This might seem to be a bit of a left-field, from-out-of-nowhere choice, but there's a reason I'm playing it, so stick with me!
The Legend of Kage is not a game I ever saw in an arcade. The only reason I'd heard of it previously was when I read a review of the Commodore 64 conversion in ZZAP! 64. They seemed to think it was distinctly average, and I didn't bother hunting it down for a play.
Fast-forward, oooh, donkeys years, and I find myself playing it in MAME.
And it's alright, actually. A bit odd for an arcade game, perhaps... although thinking about it, it plays a bit like a precursor to Shinobi, which I have certainly enjoyed quite a bit over the years, or maybe Ninja Spirit.
Ugh! Get away! Get awaaaaaay!
Typically, the game starts with a princess being captured, and you drop into the scene to chase after her. As you would expect, ninjas fly about, chucking pointy stars at you. Luckily, you can throw stars of your own, and you have swords for dispatching anything that gets a bit close for comfort.
You're also possessed of an implausibly mighty jump. This game sees you flying around in treetops a lot, with the ninjas whizzing by all around you. It's quite good fun, if a little strange. Other enemies appear through the game, including fire-breathing Raiden-types, just to mix it up.
The Legend of Kage is quite a nice little arcade game, which probably offered something nicely different at the time, and yet was more than likely the one that sat unloved in a corner while everyone else was playing Gauntlet. Still, it set me up nicely for tomorrow's game...