System: Sega Genesis
Title: Shinbo 3: Return of the Ninja Master
If nothing else, the Genesis featured many very good and fun games. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master decidedly was among these titles. While I cannot remember how I found out about the game, I do remember I bought a used copy and enjoyed playing it thoroughly. Story
Neo Zeed has returned to threaten the world once more. The evil syndicate was thought defeated 2 years earlier by the man known as the “Shadow Master”. Joe Musashi (the Shadow Master) felt their return and most depart from his mountainous home in Japan to defeat Neo Zeed.Gameplay
The game progresses steadily, giving you obstacles early on so that you learn and can practice some of the more complex moves in the game. This was the game to introduce the dash feature and a few new moves as well, such as his ability to jump-scale walls, the Jump-Kick Slide attack and a few others. The game also features 4 Ninjitsu attacks. Unless a Ninjitsu item was collected, one ninjitsu technique could be used per level. The gameplay changes slightly during the Horse level and the Jet Board level, shifting focus more onto aiming your shuriken properly or dodging.Multiplayer
Very simple and easy to use is the best way to describe them. Most tricks can be found simply by messing around a bit. Sometimes it is easy to forget that “A” triggers your Ninjitsu move, which can be changed in the Pause menu, so keep that in mind. Double tapping left or right will cause the character to run, and using “B” during this will have him Slash his present melee weapon.Graphics
While dated at this point, the game offers very smooth graphics for the era. While I had not played the game in years, I was somewhat surprised at the graphics that the game offered. Definitely this was one of the few games that successfully managed wonderful graphics without offsetting anything else.Sound Effects & Music
Some of the sounds can be a little annoying, but not enough to warrant turning down or off the sound. The music is well done and generally fun to listen to. More often than not, I will listen to the game music than have something else on.Obscurity
Many regard this as the best Shinobi game of the day. Of moderate obscurity only.Summary/Author’s Take
Even after all these years (as the game is over 17 years old), this 16 bit title still amazes me. Even with the other entries into the series since it, it is still a great game to sit down and play. This is a game that does mark a great series and set the scene for it to keep going. This is one game I heavily recommend for anyone who wants to play a good side-scrolling slashing game with some decent variety in it.
Story: 79% While simple, it at least is linked to the past games in the series.
Gameplay: 83% Many innovations and easy to learn
Multiplayer: n/a None.
Controls: 81% Fairly easy to learn, takes some practice
Graphics: 90% Excellent for the time
SFX & Music: 93% Enjoyable, volume recommended
Obscurity: 45% Well known by classic Genesis gamers
Overall: 84% A recommended Genesis game