Genesis Reviews

Revenge of Shinobi

Genre: Action Developer: Team Shinobi Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1 Released: 1989

The Revenge of Shinobi was released in 1989 for the Sega Genesis and is a 2D side-scrolling action title that pits you, as Joe Musashi, against a plethora of no-goodniks and other evil people. You are given a nice little arsenal of attacks to use to vanquish your evil opposition and the game is notorious for allowing you to fight a couple of comic book heroes as Bosses, most notably Spider-Man.

The game play consists of you using your ninja powers in an attempt to vanquish your foes. You can throw shurikens (throwing stars) in order to kill them or you can call upon the use of any one of four special ninjitsu powers. Each of these powers can give you an edge in the game, one of them will enhance you defensive strength, another gives you greater jumping ability, and the other two take the form of long range attacks that dole out tons of damage. The gameplay is very fast and frenetic and it will get your blood pumping.

The controls are very crisp and responsive and make every move, from the simplest summoning of ninjistu, to the most complicated jump, a breeze. Another little plus is that the button configuration is intuitive and natural. This may seem like a mild advantage, but in the heat of battle, it makes a world of difference to have an simple control scheme.

The graphics in the game were awe-inspiring for their time, and still hold up favorably today. The characters were large and extremely detailed, they were also animated amazingly well. The in-game environments were chock-full of details, much like the characters. This helped to give the game a very unique look and really enhanced its “Ninja” feel. The character design were very innovative because of the rather unique look of the enemies, and, of course, it’s protagonist, Shinobi, who was replete with so many little touches that you’d never mistake him for another game character. All of these things combine to give the game a certain visual charm that really makes the overall appeal of Revenge of Shonibi timeless.

The sound in RoS is amazing and the music has an oriental sound to it that fits the theme perfectly; adding quite a bit to the ambiance. The same goes for the sound effects, all of them are clear and fit their actions perfectly.

This is one of the most difficult games that I’ve ever played. You aren’t given much life to begin with (one hit deaths rule the roost) and enemy assaults come from all over the place. Consider it a small miracle if you can beat it without losing your mind. Because of the game’s mind-numbing difficulty, replaying it can be a chore for some people, but the truly hardcore will play it over and over again just to learn something new about the game (attack patterns, routes to take, etc).

The Revenge of Shinobi is one of the finest purchases you can make for the Genesis. The gameplay is very frantic and keeps you on your toes, it controls like a dream, the music is incredible, and the graphics give it a charm that has yet to be matched.

Because the control and amazing sound are unchanged, RoS is excellent on the Nomad. Blurring is, thankfully, kept to a bare minimum during the heat of battle. You’d have to be nuts not to pick this game up.

SCORE: 9 out of 10

Want another opinion on this game? Read our Double Take article!



  1. Oh man, the soundtrack was awesome. The graphics and game play were fantastic. This game was one of the Genesis best. Still to this day the boss battle music…damn.

  2. My copy has The Terminator and Spider-man, but Rambo, Batman, and Godzilla have all been changed to more generic versions of themselves. Rambo is a bald guy, Batman is a bat monster, and Godzilla is a skeletal dinosaur. Years ago I had written this game off as frustrating and unplayable because I couldn’t do the double jumps at the waterfall level. Well, I finally picked this game back up, got the timing down and from there I could not be stopped, nor did I want to quit. There is so much diversity in the levels. I like the military and highway bridge levels where you jump back and forth between the foreground and background. It takes a lot of concentration but the levels are short enough that they’re manageable, and there are hidden powerups all over the place. Just whack them with a shuriken.

  3. One of the earliest but most defining Mega Drive releases, Revenge is still a blast to play. And if you can find an early release cart you’ll run into Rambo, The Terminator, Spider-man, Batman, & Godzilla. Which is cool.

  4. It’s a classic! Audio and visuals go hand in hand with the superb atmosphere. Despite the simple gameplay, it’s very fun to play. Make sure to get a copy with the Batman boss.

  5. It’s a classic! Audio and visuals go hand in hand with the superb atmosphere in a game so far ahead of its time. Despite simple gameplay, it is so much fun to play. Make sure to get a copy with Batman.

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