Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi

Moby ID: 10854
Genesis Specs
Buy on Genesis
$103.98 used on eBay
Buy on Windows
$0.99 new on Steam
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A.D. 1997, New York City

Having vanquished the evil crime empire, Neo Zeed, the ninja master Shinobi and his combat ninja skills were not heard from for some time. But a new threat arose, in a reptilian form that lived on vicious instinct alone. The colossal monster moved slowly and quietly, and its attack was relentless. The souls unfortunate enough to survive became hostages, and mass panic swept the streets.

It remained only for Shinobi to take action. His weapons were stealth and quickness of attack, his only allies facing overwhelming forces. Relying on Ninja weapons and magic, Shinobi fought on, assisted by his faithful dog.

Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi is similar to Shadow Dancer for home computers, and consists of five missions containing three stages each. However, there are a few differences between the two. For example, in this Sega Genesis/Mega Drive exclusive, the stages are different, and you rescue hostages rather than disarm bombs. Each mission ends up with you fighting a boss, and when you defeat each (except the final one), you also participate in a bonus stage where you must shoot all ninja flying towards you.

Some of the enemies are also quite different. Some of the lizards, which appear in later missions, leave a "lizard coin", which you can collect for bonus lives.


  • シャドー・ダンサー ザ・シークレット・オブ・シノビ - Japanese spelling

Groups +



Credits (Genesis version)

16 People (13 developers, 3 thanks)

Character Design
Graphic Design
Assistant Graphic Design
Game Design
Music Composer
  • Kankan
  • Tantan (as Tantan)
  • Hayhay
Test Player
Thanks to
  • Arcade 'Shadow Dancer' Staff
  • Arcade 'Shinobi' Staff
and ... Special Thanks to
  • All Players



Average score: 82% (based on 26 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 40 ratings with 6 reviews)

Decent game in the classic, 1987 Shinobi gameplay format

The Good
I'm pleased that this Shinobi game(actually different to the arcade Shadow Dancer, released a year prior) retained the background/foreground gameplay of the original Shinobi(an idea that may have originated in Namco's Rolling Thunder, Dec. 1986). It allows for defeating enemies with ninja-like stealth i.e jumping into the foreground/background behind your opponent and using your sword or an unarmed strike. Of course in this game, you can also command your dog to attack and immobilize an opponent, which takes some precision, as some opponents can defend against dog attacks, you have to wait till they're off-guard. Another nice addition is your mid-air strikes e.g if you time the button-push right, you'll flying-kick opponents who come near you while in mid-air.

So I think the game plays well, there are some decent bosses, the graphics and animation are good, the music is pretty good(Keisuke Tsukahara).

The Bad
It seems pretty short compared to other Shinobis, suddenly the game was telling me I was at the final boss. Arcade Shadow Dancer technically only had four stages, but it was probably longer with all the sub-stages. The final boss is really hard to beat, but even so he's not very impressive, mostly just sitting on his throne, sending ninjas at you. A better finish would've been a two stage, final boss battle, like arcade Shadow Dancer.

The Bottom Line
Better than Revenge of Shinobi(Super Shinobi) or Shinobi III (Super Shinobi II), truer to the original Shinobi and Shadow Dancer at the arcade. Ultimately disappointing, but worth playing right through once, at least.

Genesis · by Andrew Fisher (697) · 2018

Ninjas should have better armor....

The Good
Shadow Dancer had superb graphics and gameplay and the levels were very interesting. The programmers were smart enough to make it different than the arcade version by giving it more elaborate levels and different graphics.

Some complained about the graphics being different than the arcade version. However, I've played the arcade version and in my opinion the arcade version is all about eye candy and little to do with replay value. Arcade games tended not to have deep play mechanics. If it had been exactly like the arcade most players would have played it a few times and never come back to it.

Shadow Dancer on the Genesis actually takes some skill and strategy and has more imaginative graphics and levels than the arcade version. Its more fun.

The Bad
Its very annoying that your character drops dead upon being hit one time by any projectile, when the character in Revenge of Shinobi could take several hits before dying.

Revenge of Shinobi had great play mechanics, such as being able to double jump and shoot multiple shurikens. This ninja can't do that. He couldn't do it in the arcade either, but its strange that he would have lost such advantages in a sequel.

The Wolf who accompanies you in the game is completely worthless. It actually only served to distract me and get me killed when I played the game.

The American and UK version of the cover art is the single worst example of cover art for any video game I have ever seen. Many people avoided this game simply because of it. Sega of America did some weird things.

The Bottom Line
If Revenge of Shinobi hadn't been so wonderful this game would have been more popular. Its still an awesome game and should not be missed.

8 out 10

If you like this one you'll probably like Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi III.

Genesis · by Majestic Lizard (670) · 2006

My Shinobi Sense Is Tingling

The Good
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi is a solid, platforming sequel to the original Shinobi title. Our heroic ninja warrior must (once again) rescue hostages, beat up bad guys, bosses and the head of a strange reptilian-theme criminal syndicate.

Ok, it is not the most creative of story lines (and the American version differs from the Japanese one) but its still fun to play if you are in the mood for ninja platforming. The sequel has better graphics, animation, music and sound effects and a few other...interesting additions.

Along with the familiar set of ninja weapons and power-ups standard for the series, you got a loyal (and helpful) canine guard dog.

The Bad
Changes were made to the storyline in translating the game into English. Originally, you were the son of the hero from the previous game, where as the English version depicts him as being the former hero coming out of retirement. I think the original version is better.

The Bottom Line
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi is a solid, platforming sequel to the original Shinobi title.

Genesis · by ETJB (428) · 2013

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Katakis | カタキス.

Wii added by Charly2.0. Linux, Windows, Macintosh added by Foxhack.

Additional contributors: j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】.

Game added November 2, 2003. Last modified April 11, 2024.