Revenge of Shinobi

Revenge of Shinobi (ROS) also known as The Super Shinobi, is probably one of the best known and highly rated Mega Drive/Genesis games ever. At the time of release it was used to show what SEGA's (then new) hardware was capable of. Presenting superb graphics and a brilliant soundtrack by famed producer Yuzo Koshiro it quickly became a standout title confirming Shinobi (Joe Musashi) as one of SEGA's flagship characters and the console further as a major player in the market.

It was developed by AM7 (who also created Streets of Rage and Skies of Arcadia) and is one of the direct sequels to Shinobi released in the arcades in 1987 and many more formats also.

The game can be easily found in its complete form (cartridge) and often comes with the new Mega Drive/Genesis 'devices' that are available today. It comes highly recommended as one of the most satisfying gaming experiences only to be outdone by its sequel.

Revenge of Shinobi European Case
Revenge of Shinobi European Case

"You are Musashi, ninja master. You are one of the mystic warriors, who see and know all things. You are deadly! Now you must destroy the vicious army of Neo Zeed. If you fail, then Naoko, their beautiful prisoner, dies!"


The evil crime organisation Neo Zeed has kidnapped Musashi's girlfriend Naoko and have killed his master. He sets out on a journey to avenge his masters death and reclaim his love that takes him across different territories.

Prologue (Taken from games opening)

In the year 19xx, the evil crime syndicate "Zeed" was reduced to rubble by the powers of stealth possessed by the Shinobi master, Joe Musashi.

It seemed as if the world had returned to peace...

But three years later...

The world was once again swallowed in darkness. "Zeed" has returned, with an incredible increase in power, much greater than before, "Neo Zeed" became the strongest crime organisation ever to exist.

After establishing their mighty crime empire, "Neo Zeed" turned their efforts towards destroying the threat posed by these who possessed the powers of stealth.

All the followers of the stealth were attacked and their chief was killed.

The cheif, with his dying breath, told Musashi that Naoko, his bride-to-be had been taken hostage by the "Neo Zeed" . So to get revenge for his comrades and bring back Naoko, Musashi set out for the heart of "Neo Zeed".


You take control of (Joe) Musashi as you battle through each international location. In each scene (round/stage) you must reach the exit which generally is found by progressing from left to right but there will be other directions to take that will be indicated. At the end of an area you face a boss.

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The rounds and game overall are of a reasonable size and the game as a whole is a satisfying experience when completed. There are some frustrations to be had. For example, the somersault jump can be tricky to pull off when you really need it and there will be instances of being touched only to fall off a platform to death because there is no regaining of control. In levels with lots of holes you can only sit back and watch yourself plummet to your doom.

For the time, there graphics are well detailed with some good effects and Mushasi himself is animated very well. The music overall compliments the gameplay very well with a good range of sound effects (some familiar) produced from the system.

The default controls are:

The D-Pad moves Musashi about the screen. LEFT and RIGHT are walk and DOWN is crouch. DOWN+LEFT or RIGHT is crawl which is needed for tighter movements/locations.

BUTTON A - is Ninjitsu (magic). Several are available detailed below.

BUTTON B - is Attack. When in close proximity to an enemy Musashi will use a close range attack such as a leg sweep or stab. When at a distance he will use a Shuriken (throwing knife). If none are available then a close range attack will be performed by default.

BUTTON B + DOWN will produce a leg sweep attack when at close range.

When at a distance a shuriken (throwing knife) will be used.

BUTTON C - is Jump. When timed correctly a double jump/somersault can be performed which allow the reaching of greater heights. When pressing Attack during a double jump a shower of 8 Shurikens is fired. Firing again instantly gives a smaller spread before you hit the ground. BUTTON C+DOWN will drop through a platform.

START pauses the game. A status screen is displayed containing your score and the current high score. This is also where the different Ninjitsu (magic) attack is selected.

Displayed at all times across the top of the screen is your vitals.

Revenge of Shinobi

Life Bar - Indicates how much strength or energy remains. For every 100,000 points the bar gains 2 small bars.

Shurikens - How many in possession. By default you will begin with 50. They are frequently found.

Ninjitsu - Magic. These are special abilities:

Ikazuchi: The Art of Thunder - Lightening surrounds you and provides protection. While enveloped you will not be damaged. Its fades away after absorbing several hits.

Kariu: The Art of the Fire Dragon - You are enveloped in a fire column which then splits and travels about the screen scorching every enemy it touches.

Fushin: The Art of Floating - Jumps and somersaults have maximum heights and distance. This ability stays with you until the end of the scene and other Ninjitsu's can also be used.

Mijin: The Art of Pulverizing - Musashi becomes a human bomb and explodes killing everything. This costs a life though.

You can use Fushin and one other during the span of each life. Extra Ninjitsu's can be found as a Power-Up.

Lives Remaining - You gain 2 more lives each time you complete a scene (round). An extra life is given for reaching 50,000 points after which extra lives are earned for every 100,000 points.

Each stage will contain an array of enemies and plenty of other dangers that will try and kill you. When hit, Mushashi recoils which lasts a second or two and control is lost.

Enemies will range from Ninja's and soldiers will attack by various means including projectiles as well as dogs leaping in for a bite. Most enemies and particularly bosses with have a vulnerable spot. Simply attacking may not defeat them. The amount of damage they do and how many hits they need to be defeated will vary and when defeated they will make a satisfying explosion.

Other dangers include poisonous bamboo sticks, electrical discharges and molten metal to name but a few.

You lose a life when all of your energy is gone. Falling off the screen will kill you instantly.

It is Game Over when all lives are lost. When restarting from a continue, it will be at the first act of the round you are on, your energy bar will return to the default size and with 50 shurikens. You have 3 credits to continue (or the option to start a new game).

Power-Ups are mostly found in wooden crates that are littered about each stage. Attack them to break them open and simply walk over to collect contents. There are also plenty in secret locations where there is seemingly nothing....Beware that some 50% of which will contain proximity bombs that can easily catch you off guard.

Bombs - BANG! These are hidden in crates and will explode more quickly the closer you are to them.

Small Heart - increases the life bar by 2 small units.

Big Heart - will fully restore the life bar.

Power - will increase strength and add extra power to weapons. Shurikens are thrown faster and more accurately. You obtain a sword for close range attacks and apply the skill of the Cross Guard warding off/blocking incoming enemy death stars with crossed Shurikens.

Shuriken - will give you 5 Shurikens.

Double Shuriken - will give you 20 Shurikens.

Ninjitsu - allows the use of another Ninjitsu ability during the course of that level.

Musashi - extra life.


The manual pleasantly refers to setting the games options as Taiso (preparing the body). These are what is available:

Sound Test - Listen to the tunes and effects in the game. Press any button to play.

Level - Sets the difficulty of the game. Note this setting also changes the number of lives you are given. Choices are Easy with 10 lives, Normal with 3 lives (default), Hard with 1 life and Hardest with 1 life. This will also affect the bonuses rewarded when completing a round: the higher the difficulty the more points.

Shurikens - Select the number of Shurikens. You can set the number from 00 to 90 in multiples of 10.

Control - Change the control configuration. There are 4 possible choices.


There are a total of 8 rounds or areas in the game each of which are broken down into 3 scenes 2 main levels and a boss fight.

At the end of each area there will be bonus points for:

Clear Bonus
Perfect Bonus
Technical Bonus

Revenge of Shinobi Screenshots

Round 1: Ibaraki Province, Japan

The bamboo garden you pass through conceals the Omote Ninja and Kabuto Samurai. Beware of Hachi the dog - he can catch Shurikens in his teeth! If you make it through the garden, the House of Confusion awaits with its sharp, poisonous bamboo spikes. You try to escape, but the mighty Blue Lobster Samurai stands in your way!

Round 1 Scene 1 Round 1 Scene 2 Round 1 Boss

Round 2: Tokyo

The bamboo garden you pass through conceals the Omote Ninja and Kabuto Samurai. Beware of Hachi the dog - he can catch Shurikens in his teeth! If you make it through the garden, the House of Confusion awaits with its sharp, poisonous bamboo spikes. You try to escape, but the mighty Blue Lobster Samurai stands in your way!

Shadow Dancer is the name for the other sequel to Shinobi.

Round 2 Scene 1 Round 2 Scene 2 Round 2 Boss

Round 3: Military Base

Fight your way past the Neo Zeed infantry and their vicious attack dogs that patrol the airport compound. Become a menace as a stowaway! Then find the computer and blow its brains out!

Round 3 Scene 1 Round 3 Scene 2 Round 3 Boss

Round 4: Detroit

The junk in this particular junkyard is deadly! Engine blocks and ingots plunge from the ceiling in the Motor Mill, and test your agility at dodging. In the side yard, you'll meet the Master Attacker. Watch him - when he gets really mad, it does something to his blood pressure...

Round 4 Scene 1 Round 4 Scene 2 Round 4 Boss

Round 5: Area Code 818

The junk in this particular junkyard is deadly! Engine blocks and ingots plunge from the ceiling in the Motor Mill, and test your agility at dodging. In the side yard, you'll meet the Master Attacker. Watch him - when he gets really mad, it does something to his blood pressure...

Round 5 Scene 1 Round 5 Scene 2 Round 5 Boss

Round 6: China Town

It seems that knowledge of your approach has preceded you. Gang fighters greet you with lightening kicks and the lethal nunchaku. Then from atop a speeding train, metal poles whiz at your head and bullets zing by your ears! Survive for a chance encounter with Spider Man! This fellow can really sling a web!

Note: This boss may differ depending on which revision of the game you are playing!

Round 6 Scene 1 Round 6 Scene 2 Round 6 Boss

Round 7: New York

Steal past the ninja that guard the breakwater. Then from inside the Neo Zeed container ship, you try to keep a cool head - despite what you find in the cargo hold...

Round 7 Scene 1 Round 7 Scene 2 Round 7 Boss

Round 8: Neo Zeed Marine Stronghold

A searchlight picks you out as a perfect target for Neo Zeed gunfire! Escape in the basement of Neo Zeed headquarters. Here's where you'll find the terrified Naoko, your sweetheart - and face your final enemy, the Boss.

Round 8 Scene 1 Round 8 Scene 2 Round 8 Boss

Descriptions taken from European manual


Infinite Shurikens

Goto the options screen and set the number of Shurikens to 0. Wait for approx 40 seconds and it will turn to an infinite sign. ∞

Fushin Spots

Use the Fushin ninjitsu to enable you to easily make the high jumps at the start of Areas 2 (Water Fall and 5 (Sky Scraper).

Aim for the Head

Use the shower of shurikens to attack enemies where their vulnerable spot is the head. Remember this will need 8 shurikens.


The game was also included on the Mega Games 2 compilation cartridge along with Golden Axe and Streets of Rage and the Mega Games 6 compilations which also included Columns, Super Hang On and World Cup Italia '90 (Mega Games 1).

There was also a version released with the Mega CD/SEGA CD on the SEGA 5-in-1 Classics Collection and SEGA 4-in-1 Classics Collection. It remains fairly identical to the original apart from some 'upgraded' SFX (PCM) when he uses magic.

It was also included on the SEGA Smash Pack available for the Dreamcast and PC.

It has been made available for Wii Virtual Console and in a SEGA Vintage Compilation release for Xbox Live Arcade and PSN entitled Alex Kidd and Co. (2012) which also included the Super Hang-On and the Master System classic Alex Kidd in Miracle World.

The game was not included in the SEGA Genesis Collection (PSP, PS2) and SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection (Xbox360/PS3) and this is thought to do with the license regarding the appearance of Spider-Man as the boss of Round 6.

A game titled the Revenge of Shinobi was released for the Gameboy Advance in 2002 however that game only loosely followed the plot of this game.

Revenge of Shinobi (Gameboy Advance)
Revenge of Shinobi (Gameboy Advance) Revenge of Shinobi (Gameboy Advance)
Revenge of Shinobi (Gameboy Advance) Revenge of Shinobi (Gameboy Advance)

There have been a number of other games in the series including Shadow Dancer (Arcade), Cyber Shinobi on the Master System and two games for the Game Gear.


A classic SEGA trait is to have two sequels to one game and Shinobi is another example.

Shinobi III: Return Of The Ninja Master

Shinobi III (Super Shinobi II in Japan) was released on the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1993. It is a direct sequel to Revenge of Shinobi. It is an intense action platformer and plays very smoothly.

Joe Musashi returns yet again to confront the newly resurrected Neo Zeed headed by an individual known only as Shadow Master.

The game features some of the best graphics seen on the system ever and the gameplay is superb to match with over 25 levels and sequences such as riding a galloping horse through a field to change the pace.

It is easily the best of the series and comes highly recommended but it somewhat rare and expensive particularly in its complete form. Luckily it has been included in the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Collection (PSP, PS2) and SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection (Xbox360/PS3) and released on the Virtual Console Service for Nintendo Wii.

Shinobi III: Return Of The Ninja Master
Shinobi III: Return Of The Ninja Master Shinobi III: Return Of The Ninja Master

Shadow Dancer (Arcade SEGA System 18)

Is considered to be the true sequel to Shinobi (original) as the gameplay is almost identical to the original. In this game you play Hayate, Joe's son and to aid you, a canine companion called Yamato who can weaken enemies for easier take down and instead of rescuing children, you now have to diffuse bombs.

The plot of the game differs between the Arcade and Mega Drive/Genesis versions and then even more so depending on localisation.

It was ported to the Master System and was the closest version to the arcade although that was heavily compromised due to missing levels and obviously suffering graphically. Home computers of the time such as the Atari ST and Amiga also received ports.

Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (Mega Drive/Genesis)

Rather than port the arcade version, SEGA decided to make a new game based upon the original Shinobi and the arcade original version of Shadow Dancer.

Whilst the gameplay is pretty identical to the arcade version bombs are replaced with hostages and all the stages are different. You still have Yamato assisting who can be sent to attack enemies at will.

The graphics are respectable when comparing with the arcade version and although the game is somewhat short it is a great title to play overall.

It was included in the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Collection (PSP, PS2) but was omitted in PAL regions.

Shadow Dancer (Mega Drive)
Shadow Dancer (Mega Drive) Shadow Dancer (Mega Drive)
Shadow Dancer (Mega Drive) Shadow Dancer (Mega Drive)
Shadow Dancer (Master System)
Shadow Dancer (Master System) Shadow Dancer (Master System)
Shadow Dancer (Master System) Shadow Dancer (Master System)

Shinobi-X (also known as Shinobi Legions in the US and Shin Shinobi Den in Japan) (Saturn)

Shinobi-X (Saturn)

The first and only outing on SEGA's mighty 32-Bit machine. Unfortunately It is an atrocious game and was rightly shunned for being so in every department.

You play the role of Sho, a pupil of an old master who was killed by Kazuma for not teaching him the ultimate technique which would make his power complete. He now has an army, a fortress and has taken Aya (Sho's girlfriend) as bait to lure Sho into a trap as he possesses this technique....

Whilst the action is mostly classic Shinobi and is plentiful, the shoddiness of the graphics and sound make the game a real chore to play. In a way it would have been better do be just another lost 32X game...

The graphics suffer because most of the sprites in the game are digitised...badly making them look like a 16-Bit Mortal Kombat game but moreover the animation is awful. Any smoothness in the games scrolling is non-existent. The music is bland to say the least, so much so that the European release was delayed whilst the soundtrack was changed!

Like many things in the Saturn era, it looked as the Shinobi series was lost for good.

Shinobi (PS2)

Shinobi (PS2) European Case

The game was developed by Overworks and was released in 2002. It is a fast paced hack'n'slash game that is similar to the original style of Shinobi.

The main character is Hotsuma, the last member of the famed Oborro Clan. Following a massive earthquake and the appearance of a mysterious Golden Palace, a once defeated sorcerer Hiruko has returned summing supernatural demons called Hellspawn filling Tokyo and destroying almost all of the Oborro Clan.

Hotsuma sets out to reach the Golden Palace and avenge the death of his clan.

The game successfully brought the classic gameplay of Shinobi into 3D though it has a reputation of being very difficult. Visually the game is somewhat lacklustre too.

Shinobi (PS2)
Shinobi (PS2)
Shinobi (PS2)
Shinobi (PS2)
Shinobi (PS2)


Perfect! Play this with KEGA Fusion, Gens and Gens32 Emulators. You can download these from the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Emulators page.



Shinobi Feature

Revenge of Shinobi - Games of the Month Archive (August 2005)

Shinobi III - Games of the Month Archive (September 2005)


Shinobi at Hardcore Gaming 101

A very detailed and concise overview of all the Shinobi games.

Review at Mean Machines

Shinobi on the Nintendo 3DS

The official website of the latest game in the series.

Mega Drive/Genesis SEGA!

SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Feature

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