|Blood and Gore, Violence
| The Good
Intense violent action
Good degree of challenge
Excellent CG sequences
| The Bad
Level design could be better
Camera angles add to difficulty
After a massive earthquake lays waste to Tokyo, a mysterious
golden palace appears at the heart of the city. At the palace
is the powerful sorcerer, Hiruko, who has unleashed demons
and a horde of evil ninjas upon Tokyo. The ninja Hotsuma travels
deep into the heart of the city, only to find out the ninjas
are the deceased members of the recently decimated Oboro Clan,
the same clan Hotsuma fought to the death with his brother
to take command of. At Hotsuma's disposal are a variety of
techniques, including wall running and the Akujiki Sword,
which absorbs the souls of defeated enemies.
At the heart of the Shinobi is a fairly straightforward
hack-and-slack action title. The player has at their disposal
a dash attack, which allows you to quickly move from one location
to another, a double jump and the ability to run along walls.
You can throw shurikens and even use magic attacks. The main
focus of the game is the use of the sword, which absorbs energy
from your defeated enemies, but if you don't keep killing
enemies, it starts to drain your own life. During each level,
you'll often be faced with a "packs" of enemies,
which, if you dispatch them quick enough, will treat you to
a short sequence of their bloody demise. Each level is fairly
linear and sets the player to get from beginning to end by
killing wave upon wave of spawned enemies and even includes
some platforming aspects. At the end of each stage is often
a challenging boss fight (even though some of the fights tend
to feel similar) and you get a score for how well you perform.
One of the nicer visual aspects of the game is the plethora
of finely produced CG story sequences that carry the story
along. The levels are solidly built, even if they tend to
look fairly repetitive. The level design, for the most part,
is pretty mundane, even though there are a few levels that
look better than others. While Hotsuma himself looks great,
the minor enemies tend to look okay, even though you may grow
tired of killing the same enemies over and over again. Spell
effects look nice and Hotsuma's quick dash move looks great.
Audiowise, Shinobi is pretty good. The music feels
appropriate and the sound effects work well. Voice acting
may not be the best ever, but it delivers the story as well
as it needs to.
Shinobi has a lot of style and action going for it,
but there are some things that really needed addressing. Along
with the boring level designs and repetitive action is a camera
system that only adds to the difficulty of the game. While
the game itself provides enough quality challenge, the camera
itself needs some adjusting, and during the heat of battle
can lead to some confusion as to where the next enemy is.
While the player can move the camera with the right analog
stick, you never seem able to keep up with the action during
a fight. Also, the cutscenes after killing multiple endings
gets old fast and considering that the game is basically killing
wave after wave of enemies, this grows tiresome after a while.
Shinobi isn't a bad game and fans of the original
series may want to give it a try. There's very little need
for strategy and the gameplay may grow weary to some, but
it does manage to have tons of style, challenge and action
to spare. Give this one a rent if you're interested.