Ask yourselves this: Does a serious challenge make a boring game exciting? I hate to say it, but Sega really
did a number on this franchise. They've given the series a massive facelift, which isnt too bad a thing. Also, theyve changed
the mechanics of the previous games to suit the new three-dimensional nature of this new one. However, Sega has taken an old
school approach with this game, meaning theyve taken a minimalist, somewhat retrospective approach to presenting the game
for the new generation. I admire Segas intentions, if not their execution.
First off, the lead character is yet another uninteresting, metrosexual dude (a lot of them showing up in the
video games of this generation RAIDEN of Metal Gear Solid 2 fame, for one) named Hotsuma, who has to stop something evil for
whatever reason - I really dont want or need to recall, as the story is much too boring for me to even try to reference. The
one interesting aspect of the story involves the Akujiki sword the lead character wields throughout the game; the happenings
concerning the sword actually affect the gameplay in a very intriguing way, to tell the truth. The overall tale of a ninjas
revenge is old hat and at this point not that exciting without strong, identifiably great characters, which are nowhere to
be found in this game. The weak characters and bland story dont help to make the game exciting enough to play through, in
Next up - and this is where the game truly screws up the execution of the gameplay mechanics is just plain
sloppy. The controls are very precise and intuitive, which is a good thing. The game has many platforming sections and the
jumping controls are very good. The problem comes when the games platforming elements meld with the decent but flawed combat
controls. Reliance on slashing enemies brings reliance on using dash, which brings on dependence on using targeting. Every
nuance concerning the controls is so tight and specific, youd think the game was immaculatewell it aint. The trend of releasing
decent games half finished continued when this game was released. The camera is the most noticeable flaw, as the action moves
much to fast for it to keep up. Graphical glitches, which arent a big deal to me, are another sign...
The actual levels are bland, with washed out colors and repeated environmental patterns for every two levels.
The character models are not to my liking, but they're detailed enough for anyone impressed by the neo-ninja style. Visually,
I was not impressed with this game too much. Sega's "old school" approach is a little less recognizable in the graphics department,
but the influence is still all over them, considering the repeated enemies and environments.
I figure I'd appreciate the game's sounds a lot more if the game were more exciting. As it stands, the soundtrack
does a decent job, particularly the musical soundtrack, which sounds influenced by the 16-bit Shinobi games (Shadow Dancer
for the Genesis, in particular). Decent but not great sounds, overall.
There's are some serious challenges here in Shinobi for anyone willing to take it. On one hand, the game itself
challenges players to become intimate with the jump, dash, and slash controls, as well as the circumstances of the levels
Hotsuma negotiates. On the other hand, it may be a struggle just to stay interested in playing through the entire game. As
challenging as it may be, in my humble opinion, this game just isn't that fun.
Overall, I get what Sega was attempting when they thought this game up. Its a uniquely challenging game that
requires your undivided attention as you play. The problem is, the game is just plain boring (save for some of the bosses),
with long and extremely bland looking and feeling levels. I know some folks have the patience to actually play through this
game - heck, some will even brag about playing through the game multiple times for skill or to get the secrets. Ill admit
that the inclusion and acknowledgment of Old School Joe Musashi is great, but you still have to play through the boring game
with his character.
My rating: 4/10
-MIA Leory (MIA: Lgend)