Friday, January 13, 2012

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

  Its rare I review video games on here.  But this is actually the first time I've reviewed a game that isn't for the PS3.  It was actually for the Sega Genesis. And it was released in 1993. And it currently stands in front of Dead Space 1 & 2, as my favorite game... of all time. And not without just cause either.  Read on to find out why.
  Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is as classic as they come I suppose. I've played one and two, but wasn't nearly as impressed. They're both solid games. But they feel fairly standard. Whether thats because I'm used to newer games, or whether its because they play more towards difficulty and Shinobi III plays more towards speed and action, I can't honestly say. But Shinobi III still holds up today. For what it is, its perfect.
  I play lots of flash games, and find that the good ones, the fun and addicting ones, strongly echo lots of early cartridge games. Their simple design asthetic, or their simple yet satisfying control scheme, theres lots of inspiration to draw from a whole generation of cartidge based games.And what better setup for any simple sidescroller than Super Mario Bros.? Its simple, fun, and addicting. However, if you're into a more action based game, and would rather fight ninjas right now than go jump on mushrooms or something, Shinobi III is the game for you.  Its now just as easy access as any garden variety flash game, and its way more fun. It can hold its own with the best of them and come out on top.

  Each level is unique and actually pretty neat to look at. Despite the dated graphics, it still looks really really cool. Theres a surprising wealth of detail and nuance to the design of this game. You can tell they really pulled out all the stops for this one. The gameplay itself is also something to be praised. Its fast, and fun, but also as the game progresses it forces you to be creative and intuitive.  You feel as though you're an expert ninja by the time you're done. And its really cool because the bad guys aren't limited to just ninjas... theres four armed mutant samurai, hi-tech futuristic soldiers, mechanized brains armed to the teeth with lazers, machine guns, and frag grenades. Lets also not forget the giant mecha robots, and flying ninjas. Oh and theres a Mecha-Godzilla you'll have to fight too. Pretty cool huh? 

   With all the skill and finesse of the game's iconic protagonist, Joe Musashi.  You stick to shuriken and your faithful katana as your go-to attacks through the game, but its not always as simple as that. You must have a sense of timing, and try to anticipate whats coming ahead, which in and of itself is quite a trick.  The result of all this intense gameplay is quite satisfying. Its one of the most involving and unabashedly fun games I've ever played. And if you compare it to the pantheon of flash games or gameboy titles, it still holds up really damn well, and kicks all kinds of ass in the process.

  In conclusion, Shinobi III, is the quintessential sidescroller ninja game. You jump, run, and slash your way through 7 lengthy and action packed levels that are classic tests of skill and patience.  As the iconic white-clad ninja, Joe Musashi, fight your way through legions of ninjas, samurai, soldiers, mutants, disembodied brains, dangerous mecha robots, mystical creatures, deadly traps, hi-tech fortresses and finally... your arch nemesis: Neo Zeed.  Next to the classic Sonic the Hedgehog and titles like Comix Zone and Altered Beast... Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master was the best thing to happen to the Sega Genesis way back then, and its still a damn fun ride today.

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