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Old 03-14-2012, 06:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Revenge of Shinobi

The Eric Corp Gamer's RU Exclusive Review 32
The Revenge of Shinobi


Wow, it's been a very long time since I reviewed something, and man, do I miss doing reviews. Since the newest Shinobi game was released for the Nintendo 3DS in November of last year, I thought to review a classic and most controversial entry in the franchise,The Revenge of Shinobi, which was known for its unauthorized tributes (except Spider-Man until the 2009 VC release) of popular characters in the original revision like Batman, Spider-Man, Godzilla, the Terminator, Rambo etc. To avoid lawsuits, Sega removed the tributes and replaced them with a generic version of the bosses to allow the game to be re-released in the future. Ironically, The Terminator boss remains the only tribute to remain in the game, as of the 2009 VC release (though eventually, he'll be replaced, I'm sure of it).

The Revenge of Shinobi (or The Super Shinobi in Japan) was released in December 2, 1989 for the then-new Sega Genesis / Mega Drive. It is the direct sequel to the original 1987 arcade game Shinobi, and the first console exclusive of the series (not counting the Mega-Tech version, where it's basically the same game with a time limit based on how many coins you put in).


Story:
"Taking place three years after the first game, the criminal organization Zeed from the original game has since reformed and have renamed themselves "Neo Zeed." Neo Zeed decide to have their revenge on the Oboro Ninja clan and Joe Musashi by killing his master and kidnapping Joe's bride, Naoko. Joe, having reached the clan too late, manages to learn about Neo Zeed's plot by his dying master. Joe decides to travel the world to gain his revenge on Neo Zeed as well as try to save his bride before it's too late."
-Wikipedia's article on The Revenge of Shinobi

Graphics: C+
The Revenge of Shinobi, being one of the first games on the system looks quite impressive for its time, and it still sort of holds up even today. Joe himself, the enemies and bosses look very exquisite in detail, but they lack in animation overall. While Joe (obviously) have the most frames in animation, it still looks sorta choppy. The enemies and bosses have much less animated frames than Joe, to the point where it looks obvious even if you're not looking too deep into it. As for the graphical effects of your Ninjitsu, it looks good for the majority: the Ikazuchi magic is simply a yellow lightning bolt flashing when activated: lame, and you also get is simply a flashing lightning bolt shield afterwards. Next, the Kariu looks well made and cool-looking, the Fushin is just Joe turning his sword to his side, and then a neat blur effect afterwards, and Mijin has an amazing explosion effect for its time. The backgrounds are neat-looking and impressive for the first half of the game, but it sorta deteriorates as the game progresses, as some of the later levels' backgrounds due to either the graininess of it or the lack of detail. Also, I liked how in the very first level, they added stuff in the background like leaves flying along the wind and the day-to-night transition as you progress to make it look more interesting, though the Round 2 boss at the disco has not aged very well, as it looks more like a bunch of psychedelic colors being thrown at you, rather than what you would see in a disco. Unfortunately though, this was rarely used, as it could have been a nice feature to add to showcase more of what the Genesis / Mega Drive could do. However, if you look past the awkward sprite animations and uneven background quality in the later levels (and the ridiculous disco effect in the Round 2 boss), it still does its purpose and is regardless, quite a treat to look at for an early Sega Genesis game.





Gameplay: A-
The Revenge of Shinobi has similar gameplay to that of its predecessor, with some changes to make it differ. You take control of Joe Musashi again to put an end to Neo Zeed for revenge. You have to go through eight levels (or districts) with three sections each (2 normal levels, and a boss fight). There are four difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Hardest, each adjusting the number of lives and the amount of damage taken when hit. Unlike the original, the gameplay is more linear as you just simply reach the end of each level, while taking on the enemies from the evil organization to stay alive and proceed. Unfortunately, The Revenge of Shinobi suffers from the "Pushed Back Syndrome" a la the Castlevania and the Ninja Gaiden games for the NES, where you are pushed back by either touching an enemy or being hit, leaves you with no sort of control when this happens, leaving you flying into a bottomless pit, if you're not careful. Thankfully, you now have a life bar (start with 8 bars) to survive more than just one hit, which is a good thing. But also every 100,000 (until you reach 400,000), you'll get an increase in max health by 2 bars until you reach 16, unless you get Game Over, which it'll reset back to 8. Luckily, there are boxes (and secrets, if you can find them) scattered throughout the level that you receive something rewarding like more shurikens, health, 1-UP, 1 extra ninjitsu use, and a power-up that makes your attacks stronger and protects you from projectiles when moving while standing or ducking (and even to the point where you could block and even hit things that doesn't seem possible, believe me), but it is lost when hit. As a result to the addition of boxes with items, you are now resorted to limited shurikens, so you have to take note of you supply or else you are forced to attack up-close (you can normally by being up-close to an enemy). Fortunately, the game offers 4 choices of ninjitsu, each of them having different abilities to use: Ikazuchi (protects you from 4 hits), Kariu (kills all normal enemies on screen and damage bosses), Fushin (jump much higher than usual), and Mijin (sacrifice 1 life (if you have "1" on your life counter, or else Game Over) to kill all normal enemies on screen and severely damage bosses, while healing you completely, but reseting your ninjitsu count back to 1, can be used indefinitely). The overall level layout of the game are pretty good and challenging enough; it also has a decent variety of obstacles and challenges that prevents every level from looking the same from one another. The most notable flaw layout is the infamous annoying jump segments in the China Town (LV 6-1) and the Harbor (LV 7-1) levels, where the jumping distances between platforms are so far apart that you have to time your jump at the end of the platform that you are on, in order to reach the other side via the double jump, or simply resort to using the Fushin ninjitsu to not take a risk at it. The enemies of this game are quite varied and differ from each other to keep it from being boring like ninjas, ninja dogs, samurais, army guys, martial artists etc., with each of them have at least 1 re-colored sprite, which makes them stronger than their normal counterparts. The bosses in this game are great and a weird line-up like the big blue samurai, a ninja with a blur effect, and a brain in a computer (What are you doing there, Mr. X? Don't you have a city to blow up?...) especially the original revision's of the tributes, which provide the game with charm and appeal. Since the later revisions remove these bosses (except the Terminator), it removes the aforementioned things from the game. Nonetheless, the bosses still expresses good challenge (except Neo Zeed himself, who is ridiculous easy, compared with the other bosses). Speaking of Neo Zeed, there are two endings you can get that depend on whether or not you save your girlfriend Naoko, but the differences are very minimal, other than whether or not it is day or night. And is Naoko with you or she's dead? That's it. Weak for people that was expecting more out of it. Despite suffering from BPS and some of the awkward level layouts, the gameplay of The Revenge of Shinobi still shines through.


Sound: B+
The soundtrack, made by the famous Yuzo Koshiro (notable for the music in the Streets of Rage series, the ActRaiser series, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl) for The Revenge of Shinobi is some of the best I've heard on the Genesis / Mega Drive, which contains a lot of cool techno-style compositions, with some of them greatly mix with the feeling of the ancient Japan's style of music. I only wish they didn't feel the need to constantly repeat some of the earlier levels' music, especially in the later levels, and at least produce more new music in the game instead. Nonetheless, they are still a treat to the ears. As for the sound effects, they are okay for today's standards. Most of them sound tolerable like the slashing sound, the standard collecting effects and the explosions, though there are some that they could have improved on. The shuriken being reflected sounds like a metal pin hitting on a metal floor from a very high location, and the digitized voice samples (Joe activating a ninjitsu, and Neo Zeed laughing) does not sound all that good, as it sound somewhat staticky and not very clear to hear. Overall, the game boasts an impressive 16-bit soundtrack even to this day (though it may get a bit repetitive to some people as you progress through the game), and the sound effects are mostly decent that they aren't annoying or weird, save for a few, but nonetheless, it still shows relative great effort in the sound department.


Controls: A-
The controls are very niche and fluent, as everything you feel that you are in control. Walking, ducking, throwing shurikens, and controlling how high you jump, depending on how long you hold of the JUMP button, and they all feel smooth and controllable. To make it even better, you can change the control mapping within the Options screen that best suits you without being forced staying at the default controls. However, on various reviews on this game, the most common complaint of the controls of the game is how to do the double jump, where you have to time it around the apex of your normal jump to do so. I'll admit, mostly newcomers, casual gamers, or basically anyone who can't take "hard as nails" (or even those types, too), there is a somewhat deep learning curve, trying to execute it. But with enough practice, trying to do the double jump is easier than you previously thought it was. While some may have problems with the double jump, the controls still remain simple and intuitive.

Replay Value: B-
People who can take the game's challenge would most likely or attempt to beat the game at a higher difficulty would play this once in a while. Though newcomers, and casual gamers would rather prefer to play an easier game that'll suit their gaming standards than this game would them. Only people who can take the game on would replay it, others may want to stay away from being frustrated from this game.

Overall: B+
The Revenge of Shinobi still to this day remain a brilliant entry in the series that shined back then, and its' spark is still shining bright to this day. I actually find this game to be my personal favorite in the series, which many people would prefer the 1993 sequel Shinobi 3 over this, but I choose this, not only due to nostalgic reasons, but also for its charm, soundtrack, and its' simple but very enjoyable gameplay. A couple of minor issues aside, the game shows that sometimes revenge can be sweet.


2012 Eric Corp Incorporated

If you wish to play The Revenge of Shinobi:
Retro Uprising - Arcade - Shinobi, The Revenge of

NOTE: The version included on the site is unfortunately, the one that has the tribute of popular characters replaced with generic designs and the actually licensed Spider-Man.

Last edited by ECInc2XXX; 03-21-2012 at 12:35 AM..
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