Game: "Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master"
System: Sega Genesis
Published by: Sega
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
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.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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