Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Review

The ninja action in Shinobi III holds up thanks to the ridiculousness of it all.

To say that Shinobi III for the Sega Genesis is a 2D action game is an understatement. It's a game in which you play a ninja who goes around killing other ninjas while running through forests, riding atop horses, and dangling from giant flying fortresses. Those are some awesome credentials, and they go a good ways toward making up for the game's paltry length.

Shinobi III is like Contra, except with ninjas.

As the legendary Shinobi, Joe Musashi, your job is to hack-and-slash your way through seven levels full of ninja bad guys. Your weapons are a sword, a limited number of throwing knives, and four different magical abilities. There's never a shortage of goons to kill, and some of the climbing and jumping segments will keep you on your toes. So will the bosses waiting at the end of each level. However, the thing that makes Shinobi III a classic is how utterly imaginative the levels are. In the first scene, enemy ninjas are attacking you from treetops. In the second, you're on horseback and they're jumping at you or flying past on kites. Another level replaces the horse with a jet-powered surfboard and the kites with flying tanks. The game's final scene has you climbing all over the outside and inside of a massive flying fortress.

The 16-bit graphics and audio have aged, sure, but they still hold up thanks to the ridiculousness of it all. Musashi and his ninja enemies are fluidly animated, and the scrolling background layers impart each level with a healthy sense of depth. It's quite a sight to watch the background scroll by as you ride on horseback or jetboard, especially once you notice the leaves and splash going by in the foreground. In the jetboard level, enemies appear in the distance before they move into position to attack you in the foreground. In some levels, aliens and mutants leap out of green goop or bust out of the scenery right in front of your eyes. All throughout, the soundtrack is this crazy mix of guitar riffs, fast beats, and traditional Japanese themes that rocks so hard it'll have you throwing up the horns.

Like most things that rock hard, Shinobi III is short-lived. Unless you crank the difficulty, you'll probably beat it in an hour or two. Regardless, this sort of ninja fun-time begs to be played over and over again. In that respect, you'll probably feel as if you got your money's worth out of the 800 Wii points it cost you to download the game from the Virtual Console.

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The Good
Crazy ninja action on foot, horseback, and jetboard
The Bad
Can beat it in a single sitting
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How dare you calling this game Ridiculous. How fucking dare you worm. No doubt they paid stupid Nintendo fanboys to review every single Genesis game on this site and that's what we got: a fucking retarded gayden moron making fun of the greatest ninja adventure game you will ever get.


You can beat it in a single sitting because you played on Easy with your boyfriend in 2000 decade with an emulator using savestates, dumb ass. How dare you calling this game ridiculous, you worm. How dare you, this is the best ninja adventure game you will ever get. Xbox Gayden is fluorescent shit compared to this. This is what you get for putting Nintendo fanboys to review every fucking Genesis game on this putrid site, all of them with a score of 7 below give me a fucking break and kill those fanboys.

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master More Info

  • First Released
    • 3DS
    • Genesis
    • + 2 more
    • iPhone/iPod
    • PC
    Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master continues the Shinobi series on the Genesis, introducing new moves, weapons, and enemies.
    Average Rating530 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    M2, Megasoft (Japan), Sega
    Published by:
    Sega, Tec Toy
    Platformer, Action, 2D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence