Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Shinobi

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Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Shinobi

Destroy anyone that gets in your way!

An evil organization of ninjas and outlaws known as “Zeed” have captured ninja children and taken them hostage! It’s up to Ninjutsu master Joe Musashi to venture into Zeed’s headquarters and single-handedly rescue his students while wiping out the opposing villains!

Shinobi is a side-scrolling hack and slash action game released in arcades by Sega in 1987. The player controls the ninja protagonist Joe Musashi with an eight way joystick and three buttons to attack, jump and use ninjutsu techniques against the evil criminals that lie between him and his captured students. An unlimited supply of shurikens can be used to attack enemies from a distance, but the player can also punch and kick enemies at close-range. Rescuing certain hostages will grant the player attack upgrades in the form of a powerful gun for long-range attacks and a sword for close-range encounters. There are also 3 ninjutsu techniques (also called “ninja magic”) at the player’s disposal: a sandstorm, a tornado and a doppleganger attack. The ninjutsu techniques vary depending on the stage, but they all have the same effect of clearing the screen of all enemies.

The game features 5 missions, each consisting of 3-4 stages in which the player must rescue all hostages to advance. In the final stage of each mission, the player must face off against a challenging boss. Defeating a boss advances the player to a bonus stage, where the player must fend off a horde of enemies by throwing shurikens from the first-person perspective. If successful, the player will earn an extra life.

Although Shinobi was not the first ninja video game when it was released in 1987, it remains one of the most popular and highly acclaimed ones from its era. After its original arcade release, Shinobi was ported to the Sega Master System and eventually the Nintendo Entertainment System, PC Engine and several home computer systems and downloadable emulators. Despite many of the ports featuring minor tweaks to the gameplay, the original arcade version of Shinobi is still widely considered to be the smoothest playing, finest version of the game.

Pro Tips

• Activating “ninja magic” will clear the screen of all enemies and can be used only once per stage. If used against a boss, it will inflict a great amount of damage.

• Bonus points are awarded based on how quickly the player clears each stage, along with additional bonuses if the player clears the stage without using “ninja magic”, or using only close-range attacks.

• Extra lives are awarded by achieving certain scores, completing the bonus round, or upon rescuing a special hostage.