> After appearing in arcades in 1989, Sega released Master System and Genesis
/ Mega Drive versions of Shadow Dancer. While the Genesis / Mega
Drive version was a side story, Shadow Dancer for SMS is the true sequel
to the original Shinobi. The SMS version
mimics the arcade original (minus a few rounds), while the Genesis / Mega
Drive version is largely original (but still has roots in the System 18
> Naturally, it stars a shinobi warrior (you) armed with shuriken and ninja
magic. Takashi, the shinobi, is on a mission to stop a terrorist
group from foiling a crucial space mission. The addition of a dog
to aid your quest really makes this game unique...
> Shadow Dancer is one of the last games released for the SMS. It's
amazing what a few years of experience can do for programmers on a given
console. Shadow Dancer on the Master System looks quite good compared
to the System 18 original. The characters are large, and about two
thirds of the levels are in tact. You'll traverse through an airport
concourse, inside an airliner, on moving railroad cars, within a dangerous
factory, and more. The enemies are the familiar Shinobi thugs with
guns and knives plus the obligatory end of level bosses. All that
aside, Shadow Dancer's best graphical feature by far is the simple fact
it retains most of the arcade levels. Actually, it's the only home
version to date which can boast that.
> Shadow Dancer's gameplay is almost identical to that of Shinobi.
You can move side to side, jump to higher platforms, throw shuriken, use
magic, and enter hand-to-hand combat. The addition of your fearless
dog, Yamato, really sets the game apart from Shinobi. When you're
in a tough spot, just charge the dog-meter and unleash his attack on the
closest enemy! If you're good enough to hit all the ninjas in the
Bonus Rounds, then you'll earn extra shinobis. Overall, I'd say Shadow
Dancer's tight control outshines that of Shinobi.
> As expected, Shadow Dancer's music features some fine Z-80 rifs.
It's upbeat and keeps you in the action. You'll hear about the best
rendition of the arcade version the SMS is capable of. The sound
effects are minimal and essentially get the job done. Yamato even
barks during the intro animation.
> Most people, no doubt, will think Shadow Dancer is challenging -- the
length of this game surely has something to do with it. Once you've
mastered a level, however, the difficulty becomes normal. It's only
four rounds long, but it's chock full of classic Shinobi gameplay.
Acquiring this instant classic took a while. Now, I'm so glad I own