Revenge of Shinobi review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Revenge of Shinobi

Revenge of Shinobi box artBecome the hardest Ninja imaginable - swing your katana, throw your shuriken, use your magic, and generally beat seven types of doo-doo out of the fiendish foes determined to stop your progress.

Anyway, it's a good thing you can do all these stunts as the baddies (the Zeeb) have kidnapped your girlfriend: to tescue her you must travel around the world, destroying their bases as you go.

Shinobi carries with him a limited number of shuriken (which can be replenished as the game advances) as well as his sword. He can also kick his foes, jump, somersault, and do a combination somersault/shuriken-spray attack. The best form of attack however is the devastating Ninjitsu magic: this comes in various forms depending on the game's level, and is crucial in order to defeat the end-of-level bosses.

With eight stages, each subdivided into three parts, and a big baddie to beat at the end of each one, Revenge of Shinobi is a huge game. It includes animated sequences and a host of options. Check the screen shots…

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" This has to be one of the most outstanding games on the Megadrive - or any console, come to that. The graphics are exquisite, the music superb, and the gameplay out of this world! I was suitably wowed by this game, and you will be too: there aren't many games around that are a match for this, which really pushes the Megadrive to its limit. I can assure you that you will be ecstatic with this if you buy it - it's what you bought a Megadrive for in the first place! "

" I'd be more than impressed if I'd played this game in the arcades. But on the Megadrive? Wow! It's an absolute treat for the ears and eyes. Each level is a graphical masterpiece, from the depths of Chinatown to the top of the tallest skyscrapers, and the animated opening sequence will leave you gasping with admiration. The sprites are simply superb - the animation on all of the enemies and Shinobi himself just has to be seen to be appreciated. On top of that are the incredible rock soundtracks and stunning sound effects! All that would be useless without decent gameplay, but Revenge of Shinobi doesn't dissapoint here. It's challenging and amazingly addictive and keeps you glued to the machine for hours at a time - I just didn't want to stop playing. Revenge of Shinobi really shows off the abilities of the Megadrive - if there's one game to buy for it, it's this! "


Overall Score94%

Retrospective comments


Jazza and Matt were spot on with their review of Revenge of Shinobi. As a die hard Shinobi arcade fan I was delighted to get this on Japanese import as soon as I could get my hands on it. Once I got used to the fact Shinobi Joe was now dressed in white, had to use his shurikens more wisely and had gained a energy bar I actually liked this game as much as the coin-op classic.

The musical score was excellent, the levels quite memorable and who can forget those ace graphics and the parallax scrolling? I had the version were youu fought Spidey, Godzilla and Batman - very bizarre! Still taking on Neo Zeed in the nightclub was the best bit for me, oh yeah and the dude with the mop on his head at the end of the game!! Top stuff.

Rich - 15 Mar 2008, 11:21 GMT

I was annihilated by this game when I got this.
It remained a mainstay in my filthy cart-hole til the end.

Simply one of the most perfect gaming experiences I've had.
The music from this game was the soundtrack to my teens.

I loved Shinobi on the Arcade and the Mastersystem, and being a fan of MS Shinobi, the selectable diffrent magics and the power meter thing were already familiar things. So I was drooling at the prospect of a Megadrive sequel. Saving up for it was a bitch being a skint teen back then I saw the review in CVG or Mean Machines and that was it. Decision made.
And thank god.

Within the first attempts I was immediately addicted to this epic, 16-bit powerhouse journey of shuriken dispatchery, and before long, that black-clad Ninja on the title screen would be the first thing I'd see in the morning. The graphics and sound were so good, that even if you weren't playing it, it'd be on the attract mode just like a screen saver...! Thats how much I loved this game. The very design of it just had so much raw, honest soul and I felt that the Shadow Dancer and Shinobi III games lacked it somehow. Sure theres no dog gimmick, or a random horseriding segment, but I came for the old school Shinobi action.
And this game gave us that in spades.

Still an absolute joy to behold.

Lady Michiru - 15 Jul 2008, 00:50 GMT

Joe Musashi was the coolest Ninja of the 16-bit era.

The infinite shuriken trick made it a little easier though.

Richard - 19 Sep 2008, 23:14 GMT

wasent the Terminator in it as well? (The junk yard level)...great game though - it had nuns jumping out @ya

Tris Wicks - 05 Nov 2008, 02:35 GMT

I hear these days Joe Musashi works in Derby as a recruitment officer for sainsburys. I much prefer him in the awesome REVENGE OF SHINOBI

Richy Girth - 14 Jan 2009, 01:17 GMT

Yes I should imagine that he is excellent on the fish counter, but wouldn't his insistance on giving you dead ninja when you ask for salmon annoy eventually?

firebrand - 26 Jan 2009, 02:44 GMT

While Revenge of Shinobi was a great game, I still think the sequel (Return of the Ninja Master) was superior in terms of graphics, music and gameplay. I never understood why so many people were more inclined towards ROS than RotNM.

Richy Girth - 08 Feb 2009, 16:54 GMT

Its a strange term to find myself using, but I think "Soul" is the reason that ROS/SS will always be my favorite.
Golden Axe 2 may have been surperior to Golden Axe technically, for example, but Golden Axe had the heart and soulllllllll, baby... :p

Dan - 12 Feb 2009, 11:12 GMT

ROS Vs ROtNM? - "It's kind of like Star Trek: The Next Generation ... It is in many ways superior, but will never be as recognized as the original."

The game itself is a total classic, Rich's "filthy cart-hole" wasn't the only one constantly ravaged by the throbbing powerhouse that was ROS. It was my 1st MD game and the only one never to leave my collection, the 2nd I saw that opening sequence I was blown away, and the game surpased the expectations set by it.

Remember mapping out that freaky door level? Who'd ever done owt like that in a platform BEU before? Amaizing levels all with "soul" and style, same with the bosses, music to thrive and thrive to, a million other things that gave the game it's magic......enough said, one of the best games ever.

VersasoVantare - 27 Feb 2009, 20:06 GMT

I personally feel that the Revenge of Shinobi had better level design and more interesting settings than Shinobi III.
Old platformers are a bit like 2D obstacle courses, and the obstacles Revenge put in front of you were a bit more challenging and interesting than those of its sequel.

Shinobi 3's a good game too, though for me the fun there is more in getting to use such a versatile, powerful protagonist. Joe's new moves were dead handy and a joy to use. I'd suspect it's a game that's probably better suited to speed runs than Revenge is.

Stayrsaigh - 22 Mar 2009, 01:57 GMT

I must say that I thought Shinobi III was one of the finest games ever to be made and I did think it was better than ROS, but lets not forget the foundations on which that was layed!

There would be no Shinobi III if it were not for Revenge Of Shinobi! It set the yardstick of excellence on what all Shinobi games henceforth would be held accountable to, and that's no mean feat considering it had to follow the arcade game!!!

Shinobi III was the student that surpassed the master, but the master taught it all it knows!!!

mitzibishi - 22 Jul 2009, 02:49 GMT

got this mag, albiet with the cover hanging off. remember drooling at the shinobi, golden axe gfx on the megadrive, had a spectrum at the time, got a megadrive swiftly after release. best mag at the time along with C+VG

mouphi - 27 Jul 2009, 14:02 GMT

mitzibishi, your life mirrors mine. I too had a speccy, but after playing on a couple of mate's Amigas, I decided it was time to upgrade. However, a classmate had brought in a "glossy" mag*, and after perusing the various screenhots, including E-SWAT and Altered Beast, I knew I had some severe parent-begging on my hands. There was something magical about the screenshots; it basically looked like arcade screenshots! Initially derided by those same Amigoids, I can stil remember their shock when first seeing the glorious MD in action. I remember one saying they'd get Golden Axe on the Amiga, and show me how much better it would be. It was a tragic, jerky mess!
Of course the Megadrive didn't always win - F22 Interceptor wasn't a patch on the Amiga flight-sim offerings - but I definitely felt I made the right choice overall.

*Can't remember the name, but it came out around the same time as MM#1 (maybe slightly before?). Maybe it was a C&VG console-only special edition?

Greg - 06 Oct 2009, 01:47 GMT

I disagree with the person who said Shinobi 3 was better, but maybe I'm biased.....
This was the first Mega Drive game I set eyes on. I still remember the feeling I got when the opening sequence began to play and to this day, as a 32 year old man, I still get a faint trace of that excitment when I play this game.
But it's not just the nostelgia that draws me in, ROS is excellent and has aged remarkably well graphically and musically. It's challenge level, replayability and depth are all first class. It's games like this that make me want to play MD games over and over again, comapred to the latest generation of consoles that will turn out one excellent game amaongst fifteen rubbish ones.

DJ Flatliner - 10 Jun 2011, 14:55 GMT

Caned my measly student to buy a megadrive back in the day - loved this game, the music alone was outstanding never mind the sublime and subtle gameplay. The maze level still brings me out in cold sweats.

Shinobi III was a different beast so you cant really compare.

The only other platformer that I can think of that blew me away like ROS was Strider...what a game!

Tim Chuma - 22 May 2013, 08:51 GMT

Another one that I had as one my first games for the Megadrive. There are two different versions as they could not get some of the licences for the bosses (the dinosaur skeleton was meant to be Godzilla), the Terminator, Batman and Spiderman. Sony Chiba is on the title screen! I only ever finished it once, but I always had fun playing it.

Lord Blooz - 05 Jan 2014, 22:10 GMT

What a great game, enchanting visuals and atmospheric music, with a haunting appeal that lingers. My first ever game on my Jap Megadrive with Japanese text, The aptly titled Super Shinobi! One of the best sequels ever.

Ninjah1982 - 19 Mar 2014, 20:44 GMT

Probably the greatest game on Megadrive alongside Streets of Rage 1&2, Sonic 1&2, Golden Axe 1&2..

Spot on @ Dan who said "the 2nd I saw that opening sequence I was blown away, and the game surpassed the expectations set by it." - couldn't sentence that better, thanx.

I must admit I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to nostalgia and such magnificent games the likes of this one, rocketing ahead of its time as if someone had brought it from the future in regards to its all-round excellence can make one teary-eyed whilst forced to reminisce heavenly memories,- superb graphics, atmospheric music and above all - outstanding game-play, resulting in eternal longevity.

I would have easily given it more than 94%, a game forbidden to collect dust in my opinion - up there with the ALL-time-greats!

Today's games have the most spectacular graphics and endless possibilities...

...yet they seem to miss a certain charismatic-charm that games in the 90's possessed; the power & quality of delighting, attracting & fascinating the players.

YawnBoyPest1957 - 23 May 2015, 10:16 GMT

Good game but slightly overrated. Clunky and slow compared to other shinobi games, comes off feeling more like an early castlevania. Cool music art and atmosphere makes it worth a revisit. Haven't played shinobi 3 but much prefer the slick, arcadey gameplay of the original arcade title. And for that reason I have more fun with MD Shadow Dancer than I do with this one.

Panch - 29 Feb 2016, 14:27 GMT

Definitely in my top 10 first stage sound tracks.

Mean Machines Issue 1 - October 1990
Platform Game Sega Megadrive
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