You control a shinobi, Joe Musashi, who must battle his way through each level in search of hostages which must be rescued. You have shurikens, kicks and punches to defend yourself with, as well as powerful ninja magic which can clear the screen of enemies in one go.
Each level is broken down into smaller scenes, and hostages are guarded by big blokes who throw swords. Watch out for gun-toting enemy henchmen and ninjas.
Reaching the end of each level will find you battling it out with a boss. These range from 8ft tall giants to helicopter gunships.
In comparison to the original arcade version, there are a few missing features in the TurboGrafx-16 version (the status of the other home conversions is unknown): the machine gun, the bonus round and a few enemies (including the boss of the second mission).
The Amiga version contains this message to crackers, hidden within the game code:
Fuck me! I never thought you would do it!! Bet it took a long time though!
By the way, the only way to crack this game is if you have at least 4mb of fast ram... theres a hint! Are you enjoying this, by the way? Me (Richard Aplin) and Tim (the programmer) thought we might give you a little challange... I reckon I'll hold you off for about a week. Oh, by the way Quartex, you told me at the SAE party this would be EASY.. Well is it? I'm sure POPULOUS was easy too! (hehe)
Well, obviously you weren't fooled earlier!! I'm impressed! Not a bad bit of hacking.. but the best is yet to come!! Hehehehehe.. Just wait, cos now it gets REALLY good..
If you are reading this message on a pirated version of Shinobi, may all your days in prison be computerless!
Shinobi in Japanese means: stealing (into); spy; sneak thief; surreptitious visit to house of ill repute. The Chinese character displayed on the title screen and throughout the game is the character for Shinobi in Japanese.