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Shinobi 3DS Review - -
Shinobi 3DS
Reviewed by
John Smith
Shinobi 3DS Review. Shinobi on the 3DS is a strange game that takes a classic game and throws a 21st century twist on it with the inclusion of 3D graphics and some enhanced gaming controls and the like original, a few different mini-games.

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.6
Sound 7.0
Value 8.1
Distributor: SEGA
Review Date:
Oct 2011
John Smith


Shinobi 3DS

The original arcade Shinobi game (1987) was one of my biggest gaming accomplishments when I was kid. Not only did I complete it more times than I can remember but it also featured a kickass protagonist named Joe Musashi, a highly trained ninja who single handedly took down an entire secret ninja organisation. This was gaming at its best during the late 80's that also featured the modern equivalent of cowboys, ninjas! This title inspired a variety of sequels and prequels but none of them reached the same heights of the original game Shinobi.

This time the game has been reinvented for Nintendo's 3DS by developers Griptonite Games which revisits the franchise but opposed to Joe Musashi, gamers take on the role of Jiro Musashi, a descendant of Joe. With that said, the game is reminiscent of Shinobi III and more importantly, it feels like a Shinobi game from the get go. Story wise, Shinobi on the 3DS features the same elements of tradition meets modernity which begins in 1256 A.D. feudal Japan where our hero is thrust into the future to 2056 A.D. where is warring clan has created an army of futuristic and unstoppable soldiers. As leader of the Oboro clan, your goal is to ensure that the Zeed are stopped as honour knows no boundaries through time.  

With the inclusion of 3D effects on the Nintendo 3DS, much of the familiar gaming mechanics remain in this side scrolling arcade game from double jumps to stealth attacks, range and melee attacks, parries and that famous ninja power which decimates your enemies. Level design is also quite interesting in Shinobi and works well with the ninja theme, however as you progress the difficultly definitely increases tenfold. This does cause additional frustrations to the gamer as some areas are quite unforgiving, especially on the longer levels.

Your main weapons in Shinobi is your katana and kinai but magic does play a part in completing the game, especially for your first play through. Magic is broken up into four categories that include earth, fire, lighting and water, each with their pros and cons. For example, if you all upon earth magic, your character is made invulnerable for a limited amount of time but this comes at a cost to your health. Fire on the other, allows you to kill enemies (not all) and makes your firepower faster. There is a good balance involved here and if you don't use magic, you are awarded more points when you finish a level. With more enemies than you can poke a katana at, Shinobi offers a variety of boss battles throughout the game with even another homage to the chopper boss from the original game. There is a specific tactic required to defeat each of the bosses, including some quick-time events for that final finishing move.

I loved how Griptonite Games included some mini-games to spice up the title between levels and just like the original which contained the very cool shuriken throwing game, the 3DS version features a very cool horse riding level and even a remake of the shuriken throwing game in 3D. Another one of the games even supports the gyro controls of the 3DS. With that said, timing does play a key role to the gameplay but unlike the original game, this modern counterpart is thankfully more lenient but there are still quite a few death traps to stumble on. There is an emphasis on scoring in this game and multipliers can be found throughout the title, including other bonuses to increase your score. In relation to score, there are a plethora of achievements to be collected in the game, including challenge maps that can be unlocked via StreetPass or by collecting coins in the game.

Graphics & Audio

In the graphics department, Shinobi is a good looking game but where it does shine is through the inclusion of the 3D that makes the levels almost jump out at you. Although the game does not use those classic sprite graphics from the original games, the title feels more polished and realistic, thanks to the use of polygons and higher texture details. Characters are well animated and there are some very cool special effects employed in the game like your ninja magic that looks like it is exploding from your console when your 3D slider is turned on. Apart from the side-scrolling areas in the game, some of the third person scenes look quite impressive like the horse riding scene. There are some great stylised cutscenes that looks quite Manga in their appearance. Sound effects work well and the musical score, although ambient which does enhance the gameplay.

Final Level

Shinobi on the 3DS is a strange game that takes a classic game and throws a 21st century twist on it with the inclusion of 3D graphics and some enhanced gaming controls and the like original, a few different mini-games. Even though the game feels different, it is also reminiscent of the original from the way it dishes out the scores which definitely opens up the game for another play. However, Shinobi 3DS is not the most original game on this console but Griptonite Games should be commended on not only paying homage to the original games but fleshing it out a little for an entire new generation.


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