Review: SEGA AGES Shinobi (Switch)


Hey, that’s NOT a ninja weapon!

Switch Shinobi boxAnother flawless and essential port by M2 with a few excellent modern options, the 1987 arcade classic Shinobi ($7.99) sneaks onto the Switch, and it’s just as hard as ever. There’s an easier AGES mode that changes lead Joe Musashi’s garb to white and lets you take more that a single hit (as in the Genesis and Mega Drive follow-up Revenge of Shinobi) and you can choose to use the new rewind function if you like to make things a bit easier. I’ll admit that I didn’t touch it for a few days until it was tested for review purposes and yep, it helped a lot in a few areas. But it’s not necessary to clear the game if you’re averse to it and want to do it the old-fashioned way. Well, minus the feeding the machine part.


As someone who’s played the game way back when it was released, the port brings back memories of being flustered at the first boss’ near invincibility and beating him taking a few credits more that I liked. The game is really tough if you rush in without studying patterns, using the limited ninja magic too soon and basically throwing money at the game until it’s beaten. Well, as noted that final part is not a problem anymore, as the budget price point here means you can play as much as you like and not have an empty wallet for the pleasure.


Dude. A real ninja would SWIM SILENTLY ACROSS. Eh, whatever works, right?

While the game is brief at five stages, it’s one that, like a lot of arcade games of the time was meant to be bested over and over to get you high score up at the top of the list. Games such as this were meant to get you coming back to the arcades to shake a fist at whomever “AAA” or some other name was who had beat your score by a lousy ten or a whopping few thousand points and you just HAD to plunk a few credits down to get your title back. Online rankings here do that, and as I check not even a day after release, I’m seeing some incredible scores out there. It’s a good thing I play games like this for fun.

The game also saves replays that can be accessed so you can see who beat your former high scores and still shake your fist at them because they have longer screen names these days as well as great skill at this game. Some things will never change, I guess. The port, as I mentioned is stellar, making this an essential classic that’s needed to be bought and played, even if you’re not good at it. You’ll learn at your own pace because those bosses need a beatdown and Joe’s just going to keep going when some other player gets good at this one. Besides, someone has to save all those kids in each stage from the sheer embarrassment of their parents all dressing them in Pepto pink ninja clothing, even though it makes them really easy to find.


Uh, that’s close enough, pal…

Score: A (95%)

-Review code provided by the publisher


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