Sega delivers another arcade classic with Sega Ages Shinobi, now available on the Nintendo Switch. This enhanced edition gives the ninja slashing adventure new game modes and features exclusively for its updated release. And now you can play it whenever and wherever you like thanks to the mobility of the Switch!
Originally released back in 1987 in arcades, Shinobi has aged quite well and thanks to the new Sega Ages version it’s more accessible than ever for first time players like me who prefer a much lighter challenge. Play as the young ninja master Joe Musashi as he shurikens his way through waves of armed enemies. He’s a one-man army hell-bent on rescuing his ninja students from the organization Zeed.
I primarily played through the Ages version of Shinobi, which gave Joe a sweet new look with white ninja robes and more damage output. In this form he can utilize a melee attack when up close with enemies that reaps more points. When Musashi takes damage his white robes turn a blood red color and his damage output will decrease.
New to the Ages release is the ability to rewind time. With the press of a button you can rewind all the way back to the beginning of the current level. It’s certainly a handy feature considering this is quite a difficult game that I simply wouldn’t have the patience for otherwise. It’s nice to see that Sega is not just releasing a port, but also giving it new features to make it relevant in today’s gaming environment.
This isn’t to say that Shinobi is easy now. Even with the ability to control time I still found myself dying quite a bit during every boss fight. I still had to plan my attacks and respond to how the enemy would attack. Overall, it made me play the game better because I could perfect each little part of the stage where I messed up. Even still I’ll probably never be able to beat the bonus stages.
Shinobi is not a terribly long game. It is an old arcade title that was meant to be finished in about an hour if you knew what you were doing. Like I mentioned previously there is the Ages version of the game as well as the original arcade version. If you’re a veteran of the latter then you’ll know what to expect, but for newer players I would recommend playing the Ages version first to prepare for the brutal difficulty that waits in the original.
There are plenty of display settings to play around with here, including the classic CRT TV filter, which really brings back the nostalgia of classic arcade machines. Like all of the other Sega Ages releases, this one offers plenty of backgrounds to choose from. There’s even HD rumble support.
The stage music is still as catchy as it ever was, full of pulse pounding arcade beats with subtle hints of Eastern Asian influence. It holds up quite well today even if there aren’t many tracks in the game, the ones available are amazing.
Sega Ages Shinobi and the Sega Ages collection in general are great examples of how classic games should be ported to new systems and how awesome these favorites are when made portable. The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic console for older games breathing new life into forgotten greats.
The Sega Ages release of Shinobi is a fantastic way to play a classic arcade game now more accessible than ever. With plenty of new features, for both newcomers and returning players, this a great tribute to a truly challenging shuriken-throwing adventure. Make sure to use the CRT filter and turn up the volume for the best experience. It’s definitely worth the $7.99 if you’re a fan of old school arcade side-scrollers.
Sega Ages Shinobi Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Another awesome blast from the past finds its way onto the Nintendo Switch with the release of Sega Ages Shinobi. Now you can experience the brutally difficult world of ninja master Joe Musashi anywhere you like. Also you can just take it easy and experience a less difficult version with the ability to rewind time. Get your quarters ready.