(Sega, 1990)

In the war of the 16-bit systems, Sega started to get a nice lead over the rival TurboGrafx-16 in the early ninities. With games like the awesome 4 Meg Revenge of Shinobi here it no wonder. The Revenge of Shinobi is the sequel to one of my favourite arcade games and instead of just re-releasing the original Shinobi to the Genesis which would have been fine by me (especially since the NES and SMS versions weren't all that good), Sega makes Revenge of Shinobi (Shinobi II) an exclusive to their new 16-bit machine. Everybody loved the crisp non cartoon like graphics, the unforgettable music and sound effects, plus the challenging game play the series is known for. Revenge of Shinobi was easily one of the best games that year and it's still one of the best games on the Sega Genesis too and I'm going to tell you why.

The story starts off after Joe Musashi of the Stealth Ninja Clan successfully defeats Zeed and his crime syndicate. Zeed however still lived after losing the fight and only grew stronger over time. With Zeed's crime organization more powerful than ever, the all new Neo Zeed soon plots to end the Stealth Ninja clan once and for all. One day Joe Musashi would return to his dojo only to find his master near death and your future wife being held captive by Neo Zeed. With his master now dead and the Stealth in ruins, Joe sets out alone to get his revenge.

Its night time in a crime infested city.

The Revenge of Shinobi is an 8 level mission with 2 stages each and a boss battle. Each level as a certain theme to it like level 1 starts in residential Japan with rival ninjas and samurais as your enemies while level 3 takes place in a training base and now you have to worry about various gunmen and guys with flame throwers. The bosses were not only tough as 2 month old French bread; the bosses were some of the coolest I have ever seen in a game. Who can forget that giant fire breathing dinosaur in level 7? Heck, Sega even included the legendary Spider Man as the Level 6 boss and at one time Sega even had Batman as a enemy too in the rare early editions of the game. Strange but true! Batman was later removed because Sega didn't have the license from DC comics. So how do you know if your copy of ROS is the rare edition? Get good at the game and make it to the boss, that's how.

Maybe you should have killed him in the last game?

Like I said before; this game is really difficult but fortunately for you the Shinobi as some all new powers to master. No longer will only one hit kill you unlike the original thanks to the life bar. Secondly you now have the option to pick the style of magic as well. There are four different spells of magic to use: first there is the electrical force field that blocks you from 4 hits (great for when you get a POW item), the shadow jump can be used to increase your height, the walls of fire attack to clear the screen of weaker enemies or to soften up a boss, and finally the suicide strike that actually ends your current life but it also unleashes a powerful attack in the process. The magic is very limited so you have to be careful when you used it. Another thing to worry about is the limited number of ninja stars the game gives you, using the close range attacks is key to saving your knives.


One thing I noticed right away about the game was its realistic graphics, they were way better than anything out there on the 8-bit NES (which was currently still number 1) at the time. Who could forget that awesome life like introduction and all the realistic characters, if that wasn't enough, the rest of the game backed it up too with no one level looking a like. This game really impressed me with the 16-bit powers of the Sega Genesis and this made millions of NES owners quite jealous.

"If you think the graphics were good wait till you hear the music!" The Genesis itself may not have the best audio in the world but composer Yuzo Koshiro did everything humanly possible to make one of the best soundtracks in a video game and he didn't disappoint. Many of the soundtracks are so good; they could easily be mistaken for something on a CD. The sound effect can be a little scratchy at times but they still sound fantastic as well.

A ninja star is born!

Revenge of Shinobi has all the ingredients of a perfect game but a just a few things are holding it back just a little bit. I kind of miss the 3D bonus games from the first Shinobi and the game does seem a little too slow at times because there is no run option either. These are only minor problems though and Revenge of Shinobi is still a great game that will challenge you and impress you with its amazing presentation in all areas. Cool ninja powers, dangerous locations, big bosses, two different endings, and so much more. "Revenge can be very sweet!"



overall rating: 90/100

For 1 player only
graphics: 9/10
sound: 10/10
gameplay: 8/10
replay: 8/10

(Ryan Genno) 2002