> Shinobi... it's the Japanese word for ninja. Sega...
it's the acronym which is synonymous with game creation. This is
the very first Shinobi game -- ported from the System 16 original.
By today's standards it's rather bland. Back in the late 80s, it
was state of the art.
> The story is straight forward: A terrorist network, the evil "Zeed" (Ring
of Five), has kidnapped the children of the world's leaders. You
are Joe Shinobi Musashi, and your task is to save the hostages and use
your ninja skills to wipe out this criminal organization.
> Shinobi's backgrounds are static while the characters, magic, and weapons
are animated. You'll go through various locales including a back
street, industrial port, hideout, and more. The character animation
is decent for 8 bit, but certainly shows its age. At the end of each
mission you'll go up against some mighty impressive bosses including a
giant samurai, military helicopter, masked ninja, and more. To top
it off, you can earn the right to compete in bonus rounds, which are a
first person, shuriken throwing, shooting gallery of enemy ninjas.
> The gameplay is classic ninja action. Move with the D-pad, use
weapon with button 1 (shuriken, sword, nunchaku, bombs, gun), and jump
with button 2. Other moves include punch and kick (which depends
on your position), and ninja magic (which is available after successfully
completing a bonus round followed by defeating 10 enemies). There
are six types of ninjitsu: Metal Binding (freeze enemies), Invincible,
Eight Hands (eight-ganger), Flying Squirrel (allows flight), Lightning
and Tornado which is used by holding button 2 and pressing button 1. It's
a good idea to rescue all the hostages for power-ups, but it's not mandatory
in the SMS version. Instead the of one-hit death from the arcade
version, Musashi now has a health gauge that allows the player to sustain
more damage. Each time Musashi is hit or touches an enemy, the life
bar drains until death. There's no time limit in this version and
the game is over once all lives are used. You earn a extra life for
every 100,000 points scored.
> Shinobi has to be one of the first side scrolling action games which
allows you to jump up/down to different levels. Many times you'll
need to do this in order to save a hostage, which usually yields some sort
of power up. As for the bonus rounds, you simply move left and right
while shooting enemies with unlimited shuriken.
> Even though the soundtrack is classic Z-80, it's still rather catchy,
yet not as good as the arcade version. Shinobi's tunes have an Oriental
theme, which go great with the on-screen action and mimic the arcade original
quite well. The sound effects are minimal and sufficient. Nothing
fancy, just bleeps and blops for various weapons and cues.
> Your task... complete 5 missions (15 rounds) of ninja combat.
I couldn't stop playing this game when I first bought it. Twelve
years later, Shinobi still provides a good blast from the past.
If you've played the arcade original, then you'll be pleased with the Master
System port. Everything is in tact from missions to music, and graphics
to gameplay. Shinobi provides hours of ninja fun from the master
programmers at Sega.
9.0 | Graphics: 9.2 | Control: 8.8 | Sound: 8.5 | Fun: 9.5