Name: The GG Shinobi (this is what it's called in the GoodGG list, but I guess its full title is "The GameGear Shinobi"
Format: Sega Game Gear
Release Date: 4/26/1991
After Shinobi had become a very successful arcade game for Sega, they began to port both conversions of the game and extensions of the franchise to everything they could. Cyber Shinobi, Revenge of Shinobi.... and it went on. By the time this came out, they seemed to have run out of ideas for what to call games, so they settled for naming it after the platform it was on.
The premise of The Game Gear Shinobi is in many ways very similar to the Mega Man series, but on a smaller scale. Basically, at the start you are shown a map screen with four selectable levels. Fight your way through each level (they can be done in any order) and defeat the boss, and you get the prize for the level. Unlike the Mega Man games, the prize is not a new weapon as such, but a sidekick ninja. However, this acts the same way as a Mega Man game - press start and you can select between any of the Ninjas you have rescued. Each has a different colour, and a different weapon. Once you have beaten all four levels, and have control of 5 Ninjas (4 rescued, plus the one you start with), you can head to the level in the middle of the map to take out the evil genius type guy.
Because each Ninja has a different colour and weapon, and you can switch between them on the pause screen, this really is just Mega Man with Ninjas. It's still a reasonably good game though. The weapons / Ninjas you can switch between are as follows:
The Ninjas also all have their own Ninjujitsu attack used to take out a screen worth of enemies, or sometimes to remove an obstacle and progress. Some have other special abilities as well, as follows:
- Red can unleash an earthquake which can break rocks in the way, and kill on screen enemies.
- Blue can use his chain to swing from points up in the walls, and also, his special Ninjujitsu is flying around in the form of a tornado. Find me something better than that...
- Pink can crawl around on ceilings, and has a nice flash attack which lights up areas and blinds enemies temporarily.
- Yellow can walk on water, but his attack is weak. However, he does have a good Ninjujitsu - a lightning barrier to absorb hits.
- Green can double-jump, fire a spread of shurikens from this double jump, but unfortunately the Ninjujitsu is more than a little rubbish. It involves Green blowing himself up and taking out all enemies on the screen - but you then lose one of your precious lives. Compared to Red's similar but more effective Ninjujitsu, there is no point using this...
Once you have all your Ninjas and their abilities, you can enter Neo City. This is an immensely long and complex area built up of many intertwining levels, with many boss fights (think every version of Dr. Wily/Sigma's base ever). Once you finish that, you have finished the game.
The style of gameplay is pretty much exactly the same as all other Shinobi games, ie, a basic 2D platformer. It's not got any of the two level-ness of the original (where you would press up and jump to get to the upper level), and the hostages are nowhere to be found, but it's basically the same. Instead of just scrolling right to left, now the levels go in all directions (for example, in one area you have to climb up a building). Overall, it's quite a technical achievement on a GameGear, as while it does nothing too impressive, what it does is done well.
I would recommend this game for anyone who fancies a quick bit of platform action. It's neither very deep or very long, and in many ways it's just a shameful rip off of Mega Man, but it will probably provide you with some temporary amusement.
The ROM is reasonably popular (and in many case, there are a fair few sites with full Game Gear ROM sets). The game is emulated pretty much perfectly in MEKA, which is the best Game Gear / Master System emulator around.
If you like this game but want a little more complexity in your 8 bit antics, try The GG Shinobi 2 for size.
Epoetker's FAQ on www.gamefaqs.com
Playing the ROM of the game in MEKA.
Thanks to Psuedo_Intellectual and pfft for corrections.