Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
The Games Machine Star Player
Shinobi is another very close Sega conversion of its arcade big brother. Based on the much-exploited martial arts theme, it features Joe Musashi, Master Ninja, taking on the dreaded Ring of Five, a terrorist group holding children of world leaders hostage.
In a similar vein to Kenseiden and Captain Silver, Shinobi features the hero making his way through five horizontally scrolling levels - fighting terrorists and rescuing hostages. When freed, the children are kind enough to give Joe help in the form of better weapons, extra energy and access to a bonus round.
Nine ninjas leaping
For the bonus round the game switches to a 3-D view with Joe throwing shurikens at leaping ninjas. Miss one and he jumps down right in front of Joe to end the round. The reward for disposing of all the ninjas is 500 points and one of six ninja-magic spells. Their effects are varied but all prove invaluable in the right situation: they include metal binding magic which freezes all enemies on the screen, invincible magic that protects Joe from harm and flying squirrel magic which allows him to fly through the air for a short period of time.
Inevitably the Ring of Five won't let you have it all your own way. At the end of each level, a Ring Warlord has to be defeated, each has his own attack pattern and a single weakness for Joe to find and exploit.
Shinobi is one of those games that does nothing for innovation but is well presented. Appeal lies in its immense payability and addictive qualities.
Two-Mega cartridge: £24.95
Flickering sprites are made up for by fast action, neat animation, loads of colour, good sound and plenty to do - Shinobi is almost worth buying a sega console for.