Arcade games are usually a huge challenge. You have limited lives, the controls take some time to get used to, there are no detailed instructions, and the difficulty often spikes into almost impossible to beat stages. Yet, without a doubt, there is charm in the 16-bit music, the sound effects, and the old pixel aesthetic. SEGA’s The Revenge of Shinobi is a difficult game, but one that still holds a lot of heart.
The Revenge of Shinobi, an old Sega Genesis arcade game, can now be played for free on iOS and android devices. In the game you take control as Joe Musashi, who seeks to avenge his master’s death and save his fiancé from a criminal organization. In this multi level platformer, you must slice and dice your way through several enemies and jump through several harsh traps.
The game is a lot of fun, but it is very difficult. Some enemies constantly spam projectiles while others you must get uncomfortably close to hit. You also need to manage the kunai you throw and your special ninjutsu technique, which you can use once per level. The game is very challenging, and it requires quite some time to even get used to the controls. That being said beating a level feels very rewarding.
The game as a whole had withstood the test of time, but the port adds several features for better or for worse. One of the best features is the use of save states. You can keep a file ready so you do not need to replay every level in case you get a game over. You can also use a controller to play the game, which is a nice bonus, although I am not quite sure how to connect a controller to the system.
The port also has a lot of negatives, however. For one, often your fingers that are pressing the controller buttons can block some of the screen, which makes the game even more difficult. The controls themselves. also feel somewhat janky and it is tough to get into the flow of the game. The game is already a test of skill, so this little things don’t feel like too much of a hurdle compared to the levels. The biggest complaint I have regards the aesthetic of the game. The game is beautiful and the music and sound complement the nostalgia that comes from playing this classic game, but the port throws in ads throughout the game. The most glaring use of this is when you either load or use a save state. You must watch a long ad in order for the save state to work. It really detracts from the emersion of the game.
As a whole, The Revenge of Shinobi is an incredible experience, but only if you have the patience and skill to go through some tough challenges. To be honest, this is the game I have most difficulty rating because its difficulty is both a strength and a weakness. I would say my final verdict is that the game is a 7.5 out of 10. I enjoyed a lot about this game, but I know it might be tough for a lot of people. That being said, this is a classic you at least need to try for its great aesthetic and incredible trials.