Game: "Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master"
System: Sega Genesis
Genre: Action
Published by: Sega

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 1/21/2008

Review: Long before the popular internet meme of ninjas vs. pirates came to be, there was the Shinobi series. You controlled Joe Musashi, the Shinobi in question, and you did battle with the diabolical organization known as Zeed, and then later as Neo Zeed. It was a lot of fun being a ninja. Swords were swung, shuriken were tossed, and you even had to rescue trapped civilians on occasion. The formula started to get a little annoying when you started to find yourself losing all your lives because of some jumping puzzles that were clearly designed by sociopathic game designers.

But the third Shinobi game for the consoles changed all that. Again, you played as that poor bastard Joe Musashi, and yet again, Neo Zeed is threatening the world with its unique blend of high technology and eastern mysticism. This time around, though, Joe has learned a few new tricks that every ninja should know, and it finally makes sense to call him the “Ninja Master”.

For starters, you could now run. I realize that doesn’t sound like much, but the old Joe could only walk at a leisurely pace, and that made him an easy target for all the evil ninjas that were after him. Now, though, Joe can run, jump kick, wall jump, and even perform dash attacks. Most importantly, though, the controls are kept especially tight, so you needn't worry about not being able to pull off a move fast enough because Joe moves like a real ninja!

The core gameplay is still much like it was in Revenge of Shinobi. The only real difference is that now, there are almost no chances for you to get frustrated by a jump that requires perfect timing and knowledge that there's an enemy hiding just to the right of that ledge you need to land on. That was my biggest gripe with the last game.

Also worth noting is the sound. Those of you who loved the music from the second game will not be disappointed, as Shinobi III boasts some great songs throughout, all done with a bit of an eastern flavor to them. The sound effects, too, sound even better than they did in the previous game. Everything from machinegun fire to the roar of a mechanical Godzilla analog sounds great in this game.

For those of you only familiar with the PS2 incarnation of the series, worry not. Shinobi III manages to have a tight control scheme and provide good fun, but without the excruciating difficulty. It's why I always look to the old school for a good time gaming.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Everyone's Arch-Enemy.
Jan 21st, 2008, 06:03 PM
This is probably my favorite Genesis game of all time...I still own the cartridge and play it regularly. The stupid "Traps" level always messes me up, no matter how many times I play through it, though I do admit it had the best background music in the whole game. I just loved the fact that you could expertly and infinitely drop-kick the bosses, whether or not you were on a horse, or a surfboard. Ah, to go back to the era where games didn't have to worry about little things like physics....
Forum Chaos Lord
Jan 21st, 2008, 08:44 PM
Is this the one in which Joe Musashi fights with Spider Man and Batman?
Everyone's Arch-Enemy.
Jan 21st, 2008, 10:08 PM
Naw, that was "Revenge of Shinobi", if I remember correctly.
Is a thin donkey
Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:38 AM
This game wasn't bad, but I always preferred The Revenge of Shinobi over this.
Inside your Head
Jan 22nd, 2008, 08:22 AM
Good game. I still likes Shining Force II over action style games. Where are the Old School RPG reviews )
Official forum judge
Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:12 PM
How about you just send an email to Dr Boogie than just complain on here?
Official forum judge
Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:30 PM
"Those of you who loved the music from the second game will not be disappointed, as Shinobi III boasts some great songs throughout, all done with a bit of an eastern flavor to them."
I hate to get all technical, but Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (1990) came after Revenge of Shinobi. Otherwise, great review. I think the added moves, as you said, make him more ninja like. The game was a vast improvement over Revenge, though, in every way. My only real complaint is that the timing on the double jump can get a bit frustating, having to do at the peak of the first jump.
Funky Dynamite
Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:56 PM
Bah, Shadow Dancer was about his son. This game is about the real Shinobi.
Official forum judge
Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:51 PM
They altered the story for the NA release, but yeah I guess. Also, I liked that they used a sad death theme, instead of that creepy one from Revenge.
Jan 30th, 2008, 06:46 PM
Shinobi 3 was one of the Genesis games I adored when I was growing up, along with Landstalker, and I still enjoy playing it. If Sega had spent more time with all the great game franchises from their past instead of wasting it on Sonic, maybe they would still be in the console business.