A true graphical treat has appeared on the Game Gear in the form of the classic hack 'em up, Shinobi. As a white-robed hero, who looks unnervingly like a stand-in for Abba, you battle your way through various scenarios using your lethal scimitar. Your aim is to free your kindred spirits (or the rest of your pop group).

The game is divided into four locations, namely Highway, Valley, Harbour and Woodland. You can realise any 'vandalistic' fantasies by jumping on cars and lorries on the Highway, taking on nasty terrorists and exploding men whilst you gad about collecting extra lives and energy bonuses. But make sure you don't fall off, or you'll be mowed down by on-coming traffic. In the Valley, you can experience death by drowning in a whirlpool if your log-jumping tactics aren't up to scratch. And you may be rather dismayed to learn that you'll also have to hack up several bikini-clad beauties on your way, but personally this didn't bother me one bit. Huge scythes are hurled at you as you hop from branch to branch in the Woodland, whilst so many thugs attack you in the Harbour that you'll need all your wits about you (and more).

But best of all, the multi-scrolling graphics are beautifully implemented. There are lush backdrops and all sorts of different moves for your hero (let's call him Bjorn), who can crouch, duck or jump to avoid oncoming shots, or teeter on the edge of a log, lorry etc.

Shinobi has a good variety of gameplay which is tricky enough to keep you going back for more (and more). It also boasts neat, bouncy sound but, more importantly, Shinobi uses the Game Gear to its best potential. A must for any Gearer's collection.

Zero magazine

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