One of the most well know classic Sega IPs is Shinobi, the side-scrolling, hard as nails ninja game. Sega has been working with developer M2 to bring their classic catalog to the Nintendo Switch with the Sega Ages line and Shinobi is the latest to join that lineup. How does this new port stack up in the modern day on Nintendo’s hybrid console?
Shinobi originally released back in 1987 and follows the ninja Joe Musashi. Joe’s mission is to bring an end to an evil organization known as ZEED and it won’t be an easy task. Shinobi built a reputation as being a very difficult game and nothing about that has changed over 30 years later. The game has a total of five missions that will test your mettle as you ninja your way through various enemies and five different bosses. Every level also has children from the Oboro clan that Joe has to rescue in order to complete the level. Some levels are even divided into two planes letting you jump into the background if need be which was a pretty cool thing back in the day.
A ninja is only as good as the tools and abilities he/she has at their disposal. Joe has the ability to throw his ninja shurikens, jump, and fight using melee attacks. There are also more powerful attacks you can unleash that will eliminate all of the enemies on screen. Of course these attacks can’t be used at all times so you can’t rely on them to get you through a level over and over. The visuals look OK today considering this game is over 30 years old but they are a lot more bearable when playing this in portable mode on the Switch.
So what can players expect to find in this Sega Ages version of the game? Well for starters you can adjust how many lives you start the game with and the difficulty so that you have a better chance of finishing it compared to when you may have played it all those years ago. There is also an Ages mode that gives Joe a white outfit and allows him to take an additional hit before dying. You also of course have the various filter and screen size options that you can always find in this line of games. Another handy feature is the ability to rewind if you mess up which is a very welcome feature. A level select option and online leaderboards round out the new features in this version of Shinobi. Now you can see how your ninja skills compare to those of others all over the world.
Sega Ages Shinobi is one of my favorite Sega Ages title to arrive in some time. The additional features that make the game a bit easier mean I don’t have to bang my head in frustration every time my ninja abilities aren’t up to snuff. For those who still like a challenge you don’t have to use the new features as they are just an additional option. Sure the visuals aren’t the greatest to look at but the gameplay alone makes this one worth picking up.
*Sega Ages Shinobi is available now on Nintendo Switch. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by Sega for this review.