid all enemy attacks or risk losing a life.
2) As you become more practiced at moving around, you won't have to rely on your distance weapons (throwing stars etc.) and can use your ninja sword for close-up kills; the advantage of this is that you can gain the 20,000 point bonus. This also applies to the use of Ninja Magic.
3) Many of the enemies in the later missions will swarm Joe and attack in numbers, it's vitally important to learn to attack-and-jump as quickly as possible otherwise you will be quickly overrun.
4) Your main goal is, of course, to rescue all the hostages to exit the level; and although three minute time limit initially seems quite generous, should you delay too long with the enemies, the time will quickly run out.
5) It's important to become good at the Challenge Levels, since this is the only way to gain extra lives. The Challenge levels will require you to take out around thirty ninjas who are trying to get to your position. There is no real hard and fast strategy other then take them down before they reach the second platform. Challenge Levels occur at the end of every mission.
6) Ninja Magic is a great thing. You must remember, though, that you can only use it once per level. This means you should only use it when you are totally surrounded by enemies and have no other means of escape.
7) All bosses take eight hits to defeat. Of course, you will have to hit them in the right place for that hit to register.
Stop Gunners : In levels with Bazooka-toting enemies (Rounds 3-2), push one of them against a wall about ten times (always pushing on his direction, never stopping), you'll see then that all Bazooka men and Gun men are no longer able to use their weapons against you.
Extra lives from hostages : In game are special hostage, you can get 1UP instead points from them. These hostages are : 2nd hostage on stage 2-2, 1st hostage on 2-3, 2nd hostage on 3-1, 5th hostage on 3-2. What you must do to get 1UP instead points? When you get hostage you must have 3 identical digits at end of your score (don't count last digit which is always 0). Example : 70,000, 100,000, 109,990, 68,880, 141110. 1UP icon will appear instead points icon over hostage.