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Intro
Shinobi

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Shadow Dancer

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The Revenge of Shinobi (GEN)
Shinobi III

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The Cyber Shinobi
The GG Shinobi
The GG Shinobi 2

Page 5:
Shinobi Legions
The Revenge of Shinobi (GBA)

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Shinobi (PlayStation 2)
Nightshade

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Shinobi (3DS)
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Other

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シャドー・ダンサー / Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi - Arcade, Master System, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum (1989)

Arcade Flyer

Amiga Cover

While there were many follow-ups that came out in quick succession on various platofrms, Shadow Dancer is the only true sequel to the original arcade Shinobi, as the gameplay is pretty much the same. The major difference is the obvious graphical upgrade, especially the main character's drastic overhaul, where he now wears a cool white costume similar to the one in The Revenge of Shinobi. This time you play as Hayate, Joe's son, as it's set several years down the line. It runs on Sega's System-18 board and is a considerable step up graphically from its predecessor. Casting ninja magic shows a cool cinematic close-up of Hayate, with a background of colored burning flames behind him.

New for this game is Hayate's canine companion named Yamato, who follows him throughout the game and will periodically incapacitate foes, thus allowing for an easy take down.

Other than the dog friend, the changes are minor. You now have to defuse bombs instead of rescue children, and continuing will grant you two charges of ninja magic, making the current stage a little bit easier. The levels include an airport, a junkyard, a cave, and final base at the foot of a space shuttle. The bonus stages are similar, although you now toss shurikens upward at ninjas that are slowly descending a building. The bosses are not quite as inspired, although it does include a slightly silly "man vs. train" fight, although fundamentally it's not that much more ridiculous than the helicopter from the previous game. While Shadow Dancer is sometimes viewed as a step backwards in the face of the advances made by the almost simultaneously released Mega Drive game The Revenge of Shinobi, it still captures the knife-flicking intensity of the original game, and is a fine sequel.

Since the Genesis game is entirely different from the arcade game, "true" ports of the game were once again mostly focused around Europe. The Sega Master System version was only released in PAL territories and Brazil. While it admirably captures the huge character graphics, it's simply too much for the 8-bit system to handle, as it controls and plays horribly. The graphics are inconsistent, ranging from decent to awful (many of the bad guys have green skin) and flicker to all hell. Your dog friend doesn't follow you anymore, but he can be summoned to bite enemies. It's missing several levels from the arcade version too. The soundtrack is all new though. Undoubtedly the SMS couldn't handle the percussion heavy FM synth of the arcade game, and the replacement songs are a little bit traditional, and probably a bit more listenable.

The home computer platforms are the same as the last time around with roughly the same differences, only the useless MSX and IBM ports are discontinued. Now all 8-bit versions lack the music, but otherwise they're more complete than the Master System port.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Director:

  • Motoshige Hokoyama

Genre:

Themes:


Shadow Dancer (Arcade)

Shadow Dancer (Arcade)

Shadow Dancer (Arcade)

Shadow Dancer (Master System)



Comparison Screenshots


シャドー・ダンサー / Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi - Genesis, PlayStation 2, PSP (1991)

Genesis Cover

Japanese Mega Drive Cover

Much like E-SWAT, another Sega arcade-to-home conversion, the Genesis version of Shadow Dancer is completely different from the arcade game. The story depends on which version of the game you're playing - in Japan, the hero is Hotsuma, Joe Musashi's son, while in the English version, you're playing as Joe Musashi himself. His goal this time is to take down yet another organization, this time the absurdly named "Union Liazard". While the basic mechanics remain the same as the arcade game, there are five mostly new levels, though some of them are somewhat reminiscent of arcade version counterparts. The second stage features a bridge and a trainyard that's vaguely similar, and a stage in the cave, though the layouts are not quite the same. The most memorable new stages include a burning town (completely with waving flame effects and bursts of fire shooting from the sewers), an urban city in the midst of an earthquake, and a battle at the top of the Statue of Liberty. The boss battles are a little unimpressive compared to the arcade version (no battles with trains, unfortunately), but they're still well designed. The graphics are pretty comparable despite the limited palette of the Genesis, although the magic attacks are missing the cool close-ups. You're still accompanied by your faithful dog, and this time you can even directly command him to attack by holding down the attack button. The dog can leap over boxes and otherwise leap at enemies that would normally be out of your range.

There are a few minor changes as well - you're back to rescuing hostages as opposed to disarming bombs. The bonus stages have changed drastically and steer away from the first-person shooting galleries of the other games - instead, the hero leaps off a gigantic building and you are instructed to "SHOOT ALL NINJAS!" as he hurtles towards the pavement (because, clearly ninjas have no need for stairs). While Shadow Dancer is a bit easier compared to the other games, there are several difficulty levels, including an option to play without shurikens. Overall, it stands up respectably to the arcade version, and due to its slightly better level design and lessened frustration factor, exceeds it.

This version of Shadow Dancer is featured on the PS2 and PSP Sega Genesis Collection, but missing from Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Why? The game is on Germany's index of "youth-endangering media," and thus cannot be sold openly there. Not keen on having the whole collection labeled as such, and too cheap to put together different versions for different countries (or apply for the game to be taken off the index, as is done with many other games that used to be considered as violent in their time), Sega removed the game from all regions.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Designer:

  • Tomohiro Kondō

Genre:

Themes:


Shadow Dancer (Genesis)

Shadow Dancer (Genesis)

Shadow Dancer (Genesis)



<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Intro
Shinobi

Page 2:
Shadow Dancer

Page 3:
The Revenge of Shinobi (GEN)
Shinobi III

Page 4:
The Cyber Shinobi
The GG Shinobi
The GG Shinobi 2

Page 5:
Shinobi Legions
The Revenge of Shinobi (GBA)

Page 6:
Shinobi (PlayStation 2)
Nightshade

Page 7:
Shinobi (3DS)
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Other

Back to the Index