September 27, 2012
Oboro Ninjitsu is a secret set of rules, disciplines and techniques, wielded by Musashi, a true ninja stronger than steel and faster than the wind. In Shinobi III Return of the Ninja Master, Musashi is controlled by the player who will determine his fate and hopefully bring balance to the world. This popular classic is a SEGA Genesis release produced by SEGA, which brings out an authentic ninja experience that only few games have ever accomplished. One thing Shinobi III has in common with most ninja games, however, is that it is quite challenging. In other words, expect to die a few times before beating this retro game from 1993.
Mr. Musashi is controlled with the ninja movements of the D-Pad, he also jumps with A, and attacks with B. If you are standing on a platform and press DOWN together with A, Musashi will immediately get off. Pressing UP or DOWN without any other action will scroll the camera, letting you see more of the stage. With the C button, Musachi activates his Kaminari Shield which is very limited but provides invincibility. He can ninja-dash by pressing the pad twice in the same direction. This changes his jump to a long leap and his attack ability to a slash.
To grab platforms and ceilings, simply press the UP button when you are nearby. Our hero can also double jump once. To do this you must reach the topmost section of your jump and press the A button again. Be advised that this jump will not let you grab ladders or platforms, which can be fatal at times. A special attack can be done if you press the attack button while the second jump is in motion, but this attack spends 8 kunai (see below), so use it wisely. While riding a vehicle it is possible to dash forward by pressing the right button twice, note that you cannot dash backwards.
There are item boxes throughout the game and they contain several power-ups that help Musashi taking care of business.
Kunai: The Kunai is a powerful throwing weapon. The single kunai power-up will increase your kunai count by 5, while the double kunai item will increase it by 20.
POW: The POW will give your kunais “Ninjitsu Magic” which empowers them with double damage. This power-up fades away if you are hit by enemies, so make sure to stay out of trouble.
Heart: The heart is a health pack, which obviously restores a certain amount of HP.
Dynamite: The dynamite explodes after hitting something or after 5 seconds. It destroys some particular floors and all items around it.
Musashi confronts a lot of enemies of different types; ninjas, samurais, cybernetic enemies, and even DNA-spliced ones! Most of these foes have projectile attacks and all of them hurt Musashi if they run into him. Stages usually have a mini boss and a final boss. Most times you will find a health pack before or after the mini boss fight.
Round 1: Zeed’s Resurrection
Like most first stages, Shinobi III lets the player warm-up before the true test later on. It features ninjas and some armored samurai. Learn the ropes with a few pit challenges and spruce up your fighting skill on the weak enemies. The boss is a huge Samurai warrior, who wields several weapons and has a certain moving pattern. Throw a Kunai while his guard is down and then jump as he dashes towards you. Do not waste your kunais if he has his guard up as he takes no damage.
Round 2: Secret Entry
Ride your horse! It is time for Musashi to ride through a secret entry and face incoming Ninjas. This section is pretty self-explanatory, just beware of any obstacles that will be indicated when an exclamation mark appears.
The mini boss here is a set of armored ninjas stuck together that throw spears to the ground. Make sure to jump when the spears are descending to avoid damage. After this section Musashi reaches the base where soldiers with rifles appear. No big deal for a Ninja Master, but make sure to be patient while you ride the lift later on; jump on walls and climb on platforms to reach the top of the tower.
This area boss consists of a special cyber ball which fires exploding missiles and shocks at you. To make things more annoying for the player, the cyber ball has a special effect that changes the direction you move with the pad. The boss is not really a challenge but it can take you a while to finish it off.
Round 3: Body Weapon
You will infiltrate a DNA-splicing laboratory with acid monsters, and of the brains that come from the ceiling. After a quite short while of killing and evading, you will come across a mini boss section. It consists of tons of brains and the easiest way to beat them is by hanging on to the ceiling at the far left. Keep throwing kunais at them as they approach! After defeating the brains, the acid in the room will drain and you will be able to go down and then get inside the body of this stage, literally.
When inside the body weapon, just run fast and kick and slash the enemies that try to grab you. Afterwards you will face the head of the beast which is pretty unimpressive. Shoot into its eyes and dodge its hand. If it goes down into the ground, simply let it and as it appears again, shoot it! When it hurls little pieces of itself at you, just slash them. Eventually, it may fire a beam from its mouth, so duck and Musashi should be safe.
Round 4: Destruction
Surfs Up, what’s better than a surfer section? You’ll get onto a streaming surfing board, and instead of wall obstacles like in the horse level, there are ramps to jump on in order to grab all the items and avoid the bombs on top of the ocean. The mini boss here is an easy-to-beat armored ninja. Just avoid the mines and you’ll be fine. However, the second section of this stage is very tricky! There are a lot of platforms and difficult enemies. Remember to visit every room and make good use of the wall jump ability.
The boss of this stage is a mech-armored ninja who shoots laser beams at you as well as homing missiles and bombs. The fastest and arguably the best way to beat him is to risk much of your health bar by constantly jumping on him while using the jump attack ability. When defeated the first time, he will change mode and get the cannon worked up. Jump and shoot it with kunais and it will fall down eventually. Then, aim for the shield and you’ll face what is left of the ninja. He fires a charged plasma beam at you which is easy to dodge (but deals major damage), along with new circling bombs that follows Musashi’s every move. Just go back and forth to evade these and eventually the boss is dealt with.
Round 5: Electric Demon
This stage is fun! It has explosives all over and a burning forest as background, it gives you a sense of speed and urge as you dash through the first section. The mines hurt Musashi as well as the canisters that say “Danger” on them. If you sprint through them the explosions will occur behind Musashi, so any slow-mo walking is not recommended. Make sure to eradicate the artillery and heavy weapon guys before they shoot you and try get as much kunai as you can.
The mini boss is another Armored Ninja who acts much like the first boss of the game. Simply throw a kunai here and jump through his dashes there in order to get to the second section of the stage. Dynamite becomes useful here! Destroy it to remove obstacles as you go through. Beware of the pits and the heavy weapon guys. The stage can be a bit puzzling but it is not that hard, just make sure to visit all rooms and make good use of dynamite.
The boss here is a huge Mecha Dinosaur. It is quite a disappointment to be completely honest. It shoots energy balls from its chest and a wall of flame from the mouth. Start aiming at its mouth and then at the chest. Normally, this boss will get beaten pretty quickly, with or without POW.
Round 6: Traps
There is almost always a single most challenging level in all games, despite this it is not always the last one. The rock section on this stage can be a bit hard if you have not mastered the dual jumping strategy yet. The mini boss one the other hand is easy. Maybe the developers thought they designed the level a bit too difficult for the player and had to make it less imbalanced to prevent flying hardware from destroying TVs around the world. The mini boss is a harpy-like ninja that attacks with its burning feathers and occasionally dashes to you. Just wait on the left floating rock and throw kunais in the air as the harpy attacks you.
The second section of this stage is immensely unforgiving. You will have to trust all your ninja senses in order to lead Musashi to temporary safety. It features traps of all kinds inside of what I like to refer as a bushido ninja mansion. Try to time your jumps to go through obstacles and beware of the fatal spikes and lances. The door that leads to the boss starts at the section with the boxes. Jump upward instead of going through the lower part as it is more challenging.
The final boss is a Ninja leader dressed as a Kabuki dancer. The first part features six doors that he will randomly come out from. Additionally, a copy of him will also appear tossing six kunai at you. Only the original Kabuki takes damage. After a couple of kunai hits the original will finally come out to a fair battle. I suggest using your Kaminari Ninjitsu (invulnerability) to help defeat him, as the fans, pikes and attacks are very difficult to evade.
Round 7: The Final Confrontation
First you have to get inside a spaceship from down under, so make sure to avoid the jet fire. Then, you will ride a platform upwards. As you reach the top of the ship you will face charged beam cannons as well as turrets and flying frustration. All of the above can be destroyed, which is recommended as it makes life much easier. A POW power-up certainly helps! The steam vents can be destroyed by kicking them.
The inside of the ship is really problematic to deal with. Double jumps, wall and ceiling climbing, as well as patience and a little bit of luck are tools needed to beat this section of the last level. Try to predict where the path will lead to once you step onto a new platform, as it may help you avoid electricity and pits. The final boss is actually quite easy if dealt with properly, so don’t worry about being too low on health.
When the wall slowly closes, there is only a matter of seconds before Musashi will reach the final boss. If you get hurt, just keep going as there is health and kunais right outside the last room. The boss is Musashi’s futuristic clone. It has all Musashi’s ninja techniques but they cannot pierce the Kaminari Ninjitsu ability, so use it once the fight starts and slash him dead. Keep shooting your powered kunais and it will eventually throw energy balls at you. Just shoot through them, and as it jumps, it will destroy itself and the base along with it.
Congratulations on beating Shinobi III Return of the Ninja Master! Enjoy the short, yet rewarding ending.