By: Uma Smith
Shinobi first appeared in the arcades in 1987 and was later brought over to the SEGA Mega Drive. It was as well received as Ninja Gaiden for the Nintendo Entertainment System. And just like its NES competitor, Shinobi had sequels that followed as they continued to offer high-paced platforming action. Well, for the first time in history, we get to see this SEGA creation come on over to the Nintendo 3DS as a 3D Classic title.
In this particular case, players assume control of a ninja named Joe Musashi as they venture off to fight against the baddies to stop an evil organization called Neo Zeed. As such, Joe must track down its leader, the Ninja Master, in order to stop it from continuing to produce genetically-engineered creatures and technological weapons of destruction.
One thing to note, you have the option to choose which levels you want to play. Hence, you can jump straight in to fight the bosses. This gives that added layer of autonomy for players to exercise. But to those who prefer to play the game from start to end within the same sequence, they may want to steer clear of this.
Your controls are the usual affair. In terms of movement, you can have Joe perform a double jump in the air or even leap against walls to give extra height. And for that additional speed, you can have him sprint if you want. Additionally, Shinobi III allows you to customize your buttons for jumping, attack, and performing specials. Plus, an added bonus is included in this version when you engage in the “Master Ninja” mode. In this case, you’ll have extra buttons associated with throwing shuriken, performing close-range attacks, and blocking.
There are four different types of specials (Kariu, Mijin, Fushin and Ikazuchi), each of which provides a specific benefit for Joe to reap, such as temporary invincibility. Players can cycle through these specials using the d-pad while the game is paused. Since the start button for the Nintendo 3DS will pull up a menu for adjusting settings and saving/loading, the actual in-game “start” button needs to be assigned to either a face or shoulder button. While this may be confusing at first, it doesn’t take long to move on and get dirty with the game.
As you progress through Shinobi III, you’ll go through various environments, including forests, cities, factories and military bases. But there’s some variety thrown in for your 2D platforming experience. In some levels, you’ll have your character surfing around while in others, you’ll hitch a ride on a horse. Whatever situation you end up in, you’ll be fighting off a whole slew of enemies, including robots and mutant creatures. While the gameplay is your typical platforming action, it’s satisfying with some various moments of grueling challenges. The boss battles are difficult but also give a little spice to the adventure.
The main feature that makes Shinobi III shine is its graphical implementation. Whether you choose to have the 3D effects to go into or pop out of the screen, you’ll be mesmerized by how classic retro gaming can still look this fine. The amount of depth has been set to really accentuate its visual quality while the plentiful color palettes helps to keep the game looking exciting. On the other hand, the sound effects don’t offer much in terms of lasting effects or impression. Nonetheless, as a whole package, the game does give a worthwhile presentation.
If you’d like to relive the classic Sega ages but with a 3D twist, then you’ll be pleased with Shinobi III. It’s a great port that brings this retro gem back to life for Nintendo 3DS players to enjoy on the go.