Shinobi

Published by: Tengen
Developed by: Tengen
Genre: Action
Released: 1989

Shinobi (NES)

Shinobi is the port of the 1987 arcade action game developed and released by Sega. The game was originally designed by Yukata Sugano. The NES version of the game is an unlicensed NES game developed and published by Tengen, exclusively in North America. The gameplay is based on the Master System version of the game. The one big change is that Joe can not throw more than one projectile at a time.

The story differs slightly from the arcade version, in which the Zeed Organization has kidnapped kids from Joe Musashi's ninja clan. In the Master System version of Shinobi, ninja Joe Musashi must rescue the children of world leaders who have been kidnapped by the "Ring of Five". Joe must travel through the game to defeat the five ninja members of the Ring of Five and rescue the children. 

Joe can move left and right, jump, duck, and throw throwing stars. In certain areas of the stage, he can leap between higher and lower areas by holding up or down while jumping. This is necessary to explore the entire level and find all the missing children, but can only be used when accessible areas are directly above or below Joe. 

In this version, the player has a life bar which decreases as they take damage, unlike in the arcade version where they lose a life each time they are hit.

Enemies will rush Joe or attack with guns. If the player attacks an enemy at close range, Joe will use a melee attack instead of his throwing stars.

While rescuing the children was mandatory to face the boss in the arcade version, they are optional in the Master System version. Instead, rescuing children provides other benefits such as powering up Joe's throwing and melee attacks, and increasing or restoring his life gauge. Access to the bonus stages can also be granted from rescuing children; the stages can be played when the player moves onto the next section of the level.

In the bonus game, ninjas move left and right, and jump towards the screen. The player can aim and throw throwing stars at the ninja to prevent them from getting close. If any ninja gets to the player, the bonus stage is over, but if the player stops them all, a ninjitsu skill is awarded. 

The NES version features fewer weapons than the Master System version. All melee weapons are removed, leaving only the punch/kick attacks. Long range weapon upgrades include the knife and pistol.

Ninjitsu skills include: 
- Metal Binding Magic which stops enemy movement.
- Invincible Magic which makes Joe invincible. 
- Eight Hands Magic which clones Joe and damage all enemies on screen.
- Flying Squirrel Magic which let Joe fly. 
- Lightning Magic which uses lightning to damage all enemies on screen.
- Tornado Magic which creates a whirlwind around Joe.

The player can hold up to 5 ninjitsu skills.

The game features 5 stages. 

Mission 1 is titled "Pursue the terrorists" and takes place in the city slums. The boss is Ken Oh.

Mission 2 "Enter the enemy's hideout" take place in a harbour with the Black Turtle attack chopper as the boss. 
 
Mission 3 "Attack the logistic base" takes place in a secret base within a cave. The boss is a series of Mandara statues controlled by a supercomputer.

Mission 4 is titled "Destroy the enemy ninja group" and takes place in a ninja training camp. The boss is the Lobster.

Mission 5 "Defeat the behind-the-scene ninja" takes place in a mansion. The boss is the mysterious leader of the Ring of Five.

The vertical sections of stages from the original game have been replaced with additional horizontal stages in the NES version.

Shinobi is available on Wii Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade. The arcade version was also available as an unlockable in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for PS3 and Xbox 360.

Shinobi is followed up with several sequels including Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi, The Revenge of Shinobi, and Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master for Sega Genesis. A crossover title, Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, was also released for Master System.

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