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Shinobi vs. Spider-Man!
by: Dr. Boogie

The Shinobi series is one of those great video game franchises that stretch all the way back to the 8-bit systems. One thing that always struck me as odd, though, was something that took place in Revenge of Shinobi:

All rights are reserved, Callahan!

Normally, I would just gloss over the copyright info at the beginning of some games, but what caught my eye about this was a little line about "Spider-Man". Why on earth would a Japanese game about ninjas and such have a message about Spider-Man? The answer, as it turns out, only raises further questions.

Fun fact: That's actually Sony Chiba on the title screen.

The trip from LA to Chicago was uneventful.

In his quest to rescue his girlfriend from the evil Neo-Zeed, Joe Musashi departs from his home in Japan and travels all the way across the United States. Even in the bustling city of Chicago, however, he is beset by evil ninjas and gun-toting soldiers alike.

A crate you can take anywhere.

Heck, he's not even safe on the subway. But Joe Musashi is no pushover, and a few assorted cretins on the subway aren't going to slow him down. At the end of the line, however, he encounters a surprise guest.

No longer "friendly", nor in the "neighborhood".

Yes, Spider-Man. He's journeyed all the way from his native New York City just to take a few shots at our heroic ninja. Unbelievable! Is he on Neo-Zeed's payroll, too? Granted, he doesn't make too much money taking pictures of himself for the Daily Bugle, but surely he doesn't need to turn to crime. Did Neo-Zeed at least cover his travel expenses? But it gets even better than that. You see, the battle is actually two parts. After hitting Spider-Man a few times, he tags out and turns the battle over to his partner:

Bring Your Children to Work Day!

The idea that Spider-Man was fighting for the bad guys was shocking enough, but then you find out that he's in cahoots with Lucifer himself. Now that's what I call a twist (then again, Spider-Man was quite evil in "3 Dev Adam"). Luckily, the Prince of Darkness is no match for your flying knives, and after catching a couple in his hairy haunches, he transforms into a red bat and skulks off.

Boy, that's weird, I thought to myself. Surely it doesn't get any weirder than this. I was wrong. You see, the game actually went through a couple revisions before finally settling on the one you see here, with Spider-Man and the Devil tag-teaming you in Chi-town. In the earlier versions, the battle with Spider-Man was even more bizarre.

My cheap knockoff sense is tingling!

A pretty half-assed Spider-Man, if you ask me. I'm not really that familiar with the comics, but I don't think Spider-Man secreted his famous webbing from his famous hiney. Eye holes and ass webbing aside, the real oddity comes when Spider-Man is out of the fight:

Just like the real Spiderman!

Not only does Spider-Man transform, he transforms into...

The flying must be making him nauseous.

... Batman? Oh, so many things wrong with this picture. Why is Batman in Chicago? Why is Batman fighting Ol' Joe? Why is Batman flying? Why has Batman summoned bats? Where's the Batman logo? Why does he turn into a little red bat and fly away when defeated? WHY IS BATMAN REALLY SPIDER-MAN!? I can only assume that the developers chose to make a new version in order to avoid having to deal with these difficult, some would say impossible, questions.

I still don't understand why the developers insisted on making the Chicago boss Spider-Man. It would have been so much easier, and probably a lot cheaper, to just make him into a fancy ninja that scurries around the ceiling shooting nets at you. Oh, the mysteries of life. I'll leave you with a shot of one other boss switcheroo - this one of a certain famous dinosaur (albeit a much smaller version of him) and what they decided to change him to for the US release:

Godzilla has fatty ankles.

Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie

*** You too can play Revenge of Shinobi! ***



To play these games you'll need a Sega Genesis emulator.

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