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With games like Afterburner, Space Harrier, and Outrun, Sega deserve their place at the top of the arcade coin gobblers.  Shinobi is a extremely high quality scrolling platformer that cements their place.

You play the titular ninja Shinobi and you must make your way through 5 missions, with 4 stages each, saving kidnapped children from the evil Zeed clan.  Your main weapon is your ninja throwing star which you fire like bullets.  If enemies get to close then you can give them a quick swipe with your Katana instead.  And, just in case things get too frantic, you also have a once per stage ninja magic button that eliminates all enemies on screen.

What will strike you first is the size of the sprites.  The huge sprites that are extremely well animated.  Then there’s the number of on screen colours, the resolution, the bright colour palette, the sound track.  Shinobi is a title that shows of Sega’s 16-bit System 16 arcade boards at their best.  Jaw dropping.

If I had one criticism, it’s the jump button.  It’s kind of counter intuitive (but easy to get used to).   Up on the joystick does nothing, down ducks.  Jump is on a third fire button.  However, fire and up or fire and down switches between the two levels.  I’d have preferred jump was up on the joystick and only used the third fire button with platform changes.


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