The Secret Of Shinobi=Calgon
“The Revenge Of Shinobi“, was one of the first games released for the Sega Genesis. It really helped showcase the power of the Genesis. Especially when compared to that of the aging NES. “Shadow Dancer: The Secret Of Shinobi“, the sequel is technically NOT a sequel. It is based on the arcade game Shadow Dancer, which was not a Shinobi game. And the port to the Genesis is yet a different game. That mixes the arcade games Shinobi and Shadow Dancer. Furthermore the American version of Shadow Dancer was changed to coincide with the first game, including changing the title character to Joe Musashi. Despite the brand confusion Shadow Dancer is still an excellent action game.
After the defeat of Neo Zeed in “The Revenge Of Shinobi” Musashi left for New York City, when his friend Kato is slain by mysterious ninja belonging to the Union Lizard, he once more sets off to stop the threat and avenge his fallen friend. Aided by Kato’s dog Yamato, and his ninja magic.
Shadow Dancer plays more like the Shinobi arcade game. For instance one hit kills you. Regardless of where he is hit so head shot or ankle shot will both deliver death. There is also a bonus game in which you must defeat as many foes as possible in the time limit. In the stage Shinobi free falls while tossing shurikens, it is quite fun and a nice diversion, playing well rewards you with extra lives. Your main weapon is the shuriken, you have an unlimited number these at your disposal, or can opt to play without them, this of course makes the game much more difficult. The standard katana is also at your disposal, this will mainly be used for up close fighting. You can also use various ninja magic. Use it well as there is only one per stage. So they are best saved for boss fights. You can make use a Yamato. He can attack enemies leaving them exposed for you to finish them. He can be hurt however so look out for him.
The games stages will take some strategy to tackle. This is no easy game. And getting down the flow of the game may take some practice. Nowhere is this more evident than during the boss fights. Each boss has a different pattern and will take you skill and time to overcome.
The graphics are very good. Even surpassing that of “The Revenge Of Shinobi”. The stages all look great, particularly the bridge level. The sprites are big and detailed on the screen. And the ninja spells look amazing.
The music while not as good as Yuzo Koshiro’s score for “The Revenge Of Shinobi”. Is still very good and gets the job done. The sound effects are done well also. From Yamato’s barks and yelps, to Shinobi’s spell casting.
The game can be unfairly tough at times. For the most part it’s not, but there are a few spots that are trouble.
I am not overly fond of the one hit kill system. But then again you could get killed very easily in the first Shinobi as well.
If you are not looking for a challenging game, then you need not apply.
The Bottom Line
Overall, fans of Shinobi will enjoy this as will fans of the arcade game Shadow Dancer, it’s not 100% accurate to the arcade, but what is? Action game fans will also find a lot to like in Shadow Dancer.