Shinobi, the latest game from the SEGA AGES roster of games, is a challenging 2D side-scrolling Switch eShop download. The emulation wizards at M2 are continuing their streak of releasing old games through quality emulation and adding features to enhance the player experience.
Ninja master Joe Musashi is tasked with rescuing hostages from a criminal organization so the goal of each stage is to save each kidnapped person before reaching the exit. To do so, the player has access to an infinite number of shurikens and melee attacks, but mostly ranged weaponry that can eventually be enhanced into missiles, to defeat all that stand in the way. In fact, there is one boss battle where the player needs to take down a helicopter by chucking throwing starts at the nose, making Solid Snake’s stinger missiles versus the Hind D look like nukes in comparison.
If you never played Shinobi, be prepared for a challenging experience. Old games like this were designed to steal your quarters, or at least continues, after all. Purists will be happy to know that the original game with original settings are here for that authentic challenge. However, M2 put in the extra work, as they do with all their AGES titles, by adding creative features that make the game playable, beatable, and fun for all players. By selecting certain options from the main menu, players can tweak difficulty settings, such as allowing Joe to be stronger both offensively and defensively, and starting at certain points in the game. There is also a handy rewind feature to make those tricky segments tolerable. Each mode also features its own online leaderboard too, with scores automatically updating when exiting. The score upload only takes a second and encourages players to climb the leaderboard rankings since it is always right in front of your face.
Fans will be pleased by the wealth of visual options. Not only is the game playable with a crisp pixel perfect presentation, there are also screen options, numerous boarders to select, and a few different scanline features. That classic Sega synthesized sound also speaks well coming from the Switch’s audio output. The only real complaint is that moving into a crouched position is rather sensitive but this is something the original suffered from as well. The first person ninja throwing star bonus game is just as challenging as you remember too.
If a Shinobi ROM was simply released on the eShop then it would be a skippable title unless you are a longtime, hardcore fan. Although a stand-out classic, it is M2’s dedication that makes this a worthy title to experience even if Shinobi isn’t exactly the highest quality game itself. The added features still stay true to the original but make it playable by today’s standards, which makes it easy to see the passion M2 puts into their work.
Not To Be Confused With: Ninja Gaiden
Also Try: the Tenchu series
Wait For It: a Virtual Console release of Ninja Five-O (GBA)