Review by Moochthemonkey

"Remember, Shinobi throws SHURIKENS, not NINJA STARS."

Shinobi is back with his third game for the Genesis. In my opinion, this is by far the best one yet. You play as the acrobatic Shinobi, the ninja that finishes off his enemies with a series of kicks, shurikens, or even his ninja super powers, ninjutsus. While Shinobi has been replenishing his health on mountains far away, the Neo Zeed Organization, which has reconstructed, are planning a secret attack on Shinobi. Shinobi senses this, and he knows that they are stronger than ever. Use every bit of Shinobi’s select sword and potent shurikens, as well as his dominant techniques, to finish off the malevolent organization as you blaze across over twenty-five brilliant levels.

Gameplay is much faster paced from the last Shinobi. Big factor here and it is a good thing. This allows the game to be easier, but still just as challenging. You will have fun playing the game three times or so, on easy mode, and then you will want to go for a bigger challenge on normal and even hard mode if you get that good. The controls are also easier to use, you will not have to mash the A button multiple times to jump.

Fighting of enemies and advancing to the next stages is very enjoyable and exciting to do. The soldiers of Zeed’s army are supposed to be clones of Shinobi, so they won’t be a walk in the park to finish off. The unique bosses were created with excellencies, you will find that the bosses have a lot of depth. Some bosses include a brain that flutters around like a fly, a grotesque purple monster that needs braces bad, and even a robot-dragon.

Shinobi has a bunch of furious ninja-attacks and acrobatic moves. Shinobi uses his shurikens to attack, whether he is throwing them, engaging to close up combat, or even blocking some of his foes machine guns or other hazardous attacks. Pick up a power up and the ninja will throw sizzling fireballs and he will even take out his matchless sword. You will also want to use the walls to your advantage. Shinobi can pull off some awesome jumps, as well as amazing somersaults in the air. He can even jump from to wall, as if you are playing a game of pong ninja style! You will also ride a horse and a jet ski, giving you a new array of similar attacks as well. Of course, Shinobi would not be complete without his superpowers, ninjustus. When you are in some serious trouble, just bust out an electric force field our even cause arson to your enemies by accessing pillars of flames. If you need to reach lofty heights just summon the Justus of Fushin, and if completely necessary, you can turn into a suicidal bomb even though it is extremely powerful.

The Graphics in Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Master, easily surpass the lame graphics of the prequel. Shinobi and other characters appear much larger, and highly detailed. The sprites are very well done for a Genesis game. The level designs are near perfect, with animated backgrounds and gorgeous scenery. Sega did a great job with the visuals. Sega also did an outstanding job with the audio and sound. The ninja theme songs flow perfect along with the levels, even though the music is a bit odd. Sound effects like slashing swords, explosions, and alarms, are quite peculiar too. However, when it comes down to the area of sound and graphics, Sega did a superb job.

There are a few trivial flaws in this game. The game is a little bit on the easy side, but that really is an insignificant matter. It will probably take around 2 hours to beat it for the first time. Shinobi fans could have also asked Sega to put a little more time in this, maybe by putting another mode included in this game, possibly a multiplayer mode, but that would be too much to ask. In addition, this game doesn’t have much replay value, you will probably get bored with it after you beat it for the fifth or sixth time. However, in the future, when you decide to pull out your old dusty Genesis, this is a game that you should definitely consider playing again.

There are some minor flaws in Shinobi 3, but otherwise this game is outstanding and Shinobi will receive the deserved score, 9/10. If you enjoyed the Shinobi for the PS2, then this game is an essential buy for you. It will look great in your Genesis collection.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/12/03

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