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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
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The Cyber Shinobi: Shinobi Part-2 - Master System (1990)

Cover

The Cyber Shinobi (or Shinobi Part-2, as noted on the title screen) sounds like it should be amazing game, since it combines two popular subjects, cyborgs and ninjas, that should results in pure awesomeness. And yet somehow, it misses the mark completely and falls flat on its face. It doesn't play anything like any of the other games in the series, except inasmuch as it's a pale imitation of The Revenge of Shinobi or the Game Gear games.

Through six overtly long, boring stages, you take on screen after screen of mooks working for Cyber-Zeed, the new criminal organization to be defeated. All of the enemies in the area must be killed before you can continue, similar to a beat-em-up like Double Dragon. Your cyber ninja, obstencibly a descendent of Joe Musashi, can only attack with a weak upward thrust that has almost no range, but it doesn't really matter all that much, because the developers failed to program anything fancy like "competant hit detection", so you can execute crouching attacks and hit enemies despite not actually being next to them. Boxes hold extra items, like shurikens, machine guns (one of the only true "cyber" parts on your ninja) and grenades, all in very limited quanities and activated by pressing Up and attack. The ninjitsu fills the screen with gigantic, pixellated scrolling text announced the attack you are using. You can actually store up to eight magic stocks (though each use takes two of them), with the higher levels offering more powerful attacks.

The game looks and controls terribly. The animation is choppy, as is the scrolling. A full third of the screen is taken up by an oversized status bar. The mechanics, such as they are, are clumsy, and the best you can hope for is to get up near a bad guy and mash the attack button until they die, and maybe hope your that sluggish jumping is enough to dodge enemy bullets. It's not all that terribly hard, although health items only restore a single bar, and the innocous-seeming platforms that collapse without warning immediately grow tiresome.

The good aspects include the enemy death enemies, where they either shrivel into nothingness or burn to a crisp. Also, many of the bosses are large vehicles that channel some of the more memorable battles in other game, like bulldozers, helicopters and submarines. But otherwise it's a wretched game, one of the worst on the platform and undboutedly the lowest point of the Shinobi series. It was only officially released in Europe, Austrailia and Brazil, so it falls outside the larger canon of the series.

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The Cyber Shinobi

The Cyber Shinobi

The Cyber Shinobi

The Cyber Shinobi


Shinobi / The GG忍 - Game Gear (1991)

American Cover

Japanese Cover

The GG Shinobi (simply referred to as Shinobi for American and European releases) is a decent miniaturization, with gameplay similar to The Revenge of Shinobi, but with some nifty new elements to compensate for the inferior tech. The graphics are still excellent, and the soundtrack features all mostly music from Yuzo Koshiro, along with a few chiptun renditions of some songs from The Revenge of Shinobi. Presentation-wise, Sega didn't cut any corners, as noted in the impressive multiplane scrolling backgrounds in some of the stages.

Taking a hint from sentai shows, The GG Shinobi lets you play as a group of five ninjas of different colors, each with a unique weapon, ninjitsu and skill. You begin with only the sword-wielding Red Ninja, whose magic can damage everything on the screen, but you choose your levels in a Mega Man-esque stage select. There are four in total - Highway (which has you jumping between moving cars), Harbor, Woodl and Valley. When you beat a level, you rescue one of your compatriots and can switch to them at any time - Pink Ninja tosses bombs, can freeze all enemies on the screen and climb on the ceiling; Yellow Ninja attacks with energy blasts, can walk on water and make himself invincible; Blue Ninja has a grappling hook that can be used to swing on certain pegs and can turn himself into a tornado; and the Green Ninja wields shurikens, can double jump and has a bomb suicide attack much like Mijin. Once you've beaten the four main stages, you can head to Neo City for the final confrontation.

The ninja selection is great idea, despite how silly it looks, and it really gives some variety to the gameplay. But at the start of the game, as long as you just got the Red Ninja with his pathetically short attack against enemies that take two or more hits, the game gets very tough, very quickly. Your short life meter doesn't help matters either, as you can take between two and four hits before you bite the dust. Obviously spreading out the abilities makes it play somewhat differently than its older brothers. Other than the screen smashing difficulty and the cramped portable display, The GG Shinobi is still quite enjoyable.

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  • Katsuhiro Hasegawa
  • Masahide Kobayashi

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The GG Shinobi

The GG Shinobi

The GG Shinobi



Shinobi II: The Silent Fury / The GG忍 II - Game Gear (1992)

American Cover

Japanese Cover

The Game Gear sequel pretty much follows in its predecessor's footsteps, but refines some elements to make it a somewhat better game. You've got to rescue the same four ninjas, each with the same abilities as before. There are four stages here too - Castle, Building, Canyon and Factory. But additionally there's a crystal hidden in each of the stages. You'll need to find all of these crystals before advancing to the final stage, but many require some special abilities to reach, making you go through the same stage twice. It adds a bit of extra depth to the stages, even if it gets frustrating playing the stages over and over to find them.

Bosses are spectacular; you get to fight a giant armadillo that shoots with the spikes on his back and of course rolls into a ball and all across the screen, and a giant worm that bores out of the floor and ceiling to attack you. The rest of the game looks also spectacular, while the predecessor took the style of Revenge, here the backgrounds look a bit closer to the later Shinobi III, with a greater emphasis on biological and mechanical designs.

The difficulty has been adjusted, thankfully - enemies take less to kill, so the earlier stages of the game aren't as drastically difficult as they used to be. With the addition of a password system, The GG Shinobi 2 makes for one of the best 8-bit portable action games out there.

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The GG Shinobi II

The GG Shinobi II



<<< 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