By: Sega Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega Master System First Day Score: 331,150
Also Available For: Arcade, Nintendo NES, PC Engine, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
Download For: Wii Virtual Console, Xbox 360 Live Arcade
The original version of Shinobi was a fantastic game for its day and proved to be extremely popular, but for many years the only version of it I knew was this version that Sega treated all of its loyal Master System customers to. It’s one of the few conversions handled by Sega themselves and happily it’s a splendid version of the arcade great, arguably the best, but it’s not identical. The game’s story is still the same, which involves the children of the Oboro clan (or of various world leaders, according to the Western versions, as I recall) being kidnapped, but unlike the arcade version where rescuing the children was mandatory, here you don’t actually have to rescue them. You can though, if you want, and it’s a very good idea to do so anyway, for each one bestows upon courageous Joe a reward of special magnificence!
The biggest and most immediately obvious difference between this and the arcade version (as far as gameplay is concerned) is the existence of a life-meter. Poor Joe would keel over after a single hit in the harder, money-grabbing arcade version, but here you afford to be a little more reckless! This does make the game easier as you might expect, but don’t expect it to suddenly be a walkover because it’s not! This is still a pretty tough game and one that I never managed to complete in all my years of trying (although I could get to the final boss without too much trouble, after all the practise I had!). The actual stages themselves, though, are faithfully recreated and contain the same enemies and obstacles as their parent, and playing through them is pretty much unchanged.
As previously mentioned, the poor, traumatised children being held hostage in positions of questionable strategic significance are apparently each in possession of a special reward that Joe will receive upon rescuing them. Unlike the arcade version in which Joe starts with shurikens before he obtains a gun, here the transition takes longer. His normal shurikens are first upgraded to a rapid-fire variety before being replaced by fast-firing knives, then small, bouncing bombs, before he finally receives the powerful gun, with each upgrade being provided by a child. There is also one each stage which will allow entry to the between-stage bonus round seen in the arcade version. Successful completion of this then rewards Joe with ninja magic, and if you manage to take out a blue ninja during this round, you’ll get two magics instead of one!
Others child power-ups include one which extends his life-gauge and another which refills it to maximum. Each stage features a power-up child, and one to bestow each of the other rewards mentioned. Any remaining children on a stage will award Joe with bonus points. Anyway, enough talk about children, that’s pretty much the only differences between the two versions other than the aesthetic. The humble MS does a decent job of replicating the graphics of the arcade version though. The sprites are understandably a bit smaller and suffer from some trademark MS flicker when a few are on the screen at once, but apart from that they’re a good match, and the backgrounds and bosses are all instantly recognisable too. The music is also reasonably accurate, although there are fewer tunes here, with the game instead repeating the same tune for most stages, but it’s a good one and is more prominent than the somewhat inconspicuous music of the arcade game. Sound effects are also superb here and very distinctive.
As most of you already know, Shinobi is overall a fantastic game. It was perfectly suited to the era in which it was made, but of a high enough quality to remain just as enjoyable more than 20 years later. Most conversions of it were at least pretty decent – even the Speccy gave it a good go – but the best conversion is usually acknowledged to be the PC Engine version which, with the exception of the missing bonus stage, is close to arcade perfect. It has, however, always been this mighty fine Master System version that I’ve had the most affection for. It has good, colourful graphics, catchy music, and challenging and additive gameplay which it’s hard to fault. Impartial I may not be, but anyone can see that this is about as good as Shinobi could be on the MS, and that’s very good!
RKS Score: 9/10
Diemon Dave is a real life ninja and is willing to teach you his art. Listen carefully to his words and try to follow his actions. If you want to know more, check out his website.
As you get ready for all the Halloween parties and Saw 13 you might want to set aside some money for console games. Sure, you could buy winter clothes or get that root canal you’ve needed for some time, but that won’t add to your collection of games now will it. It doesn’t matter if you have a Playstation 3, X-Box 360 or that awful Wii there is something for everyone this week.
Fallout: New Vegas
What goes better with nuclear waste than a $2.99 steak buffet. Fallout New Vegas features the Fallout 3 engine and was developed with members of the Fallout 1 and 2 team. It’s time to shine up your Pip-boy and load your weapons for some post-apocalyptic mutant hunting.
We got to see this in action at E3 and it looks really good. The art direction and style of Old Vegas mixed in with the lore of Fallout. You know the story and side quests are going to be fun and when you blast a mutant from miles away with the hunters riffle you will feel right at home.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2
Now if you haven’t heard of Naruto it started as a Manga character from the Shonen Jump magazine. From there it ventured out into Anime and video games and more. Naruto follows the story of a boy ninja who was ostracized as a kid and because of that acted out and got into lots of trouble, but in time he became a great ninja, or and he has a demon sealed inside of him.
Many of the previous games followed the story from the Anime with extra missions and side quests thrown in. In Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 the story picks up at the beginning of the Shippuden run with Naruto returning to the village about three years older after training with his master. From there he takes on new missions with his team and reconnects with friends from the village,
We played this game at E3 and it was really fun and looked just like the Anime. The fighting styles are great and you can pull off a ton of special moves that look awesome. In addition to the mission levels you can fight against each other in versus matches and there are over 42 characters to choose from. Honestly even if you aren’t into Naruto specifically, if you like a good story adventure game with great fighting mixed in then this is worth a look.
EA Sports MMA
Forget the WWE it’s all about MMA now and that means real fights, real blood and that EA will make a game for it. Mixed Marital arts is big and this game showcases some of the best fighters in MMA.
The game looks real good and it has a cool career feature where you can customize you fighter from his looks to his gear. From there you have starting skill points but must train in them all to be the best. Over time by winning fights you earn money to improve your training as well as gear and then move up to be fights from all around the world.
It has a ton of names from the world of MMA and a well-designed and fun to play versus system. Hey, if you bought Fight Night might as well give this a try too.
There are a few more games coming out next week, but if I had the time and the cash I would pick these up. Next week the wallet onslaught continues with a new list of upcoming games worth buying. Until then claim your weeks and start taking under the table jobs.
Have you ever known love and pure frustration all in one? I’m not talking about your girlfriend, I’m talking gaming. Ninja Gaiden for the Nintendo Entertainment System was a game I loved, but also one I grew frustrated with, so much so I destroyed my first NES over it.
Ninja Gaiden was released for the NES in March of 1989 after the successful run of the arcade version. Made by Tecmo the action packed side-scrolling platforming game was a hit with fans worldwide and is still acclaimed to this day. You play as a ninja named Ryu Hayabusa who is on a quest to avenge his murdered father. When Ryu arrives in America he finds out there is a plot by a man known as “The Jaquio” to take over the world.
As said the action is fast paced, but can be horribly hard. Your primary weapon is your katana, but you also have secondary weapons that require spiritual strength to use including throwing stars, windmill throwing stars and a fire wheel that gives you temporary invincibility. You find these weapons along with items to replenish your health, spiritual strength and even 1 ups by destroying lanterns and candles and other items hanging from walls.
Pretty much you are always running and moving forward which means you are constantly slashing at enemies and using your special weapons. Ryu can also climb ladders and can flip of walls to get to higher ledges. This may all sound easy, but trust me it is not. The first problem is like many games on the NES if you scroll from one panel to the next and back the enemy returns. What makes this horrible is when jumping from ledge to ledge and some damn bird knocks you to your death.
This was what hurt so much, Ninja Gaiden was a great game, it had cool graphics for the time and was fast paced and full of action. In addition it had awesome animated cut-scenes, cool music and a pretty good story, all things we want out of games. Then it had the worst learning curve of any game. Pretty much from Act 3 on you were in hell and when you reached Act 6 you were in hells toilet. It was not just the enemy placement and lack of health potions, many of the bosses were painstakingly hard and if you died it was a long way back to where you where.
Playing NG was like going through war, but once you did you were a better gamer for it and ready for the next installments of the series.