Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi

Moby ID: 10854

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 82% (based on 26 ratings)

Player Reviews

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

The Secret Of Shinobi=Calgon

The Good
“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 Bad
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.

Genesis · by MasterMegid (723) · 2007

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

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

Shinobi comes out of retirement & is a brittle old man.

The Good
This is a good Shinobi game, much better than the arcade rendition of a similar name (which is a different game all together). The bosses & bonus stages are fun & challenging. The dog never got in my way or troubled me. The stages look great. The bridge stage is a lot of fun. The statue of liberty looks great. At one point you have to fight 3 ninjas & a helicopter at the same time!! That is awesome & obviously deadly.

The Bad
This game is incredibly hard. I'm talking 1 hit death & lose all your lives in the first 2 minutes hard. I only absolutely needed to use the dog twice in the whole game. In the arcade game you need him a lot. He's still useful here but not necessary. The spin-wheel boss (#4) is very confusing as to how to attack it. There is a stage where shadows block your view & ninja's attack you in the dark. This is really cheap & incredibly hard.

The Bottom Line
Better than the arcade game & even harder. Stage, boss, & graphic variety keep you glued. You may have to unleash all of your cheating powers to beat this one.

Genesis · by Emperor MAR (2598) · 2013

The one time you thought you dodged a shuriken...

The Good
The game comes from the Shinobi series, starting from Shinobi in 1987. 5 stages, Easy controls & a good chance to get more retries makes the game looks easy and hard at the same time. With a dog that you can use, you can easily utilise him to disable one opponent while you kill others in a 4-on-1 fight situation. Power-ups helps to kill the ninjas, armored men & armored lizards in one hit. The bosses have life points that you must reduce in order to kill them. For easy mode, they have 6 points, and it increases depending on the difficulty. Try hard mode and you'll see colourful ninjas everywhere in the game.

The Bad
Some might complain on the game's one-hit-KO issue, and some might complain with the dog being a nuisance, but I'm seriously cool with it. The only issue here is that he does not have the double jumps, also remember the 1-time-use ninpo (the ninjutsu skill) restriction. Why would a ninja with an athletic build and great abilities have these restraints put on him?

The Bottom Line
A game worth playing to test your avoiding and technical skills. A must-go for this legendary game.

Genesis · by Ruz Kessler (1) · 2011

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

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Big John WV, Alsy, Patrick Bregger, Kohler 86, Riemann80, SlyDante, Jo ST, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), chirinea, Alaka, Terok Nor, Hello X).