Shinobi

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The first mission of Virgin Games home adaptation of Sega’s Coin-Op hit was given away free on the October ’89 birthday issue covertape of Amstrad Action magazine.

Based on the covertape this game looks fantastic but your really wouldn’t want to play it.  The cassette version (sorry 464 gamers) relies on multi-load for each stage of each mission.

This means that each stage you complete is greeted with a wait for the next to load.  The flip side of this, of course, is what happens when you run out of lives.  Yep, you guessed it, you need to re-wind the cassette to the correct position to load the very first stage again.

Quite frankly this loading and re-winding and mucking around with cassette tapes makes the game unplayable.  However, got a 664 or 6128 (or an FDD-1 drive) and suddenly this game becomes easily one of the greatest ever seen on the Amstrad micros.

The faster random access of the 3″ floppy makes loading each stage much, much quicker.  Without any need to work out the tape counter.  The game becomes fluid and with it totally playable.

What you are then greeted with on disk based Amstrad’s is a near arcade perfect port of the game.  Indeed about the only criticism that can be levelled is the resolution is extremely low – Mode 0, 160×200 for 16 colours.  This gives everything a slight blocky feel over the higher resolution Sega games console (the Master System).

But that really is the only complaint.   The sprites are large and colourful.  All the features and action of the arcade is here.  Including the Spiderman ninja’s and bonus stages missing on some other home conversions.

It’s just pure fun arcade action and you are left wishing more CPC games were this good.

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