SHINOBI / Tengen / NES

Tengen was Atari's shill company to sneak their games unlicensed onto the NES, but apparently Sega struck a deal with them to smuggle their goods in too. Shinobi was clearly made by some programmers of limited skill at Tengen with no one from the original team involved, just kind of hacking together their best replica of the arcade game from scratch. It looks and plays more like a fan-made remake than a professional port.

Levels are now easier thanks to these various programming limitations/oversights and the addition of a surprisingly generous life bar, but first boss Ken-Oh is nearly impossible now. In the arcade, he shot fireballs that would loop and twirl all over the room while sort of vaguely heading in your direction, giving you plenty of room to dodge. In this one, they just kinda barrel right toward you, and the only way to dodge is to go to the far left of the room, try jumping over them to the right, and hope it works. With the stiffer jumping his little eye-slit is also nearly impossible to hit now.

A lot of enemies have been removed from the levels, or had their range of attacks and motions greatly reduced, and entire sections that apparently required too much programming know-how just got chopped instead. The game's color palette is almost at 4-color CGA levels, and the music attempts to replicate that of the arcade game (at least one of the songs from the later levels), but just sounds horribly obnoxious, like something off the Atari 2600. Just an awful, half-assed port all around.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video