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:
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.
fact: That's actually Sony Chiba on the title screen.
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.
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
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:
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
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.
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:
Not only does Spider-Man transform, he transforms into...
... 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:
Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie
*** You too can play Revenge of Shinobi! ***
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD REVENGE OF SHINOBI! (early version)]
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD REVENGE OF SHINOBI! (final version)]
To play these games you'll need a Sega Genesis emulator.
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RESCUE: THE EMBASSY MISSION!