Wednesday, September 3, 2014

VGR Cyber Shinobi

The future.

Ninjas are now apparently CYBER!

Eyz goes through Sega's favorite Shinobi, one game at a time in the following reviews!

VGR: The Cyber Shinobi: Shinobi Part 2 aka simply Cyber Shinobi
From Sega
Played on Sega Master System
Also available on /

Type Sidescroller action game
Year 1990

And we're back with the Shinobi series!

Developed by an entirely different studio from the original game, "The Cyber Shinobi: Shinobi Part 2" as it appears to be title on screen was a 1990 follow-up to the classic Shinobi. Released exclusively for the Sega Master System.

This time, it's a futuristic episode!

Cyber Shinobi was actually developed simultaneously with the actual proper sequel.

The story is set this time in the "far future" of the 21st Century!

It's the year 2XXX . This time you play as the grandson of the legendary ninja Joe Musashi, also named Joe.

The terrorist organization Cyber-Zeed was built from the remnants of the original Zeed Corporation from the original game.

They are about to launch plutonium missiles to destroy several key places all over the world.

Your objective as this descendant of of the original Shinobi, "Joe Jr.", is to put a stop to their plans.

Your adventure takes about "six rounds", taking Joe Jr. from a bunch of hangars around a construction site to an harbor where you will destroy a submarine. Then a forest until you reach an heliport, caves all over a jungle until you reach a waterfall and face a tiger, followed by more exploration around these waterfalls where a mech is waiting for you at the end. Finally reaching the secret headquarters of Cyber-Zeed!

The gameplay while obviously based on the original game differs slightly enough to make this stand as a proper spin-off rather than making it the official follow-up.

Little Joe can attack with his sword, or kick when crouching down. You can also jump, jump higher by simply pressing up on the D-pad.

On screen there are four gauge taking a lot of space of the screen in this huge HUD. There's an health gauge, a power gauge for the strength of your attacks, one for the ammunitions of your current secondary weapon and the last one for your ninjutsu abilities.

You can grab power-ups around the stages. The S-power-up for example gives you back your classic shurikens. There are also a lot of other more random weapons

You can use your ninjutsu by pressing both the button 1 and 2 at the same time. There are four different ninja abilities. You can invoke fire, a tornado, lightning and "earth". 

This time the screen will lock up as long as you haven't defeated all enemies on screen, like most classic beat 'em up games. Which is shame since the original game was so much fun and different by just avoiding that annoying cliché of the genre.

At the end of each stage there is a boss fight awaiting for you. Starting to follow the tradition of this would-be series offering these crazy boss fights getting bigger and bigger, and weirder. These bosses include a giant bulldozer, a submarine, an helicopter as per Shinobi tradition, a huge puma called "black tiger", a strange jumping robot armed with 4 huge legs... and the final boss being the Cyber-Zeed leader who is revealed to be the old boss from the original game's brain in a jar! Now controlling a remote robot that appears to be a cross between Sega's former mascot Opa Opa from Fantasy Zone and the ED-209 from RoboCop. It's like the final fight for the one true mascot of Sega's 8-bit era!!

The animations are kinda sluggish, as well as the controls. Despite being exclusively developed for the Sega Master System, it just doesn't feel as polished as the original SMS Shinobi.

Jumping stays always difficult to master through the entire game.

All that contributes to a more tedious experience. Plus the fact that more than a third of the upper screen is obstructed by all these annoying status bars doesn't help.

Your weapon has a pretty limited range here. The hit detection is certainly not the best either.

Sadly this time the iconic shurikens come in very limited quantity.

The fact Joe Jr. is also able collect some guns kinda detracts from the whole Shinobi experience - probably an attempt to justify the "cyber" part of the title I suppose...

The music from Sherike Nuki & Sheriko Dama is pretty fun. Catchy. Easily the best aspect of this entire game in my opinion.

Overall, it's certainly not awful. But far from the best.

Only Give it a Look if you're a big fan of the series or the Master System.

The game has nice enough music and graphics. But really poor hit detections. The sword has an incredibly short range of attack. The low framerate doesn't help either. The controls are difficult to get a hang of. And the level design is really poorly inspired compared to the other games of the series.

There are some interesting segments like going down a waterfall, which offers a nice change of pace.

It can be kinda fun when you get used to it, but honestly it's one of the worst entries in the series.
I give it:
1.5 / 3 Invaders!

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