It is no secret that I grew up in the Golden Age of gaming, an NES and SNES on my television and countless arcades everywhere. Unfortunately arcades are no longer as common as they once were, there may be two or three in the town I live, which is pathetic compared to what I grew up with. I use to enjoy the arcade classics of Rampage, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shinobi. I honestly haven’t played Shinobi In about twenty years, but Sega being insanely smart decided to release a version on the Switch and it is pure genius.
Dubbed Sega Ages Shinobi Sega decided to release the original arcade version with a few upgrades. The game looks just as it did in 1987 and controls just as tightly too. To jump you press B; and if you see an area above you press up and B and you’ll jump up there to save the ladies. When you need to get back down press down and B and you’ll be back on the ground floor. When you encounter a boss press A and you’ll unleash your special move to knock down some of their power bar. Y is attack, you shoot out your shurikens at the beginning but if you’re successful in the level your weapon will slowly get better.
This game is HARD! I mean it was made by Sega to be a quarter muncher and I remember putting lots of my allowance into the machine at the arcade. You get to play the original Arcade version, where you need to save a certain number of damsels in distress before you can exit the level. Thing is, if you get hit ONCE you have to start the level over again and re do all that you have done. In Ages Mode if you die everything you accomplished is still done, you get the best weapon at the onset and it takes TWO hits to kill you. Ages Mode is for the current generation of gamers, but it still is tough, even with that extra hit.
You play as Ninjutsu master Joe Musashi and are tasked with stopping the terrorists by mostly running to the right, then a little to the left. You must rescue ladies in distress to advance, but, even when those ladies have been saved enemies still spawn to get you, so NEVER let your guard down or you’ll find yourself at the beginning of the level again. The levels are short, but can very challenging due to enemy placement and hostage placement, make sure you’re always shooting or someone will get you by surprise. I will also add to use the D-pad instead of the control stick. The D-pad isn’t as floaty as the control stick which means you won’t miss jumps or get killed by aiming in the wrong direction.
Sega added a rewind option to the game, but I didn’t find myself using it that much. I just kept replaying the level until I finally didn’t get caught off guard and defeated the enemy that kept surprising me. The game is very short and has little replay value with it which somewhat stinks, but for the price of admission it is worth it. Another addition I welcomed was the fact that you can save at any point in the game. I would have killed for this in the 80’s, many times I was called away from the machine to eat pizza or watch the host unwrap their birthday presents so I never go to see the end of the game. Sega has changed that for me, and now as a forty something I can complete my dream of beating Shinobi.
It looks like Sega had a great idea with these Sega Ages downloads, eight dollars for this masterpiece is a great price point. I’m going to scour the eShop some more to see if they’ve released other classics I’ve not played in years. If you are a fan of Retro games grab this, if you like a challenge grab this or if you want to see where our hobby has been grab this. You will not regret buying this amazing title and playing one of the best action platformers out there.
This review is based on a final code provided by SEGA