Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Review
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Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Review

Our Review by Carter Dotson on February 8th, 2011
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EMULATED ULTIMATE POWER
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Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is another iOS version of a Sega Genesis game, this one being the finale of the classic Shinobi series, that has you fighting enemy forces as the deadly ninja Joe Musashi.

Developer: Sega
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4G, iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Sega's back with another Genesis classic on iOS. Next up is Shinobi III: Revenge of the Ninja Master, the action-platformer that has you controlling Joe Musashi, ninja extraordinaire, who is out to destroy the Neo Zeed crime syndicate, yet again. His main weapon is the use of throwing shurikens, though you also have a close-range slash attack, and a midair dive kick. Of course, your most powerful weapon is a supply of limited-use ninjitsu, that include a screen-clearing blast, enhanced jumping ability, a lightning shield, and a suicide blast that does extreme damage to on-screen enemies, but costs you your life. You might be wondering what the use of this attack is, but it also respawns you in the same spot with full health and an additional ninjitsu, which is a huge help against tricky bosses; this includes most of the bosses in the game, however, and as this is an old-school Genesis game, you have a limited selection of continues to get through the game's 7 levels.

While Revenge of Shinobi may be the more notable game in the Shinobi series, Shinobi III might just be better, being much looser, faster, and more acrobatic than Revenge of Shinobi was. I always had a problem with Revenge of Shinobi's pace, as I never quite felt like a ninja; in this game, you definitely get to feel like the kind of acrobatic killing machine that a ninja should be. Shinobi III is especially notable for its music, composed by Yuzo Koshiro, who is most known for his work with Sega, especially the Streets of Rage and Shinobi series. The upbeat electronic work he provided for the game is well worth wearing headphones for. Sega's iOS emulator is still a fantastic piece of work, with the game never lagging or slowing down on newer devices.

The controls will be hit or miss for many. If you despise virtual d-pads, or didn't like the controls in Sega's other iOS Genesis games, then you'll likely not start loving them here. While the button controls work well enough as there's no use of buttons simultaneously (which is what sunk the iOS version of Gunstar Heroes), the experience is overall not as accurate as physical controls, and when moments that require quick reflexes come into play, you may become frustrated with the game. If you can, play this on the iPad (though it is not a native game); the controls are slightly too large there, but are at least more accurate than on the smaller screen.

Shinobi III is a very fun action game that holds up well to this day, and while the controls are an occasional nuisance, they do not detract enough to take away from the game's action fun. Even if you've never played it, this one is worth picking up to relive the Genesis era in some little way.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master screenshot 1 Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master screenshot 2 Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master screenshot 3 Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master screenshot 4 Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master screenshot 5
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