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 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. Though its quite tough, everyone should try to play this game (at least once).
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics on the PC Engine are pretty good and much better than any other 8bit version. The backgrounds are colorful and the sprites are very detailed and move with smooth animation. Though plenty of detail is used, sometimes it's hard to see what's going on, especially when avoiding firearm shots! Oh yes, the color palette in this version makes the game particularly difficult. The sound features the old-time classic and excellent music theme from the coin-op, plus a few nice, stereophonic sound effects (like gunfire and shuriken hits).
In-game music sample:
PC-Engine / TurboGrafx-16 / TurboDuo
CPU: HuC6280 8bit at 3.6MHz MEMORY: 8KB RAM GRAPHICS: Dual 16-bit GPUs (HuC6260 Video Color Encoder, HuC6270A Video Display Controller), 64KB VRAM, 482 colors at once out of 512, 64 hardware sprites, Supports: 256 x 256 to 320x256 flicker free interlaced screen resolution. A 512x256 mode is possible through fiddling with registers, but not SOUND: Capable of generating clear digitized sounds and harmonized music. Use of "Turbo Booster" add-on, could generate stereo sound.