Looking for a new obsession to keep you up nights? Let us introduce you to Shinobi, the much anticipated new action-adventure game from Sega. Fans of the original 2-D game have been waiting seven years for the next instalment and won't be disappointed by this energetic 3-D game for PS2. The premise hasn't changed much--kill bad guys, kill more bad guys, kill a boss, move on to the next level. You, Hotsuma, are the leader of the Oboro clan. As your clansmen are destroyed, you set out to avenge their deaths by slashing hellspawn and enemy ninjas to death with your powerful sword, Akujiki. As you move through game levels, Akujiki comes alive with power, absorbing the souls of those you kill--and turning against you if you don't keep him well fed. The basic moves--run, jump, slash--are easy to learn, but with each level you must master difficult combos to defeat trickier enemies. Moving quickly and attacking instinctively is essential to killing fast and furiously--each kill gives your sword more power, while each moment of hesitation makes your weapon impatient for blood. Shinobi, at heart, is a souped-up arcade game with awesome graphics. The anime-style cutscenes woven around the slice-and-dice sequences provide an interesting story, but one that doesn't relate very directly with your job on the streets of post-apocalyptic Tokyo. Your moves are cool though--spinning in midair to collect coins that will unlock secret levels, killing three ninjas with a flash of Akujiki, zipping around so fast that a shadow of your ghost remains. It's easy to get caught up in the exhilarating energy of the game. Serious gamers will enjoy confronting bosses, who may take several frustrating tries to kill. But when you finally defeat them, you will feel the power of centuries of samurai. --Maile Bohlmann
- The long-running series is re-born with next-generation graphics and unlimited gameplay freedom.
- Revolutionary stealth dash allows players to attack enemies in succession.
- Destroy objects to find secret arenas, hidden items, and awesome shortcuts.
- New gameplay mechanics allow players to run along walls, scale buildings and perform multiple attacks with a sword or shuriken.