Shinobi - PS2

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Beat 'Em Up
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Overworks Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: SCEE (GB)
Released: 15 Nov 2002 (US)
16 May 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 15+
Features: Vibration Function Compatible
Accessories: Memory Card


Shinobi inspires more than the usual classic game nostalgia in the older gamer. One of Sega’s classic arcade titles of the late 80s, Shinobi was as near to a simulator as a 2D game ever was. And it was a ninja simulator to boot, what more could be asked for…?

Although technical limitations of the time forced Shinobi into the 2D side-scrolling platform shooter genre, the level design, fluidity of gameplay and reaction speed needed to progress made the player feel like a ninja. A cult classic coin-op, the rarest of game, was born.

Later outings on the Mega Drive, though well received at the time, never quite managed to capture the feeling and spirit of the Suzuki original and the legend began to flag.

Some may question Sega’s reasoning in releasing Shinobi at this point in time, being as it is the richest phase of ninja game releases seen since the ninja-heydays of the late 80s. But many feel that by going up against Tenchu 3, Ninja Gaiden and the rest, Shinobi will reclaim its rightful place at the top of the dojo.

In a plot to rival the best Japanimation, you play Hotsuma, a ninja and leader of the Oboro clan, seeking revenge against Hiruko, a powerful feudal sorcerer who has sent a plethora of magic-fuelled enemies to overthrow the Oboro. All of this is beautifully presented in cut scenes reminiscent of the classic movie Ninja Scroll.

A brilliant gameplay twist sees the Shinobi forced to kill enemies constantly in order to survive. He wields the Akujiki sword, a blade so powerfully and magically created it must relentlessly kill or it begins to suck the very life force out of its handler.

In another nod to the great ninja movies of Japan, Hotsuma is stupidly overpowered. He can run across ceiling and walls, whilest unleashing a barrage of throwing stars and blade swipes. He can jump ridiculously high and unleash noxious magic with devastating effect. Shinobi for the PlayStation 2, in homage to the original game, moves at twice the speed of other 3D action games and is a splendid thing to behold.

Set in vivid feudal Tokyo, Sega Overworks has created an incredible gameplay environment, complete with interactive deformable areas. The constant slew of pleasingly dumb enemies make brilliant cannon (or sword!) fodder, whilst the complexity and freakiness of the many bosses require tenacity, precision and skill. Yatsurao, the spinning mechanical monster returns with great effect, delighting fans of the original.

Shinobi is simply everything you could ask for in a 3D update and is easily the best game in the series since the original.


Shinobi - PS2 Artwork

Shinobi - PS2 Artwork