Shinobi written for PS2 by Sega is all about style and grace with the sword. These are the kinds of games meant for the PS2. This is fast action at itís best. Shinobi will have the player taking control of Hotsuma the sword slinging, Essendon scarf wearing ninja, extraordinaire. Those familiar to the megadrive version such as myself will be pleased to know that the graphics have definitely seen a change in the transition from 16 to 128 bit heh heh. From 2d to 3d it has been executed well.
Hotsuma and his brother Moritsune discover a sword with magical powers and to wield it there must be only one master. The two must fight to the death, done with admirable enthusiasm. Hotsuma wins and must journey to through city streets to battle against an evil threat that has erupted through the centre of the city.
This highly stylised slashíem up comes with a small comic book with illustrations of some of the enemies. The art is commendable yet brief, coming free with the game we canít complain can we?
The control is simple; square is sword, x is stealth dash and circle is jump. The real stand out element in this game is the magic effects. Itís a shame you can only use them a handful of times per level. And when you thought all that sounded fun, you can even run along walls like in the Matrix! Control is simplified for ease of use so that you can only run sideways and not climb up or down.
Some of the puzzle elements of the game may have the player scratching their head. In one part I must have spent half an hour trying to figure out how to get to a seemingly impossibly high ledge. There are no hints for beginners so a strategy guide is needed. Great marketing ploy methinks. But with a bit of thought and beguiled dedication this can be overcome.
The bosses range from the interesting to the average standard. The best part of the animations being the martial art moves and the scarf trailing behind Hotsuma. This may grow tired after a short duration. More design and imaginative locations should have been in order. A few trees would have cheered the surroundings up a bit, perhaps. Anyway the majority of the Eastern world is based in the city so this would be identified with most players.
Overall the design is a little uninspired and a little disappointing. The bosses are interesting and the fighting is a spectacle, sure but it needs more of everything to make it stand out from the pack.
- Alex Cuming