Shinobi is an excellent (and very famous) arcade action game debuted in 1987 in the arcades by Sega. The game was converted to multiple home computer systems and video game consoles. The Nintendo NES version was developed in 1989.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Since its debut, the game was featured in eleven official Shinobi titles, in many gaming systems. The story goes as this: You control a master ninja named Joe Musashi who has to stop a crime organization called "Zeed". The "Zeeds" are kidnapping children from the Oboro clan to demand ransoms from their relatives or to do some experiments for their own purposes. Through five missions of gradually increasing difficulty, Joe Musashi must fight his way to Zeed's headquarters and free all the hostages before confronting some formidable fighters known as the "Ring of Five" who appear at the end of each level. The game's five missions are split into three or four stages in which Musashi must rescue all the captive children before he is allowed to complete the stage. There are also some levels in first person mode, in which you throw shurikens to destroy targets and gain bonuses. Shinobi's main weapon is the "shuriken" (aka the throwing ninja star-blade) and a knife that's used for close encounters. As an extra weapon, Joe can use a gun collected by killing some enemies, but with limited ammunition. One of the most important moves in the game is Shinobi's somersault, performed by tapping the jump-button a second time and needs some strategic timing. Overall, the game is a masterpiece in every version and needs some nice gaming skills to complete!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics on the C64 / 128 look good with detailed backgrounds and sprites (kept from the arcade version). Note that the action is faster and the sprites move smoother on the C64 compared to the CPC and ZX Spectrum. The sound is disappointing though and it's quite strange since the C64 could do better than that with its great sound hardware! The original intro tune is cool (and better than the CPC) but, during gameplay, only a few dull sound effects are available. In comparison, the CPC and the ZX feature include the arcade version's awesome in-game music.