The Revenge of Shinobi

Three years later...

Source // Gamefabrique

I actually played The Revenge of Shinobi before the original Shinobi, and I was pleasantly surprised with Shinobi - to a point. The Revenge of Shinobi follows on from events in the first game, seeing the heroic Joe Musashi get some revenge on Neo Zeed, a criminal organisation formed from the ruins he left behind in the previous game.

What is he getting revenge for? As an accomplished ninja in a video game, his master has died after being kidnapped and Joe doesn't want to see his future bride share the same fate. You must head out through stages and boss fights to find her and take your revenge on Neo Zeed.

Given how successful I was at Shinobi, I'm going to apologise to Naoko now, because she likely won't be saved by my inept hand. Let's give it our best shot, though.


Yeah, so, didn't get too far... 

The Revenge of Shinobi feels alright. Kind of. It looks great, but you move with a peculiarly slow walk animation, then jump higher than Superman. You've got a bunch of shuriken to fling towards your opponents, but many of them just jump out of your way, hanging around on higher platforms or just not seeming to care for you in the slightest. When you hit them, they explode. Of course they do. Everything seems to explode in this game.

Get close to an enemy and you can kick them in order to save shuriken (difficulty levels increase or decrease the amount you start with, and reserves can be replenished with powerups), but if you feel particularly threatened by the enemy you can trigger a special attack of sorts.

Truth be told, I don't have a clue what they do. One of them wraps you in lightning, which looks alright, I suppose. They're not screen cleaning. Or maybe they are. I am most certainly the wrong person to ask here.

Fun Times

I got not real enjoyment from The Revenge of Shinobi, so had to watch a playthrough in order to see what I was missing. Stages are split into short sections and ended with boss fights, and the traditional Japanese bamboo forests are soon replaced by the urban jungle as Joe battles rifle-firing, grenade-lobbing soldiers on busy highways and other strange, out of place scenarios.

If that's the kind of game you're after, fantastic, because there doesn't appear to be much else going for it.

Final Word

So what am I missing with The Revenge of Shinobi? It has been rereleased down the decades in a few forms, so it must have something, but I just can't see what it is.

Maybe I can point to The Revenge of Shinobi as the exact point in video game history where ninjas became bland or ridiculous, even though the game isn't necessarily bland or ridiculous.

I don't get it. I simply don't get the appeal. Maybe you'll be screaming at me with a much more different opinion after you've tried it for yourselves.

Fun Facts

At one point in history, the license to Spiderman was put to use by redesigning one of the enemies into Spidey himself for this game. It still doesn't make me want to play The Revenge of Shinobi, though.

The Revenge of Shinobi, developed by Sega, first released in 1989.
Version played: Sega Mega Drive, 1989, via emulation.
Version watched: Sega Mega Drive, 1989, via emulation.