Shinobi is an arcade game, developed and published by Sega. It was originally released in 1987 and ported to numerous systems. The game spawned numerous sequels. A re-worked version was released for Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade on June 10, 2009 with HD support and online leaderboards. The original coin-op version of the game was released for the Virtual Console in Japan on July 14, 2009, in the PAL regions on October 23, 2009 and in North America on December 7, 2009.


The five missions in the game are each three or four stages long. Anywhere from 2-9 hostages are being held in each stage; Joe must rescue all of them before he is allowed to finish the stage. The last stage in each mission has no hostages, but instead features a powerful boss character whom Joe must defeat. After completing each of the first four missions the player is taken to a bonus stage, where he can earn an extra life if he is able to kill all of the ninjas jumping towards him. Completing the fifth mission ends the game. Also, once the fifth mission begins, continues are no longer allowed; the player has to finish the game with however many lives he has left at that point. If the player earns a place on the high score board, the number of credits it took him to get that score is displayed along with his score.

Joe's standard weapons are an unlimited supply of throwing stars, along with punches and kicks when attacking at close range. One hostage per stage gives him a power-up. When powered-up, his throwing stars are replaced by a gun that fires large, explosive bullets, and his close-range attack becomes a katana slash. Joe can also perform "ninja magic," which may be used only once per stage and kills (or damages, in the case of bosses) all enemies on the screen. Another screenshot.

At the end of each stage, the player receives score bonuses based on performance. Completing the stage without using ninja magic earns the player a 5,000 point bonus (except during mission five), and completing the stage without using any throwing stars or bullets (just punches, kicks, sword slashes, and/or ninja magic) earns the player a 20,000 point bonus (including in the final mission). The player has three minutes to complete each stage; remaining time at the end of the stage is also converted to bonus points and added to the player's score. Expert Shinobi players often challenged themselves to see how many stages they could pass with both the "no stars" and "no ninja magic" bonuses. It is possible to beat the game on one quarter in this way with a final score of over 700,000 points; the final score for someone who completes the game on one quarter without trying for those bonuses would be in the neighborhood of 250,000 points. It is also possible for the player to manipulate the points received for rescuing each hostage based on his/her current score. A player will receive 1,000 points for a hostage if the hundreds digit of their score is 0,1 or 2. A player receives 500 points for a hostage if the hundreds digit of their score is 3,4,5, or 6. Players receive 200 points if the hundreds digit of their score is 7,8 or 9. The hostage that grants a power-up does not give a points bonus.

The bosses on missions 1 through 4 can be defeated without shooting or throwing stars, granting the player the 20,000 points bonus for each. It is very difficult to do this on bosses 2-4, but with patience, it can be done. The boss on mission 5 (Masked Ninja) can also be defeated exclusively with close range attacks but no points bonus beyond the standard time bonus/end of game bonus is awarded.

Since most enemies appear in the same place on each level, it is possible to master the game by memorizing their locations and devising patterns to defeat them.

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