Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shinobi II: The Silent Fury

Shinobi II: The Silent Fury for the Game Gear is a pretty unremarkable game. It has some interesting ideas, though nothing particularly original, and it is all hampered by clunky controls. This is one ninja game where you don't feel much like ninja. You aren't particularly fast, deadly, or stealth, not that I'd expect that element from a Shinobi game. My biggest gripe with the game is that Sega had Yuzo Koshiro do the soundtrack, and the Game Gear hardware just doesn't do the man justice.

The schtick of this game is that you don't just play as the one ninja, you play as five ninjas, all with different colors and abilities. It's all very Power Rangers. The game has a rather non-linear setup, so you start with just the red guy, and you can choose any of the four stages to rescue the different colors by defeating a boss. You then have to return to the same stages and use the new ninja's abilities to reach a crystal of the corresponding color. After collecting everything and everyone, you can go to the final area and fight the evil black ninja.

It's a shame the game didn't expand on the idea of exploring areas using the different ninjas, which you can switch between in the pause menu. They could have used this mechanic to make the game more of a Metroid/Castlevania style exploration platformer. I guess they can't really be blamed in hindsight, it was only 1992, after all. It was just what my logical way I thought the game would be when I saw the non-linear level design and the different abilities, such as a double jump and walking on water.

I guess it's not a bad little game, but the clunky controls and slow movement put a damper on my enthusiasm for it. Oh well, at least it has cover art that is not only insane, but actually describes the content of the game pretty well. I do have one question, and it's not limited to just this game. Why is the default Game Gear font in italics? It's weird.

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