When I heard that the classic Ninja arcade game
was about to be released on XBox Live, I had visions of Lode Runners
and other classic games receiving a 21st century facelift.
Unfortunately I was wrong, however my disappointment didn’t last too
long once I got back into this game. It should be noted that
this game is a direct copy from the SEGA Arcade pack which was
released several months ago and with some clever advertising, a
variety of other SEGA arcade classics are available, for a nominal
cost of 400 points.
On a side note, this was the first arcade game
that I ever finished at the “arcades” and on 40 cents, I amazed
friends and onlookers that I could actually complete the game. As a
kid, I was at that age where I was heavily into Ninja’s and this was
the game from the gods and after completing this on a variety of
machines, I would put three letter tag, “TAM” which stood for
Tamazaki, a Ninja character that I created. (Lame Alert On)
Okay… enough with the geekiness and reminiscing,
the second coming of Shinobi is here.
With elements taken from a variety of “bad” yet memorable Ninja
movies of the 80’s such as American Ninja, the gamer plays ninja
Shinobi, AKA Joe Musashi who must free a group of kidnapped children
from the Oboro clan, thanks to the nefarious criminal organisation called Zeed.
Easier said than done but fortunately you have access to an
unlimited of Shurikens (Ninja stars), a sword for close encounters,
an UZI and limited Ninja magic that can be used to dispatch all your
foes on screen.
Shinobi is a classic side scrolling game that allows the player to
jump, duck and fight the enemy. As with all good arcade games of
this era, if you are killed, you will need to restart from the start
of the mission and yes this can be painful for not only Joe but the
gamer as well.
The game contains five missions that are broken up
into submissions and include a variety of different environments
from the city, forest and the dangerous headquarters of Zeed. After
each mission, you encounter a boss character such as the Robotic-esq
Ninja of the first mission, a helicopter on the next or the
grandmaster Zeed himself who has the ability to split himself to
give Joe some added grief.
On each level, you need to rescue a set amount
of children who are being guarded by a variety of enemies. Standard
guards with guns require one shot to kill, whereas the various
coloured Ninjas in the game take a little bit more to dispatch. When
you do acquire the UZI, they generally dispatch most enemies with
one shot, accept for bosses. Between in mission, there is a bonus
stage where you need to dispatch running Ninja’s with your Shurikens
and if you succeed, you are awarded a bonus life.
On the XBox Live version of Shinobi, you can set
the difficulty and amount of lives that are at your disposal plus
you have the ability to save, just like the SEGA Arcade classic
pack. Control wise, it’s not bad on the 360 controller, however
nothing beats that classic arcade stick and buttons. At times, the
controls on the 360 can be quite frustratingly fiddle some. As this
is an XBox Live game, the title allows you to record your
achievements and scores on the leader boards and I’m still working on
it to be number one. Fancy some two player fun? The game supports
local multiplayer just the like original console.
Graphically, the title was quite impressive at the time with
colourful bitmapped environments and even some special effects here
and there. Even now, the game has dated well and oozes with classic
arcade eye candy goodness. The music for me anyway has always been
quite memorable and hearing the theme again only brought back good
memories. This was one of the few games of the time to have some
digitised voices such as “Mission Completed” or the sounds of Joe
using his Ninja magic. Quite cool during it’s heyday.
Even though I was hoping to keep this review
short, the game is still cool for school.
Shinobi spawned a variety of other Ninja inspired games during the
80’s and hopefully we will see some of these on XBox Live. It would
have been nice if this was remade with 21st century graphics but
even so, this is one classic game that comes recommended by Impulse