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Shinobi

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PlayStation Plus members get free King of Fighters XIII


Oct 09
// Jordan Devore
The latest PlayStation Plus benefits are an eclectic bunch, but fighting game fans in particular should have a good week in store. As described on the PlayStation Blog, Plus members will be able to nab The King of Fighters XI...
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I had ALMOST forgotten how crappy Tiger LCD games were


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Before the Game Boy, handheld gaming was dominated by LCD electronic devices, most famously the Game & Watch line. Each device was dedicated to playing a single game in the crudest way imaginable -- all possible object l...
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Game Gear games finally rated for 3DS


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When the 3DS eShop was first announced, we were promised more than just Nintendo systems. Naturally, nothing came of that pledge in North America for months and months, until now. According to the ESRB, Game Gear games are fi...

Review: Shinobi (3DS)

Jan 24 // Darren Nakamura
Shinobi (3DS)Developer: Griptonite GamesPublisher: SEGAReleased: November 15, 2011MSRP: $39.99 I like difficult games -- I finished Super Meat Boy's Dark Cotton Alley, I've completed Bionic Commando Rearmed's Super Hard mode, and I reveled in Contra 4's punishing requirement of both memorization and reflexes. I say this not to brag but to provide a point of reference when discussing the difficulty of Shinobi. I almost gave up on this review entirely, because after wasting a few hours trying to complete the first level on the "Normal," I thought there would be no hope. I had to suck up my pride and drop down to the insultingly titled "Beginner" difficulty, and it was still a tough journey to reach the end credits. I don't know that Shinobi is necessarily more difficult than any of the aforementioned titles, but it definitely hangs onto a few obsolete ideas that today's difficult games tend to eschew. In contrast to the bite-sized levels seen in many modern challenging games, Shinobi presents fewer levels that can each take more than half an hour to complete. I tend to spend more time playing games with short levels, as there is no "just one more try" desire after being set back by 30 minutes. Again, a lot of the problem was solved by lowering the difficulty, as the Beginner mode affords the player infinite lives, offers more generous checkpoints, and decreases damage taken from attacks. The higher difficulty levels resemble old-school gaming at its worst, with finite lives and continues, after which a player is forced to start over from the beginning. The general gameplay in Shinobi is not far removed from its ancestors on the old 8-bit and 16-bit systems. At its heart, it's a 2D sidescroller with a focus on combat finesse and precision platforming. Your hero, Jiro Musashi, has at his disposal the standard double jump and wall jump as well as a small repertoire of melee and ranged attacks. Of the two main gameplay elements, combat is the more satisfying. Shinobi rewards the player for patience and timing rather than mindless button mashing. Going into battle with a wildly swinging sword will almost always result in an enemy counterattack. Instead, the player must predict the enemy's attack, parry it, and launch a counterattack when the enemy's defenses drop. While that sounds simple on paper, it takes quite a bit of getting used to. That said, once it clicks and the player can build up a high combo by emerging from several fights untouched, it really does instill the feeling of being a ninja. Boss fights follow a similar philosophy as fights with standard enemies. Attacks are telegraphed a split second before they are launched, and they can generally be parried and countered. While the bosses seemed difficult at first, none are cheap; with some practice, it is not unreasonable to finish a boss fight without taking damage. In contrast to the combat, the platforming is weak. The controls are fine, and there is a lot of nuance involved in jumping to exactly the location intended, but the main problem is that it just doesn't come up often enough. Platforming sections that really test the player's skill take a back seat to combat sections, so the player doesn't get nearly as much practice. In addition, there are some unfortunate level design choices, like sudden pitfalls and spikes that are just out of sight before making a jump. A more zoomed-out camera during platforming sections could have maintained the necessity for skillful jumping while eliminating the cheap deaths that aren't really the fault of the player. In keeping with the old-school design, the story in Shinobi ranges from nonsensical to nonexistent. From the anime cutscenes between levels, I gather that it is about a ninja from the 13th century who gets transported forward through time 800 years to fight things. Over the course of the game, the player finds himself riding on top of speeding cars, exploring an undersea laboratory, ad navigating the inside of a volcano, all with little to no explanation of how or why he is doing it. So while story is unimportant, gameplay is king. Knowing this, the developers added in a substantial amount of bonus content. There are Achievements, each with their own rewards that can be as little as cosmetic bonuses, such as alternate costumes or weapons, or as big as a full boss rush or other challenge levels that really put the player's skills to the test. It's impressive how much extra content there is to find in Shinobi, though how much the player actually sees depends heavily on how much time and effort he is willing to invest. Shinobi is a great game with tons to do. Some of the old-school elements are sure to turn many players off, but if you can surmount the steep difficulty curve, there is a substantial amount of satisfying gameplay to be found. Those who want a cohesive narrative or who can't afford to endure a few hours of frustration should look elsewhere, but those who can make it past the hump can wring out a lot of fun.
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It has been nearly 10 years since we were last put into the sandals of an Oboro Clan shinobi, the last game of which was well received despite (or perhaps because of) its high difficulty. Though it brought the series into the...

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Griptonite Games explores the history of Shinobi


Nov 16
// Liam Fisher
The Shinobi games were really good. The new trailer for Shinobi 3DS, "History of a Franchise," details  what made the games so good and what developer Griptonite is focusing on to maintain that history.  Also, the game's out now. If you own a 3DS, you might need to go check it out. I know it's on my list of pre-2012 purchases. 
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Shinobi 3DS trailer details Streetpass challenges


Sep 30
// Jim Sterling
Shinobi's 3DS outing will have Streetpass functionality that brings extra challenge gameplay to the table. It's all detailed in the above trailer, which helpfully spells it all our for us. Good going, SEGA! I was e...
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Some Shinobi 3DS screens for your ninja eyes to look at


Aug 17
// Jim Sterling
A new bunch of Shinobi screenshots have dripped down from Gamescom and now we're posting them on the Internet, along with about 35,000 other blogs. Our images look better though, because of Destructoid Graphix.  The scre...
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Shinobi 3DS, CRUSH3D dated November 12, February 21


Jul 19
// Jim Sterling
SEGA has confirmed the release dates of Shinobi 3DS and CRUSH3D, with the sidescrolling ninja revival arriving November 12 and the perspective-bending puzzler dropping in on February 21.  Shinobi is looking quite promisi...

E3: Jimpressions of Shinobi 3DS

Jun 12 // Jim Sterling
Shinobi 3DS does a terrific job of bringing back the old school feeling of the Shinobi series, where methodical progress and well-timed movements are key to victory. The most important move is the Parry, which will be needed to fend off the attacks of enemies. Failure to master the parry command will result in death.  Like the old games, opposing Ninja will duck and jump while tossing knives at you. Your Parry only defends for a second, so you'll need to time your movements with the enemy perfectly before unleashing your own attacks. This consideration of enemy movement, and knowing when to parry, move and attack, leads to a game that more modern players may not appreciate due to its slower pace. Shinobi fans will feel right at home, though.  Shinobi 3DS is definitely more forgiving than its Genesis ancestors. The player can absorb a lot more damage before facing death, and health items are a bit more liberally spread than before. Nevertheless, the game still puts up a good fight, especially with some of the tricky environmental navigation. Spikes and pitfalls continually threaten the player's life, and you'll need some quick reflexes to utilize the grappling hook, wall-jump and avoid all manner of traps.  For the most part, the controls worked well enough, but I did find a few commands sluggish, especially the wall-jumping. The protagonist could do with being a little more responsive, but it's certainly not a dealbreaker.  Graphically, the game is certainly not the best looking on the 3DS, but it's got a really excellent use of color and a stylized, cartoon-like appearance that I found quite endearing. The game's magic attacks are especially impressive, and really pop out at you with the 3D slider on. The minimalist approach to visuals won't impress everybody, but I think it helps make the game look pretty unique. I found Shinobi 3DS' demo pretty enjoyable. It wasn't a stunning revelation but it was a fun sidescroller with a very welcome respect for the series' eighties/nineties roots. It throws up familiar enemies, a cool horse-riding section, and the kind of thoughtful action gaming that we haven't seen since ... well, since Shinobi's heyday, I suppose.  So yeah, I guess I liked it!
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My love for Shinobi is palpable. I had one of those six-in-one Genesis cartridges as a kid, and The Revenge of Shinobi was one of the most played titles on the collection. I was never a big fan of the series' move to 3D last ...

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Shinobi 3DS trailer looks hot, hot, hot, hot! (Update)


May 27
// Jim Sterling
[Update: God damn it, SEGA! We have been asked to take this video down because apparently it's wrong or something. Because I am nice and honorable like Jesus Christ, I am complying. Apparently a better trailer is coming next ...

Preview: Shinobi 3DS

May 26 // Nick Chester
Shinobi 3DS (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: Griptonite GamesPublisher: SegaRelease date: Fall 2011 It's been awhile since we've seen a Shinobi game, and rather than try to reinvent the classic, Sega's aiming more at a modernization of some core concepts. The idea is to keep the classic Shinobi feel and gameplay -- the side-scrolling action combat and platforming -- with a host of gameplay twists and features for a new generation. What this means is that it plays as you'd expect, with a heavy emphasis on the use of throwing knives (which seem to be in unlimited supply) and close-combat with a katana. The action is swift, with repeated presses of the A button resulting in a combination of slashing strikes. The brisk, nimble ninja can also slide, coming up and out of the maneuver with an upward slice of his blade to eviscerate enemies. A full range of ninja magic will be making its return, as well. Using it is as simple as tapping the L button, unlike some other handheld ninja titles that had you tracing Kanji characters on the touch screen. (I'm looking at you Ninja Gaiden:Dragon Sword; I want to burn up some baddies with ninja fire, not write a letter.) The touch screen did come into play for switching between the magics, which in this early demo consisted of the basic fire, lightning, and wind. While quick to go on the offensive, ninjas do just as well playing it safe on defense. Unfortunately, our shinobi can't directly block attacks, but has been given a parry which I found to be largely useful in most situations. By tapping the R button at the correct time, I was able to effortlessly deflect incoming strikes, leaving enemies open for brutalizing with my ninja steel. Platforming will also play a pretty big role in Shinobi 3DS, if my short demo is any indication. I ran into a number of tricky spots that required well-timed wall jumps to evade spikes traps, and moved from ground to rooftops with a grappling hook. I was only able to see part of the game's first level, which was a village being engulfed in flames as enemy ninja and samurai attacked. Visually, Shinobi 3DS is shaping up pretty well, with a decent range of color and visual effects that bring the 2.5D action to life. 3D effects on or off, it didn't make all that much of a different for these side-scrolling bits. Sega did reveal that over-the-should third-person action sections where you're "moving into the screen" would make it into the mix, which should lend itself well to the 3D effect. From the sound of things, Griptonite is hoping to pack Shinobi 3DS with a ton of content. It's promising over 60 in-game achievements, each of which will unlock something that players can use, view or wear. The classic ninja star throwing mini-game will also be making a return… in mind-blowing 3D! I was also promised an After Burner-inspired jet ride, and at least one massive, wet-dream-inspiring battle against a cyborg shark. At this early stage, Shinobi 3DS seems like a fair mixture of old-school with enough fresh ideas to keep things compelling. I did find the controls to feel a bit on the lose side, at least compared to the tight action of the sprite-based Shinobi games of old. A lot of that may have to do with the fact that we were only able to use the circle pad to control the ninja (which, by the way, Sega did confirm is the father of Joe Musashi form the original Shinobi titles). This will change, with the option to also use the d-pad making the final cut, something I suspect will change how I feel about the game's controls. Shinobi 3DS is out this fall, and I'm hoping Sega brings that cyborg shark to E3. 
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The rumors are true! Sega's Shinobi franchise is making its return this fall with the cleverly titled Shinobi 3DS. Not a port or a remake, the title is being built from the ground up for the Nintendo 3DS with developer Gripto...

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Totally confirmed: Sonic Generations and Shinobi for 3DS


May 25
// Tony Ponce
Don't believe the filthy lies! Rumors of Sonic Generations and a new Shinobi coming to the 3DS are totally unsubstantiated... oh? They're on the cover of Nintendo Power? Well... alrighty then. The upcoming issue puts rest to ...
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Rumor: New Shinobi coming to Nintendo 3DS


May 24
// Jim Sterling
According to the resume of an environment artist, a brand new game based on the Shinobi license is coming to Nintendo's 3DS. Now that is something I want to see.  Griptonite Games, a studio known mostly for portable lice...






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