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Game Info:

SEGA AGES Shinobi
Developed By: M2
Published By: Sega
Released: January 23, 2020
Available On: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Action, Arcade
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Fantasy Violence)
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $7.99

First, thanks to Sega for the review key.

Remaking and remastering classics is never a bad idea so old games can be enjoyed by newer generations, especially if the remake or remaster does the original justice. The SEGA AGES Shinobi remastering does a pretty decent job of this.

The game itself is a port of the original arcade game Shinobi, starring ninja Joe Mushashi. The gameplay is a platforming side-scroller where Joe must rescue hostages, stop the bad guys, and save the day. Using throwing knives, ninjitsu, and a new melee attack added for this remake, you have to get Joe through each level within a certain time limit.

As a remake, it comes with a classic mode and an AGES mode, where the game hands you several enhancements like increased health, more powerful weapons, and even a "rewind time" feature so you can re-do things if you are running out of time. Being a time-limited arcade game, this seems like cheating, but the rewind literally rewinds you back to where you were at a certain point on the clock during the level, so it's more like a "do-over" button.

SEGA AGES Shinobi
Highlights:

Strong Points: Excellent arcade port
Weak Points: Not much to offer besides original arcade game
Moral Warnings: Violence against humans in an arcade setting with implied death; implied use of actual if fantastically depicted magic

Graphics are the same as the original arcade game, with some aspect changes for the Switch depending on your screen size, and there are several ways to customize it. You can also add a smoothing filter, scan-lines, a combination of the two, or none of the above.

The music is a classic chip-tune style score fit for a ninja-themed action game. None of it is particularly memorable, but it does the job of setting the mood. The sound effects are also nothing special, but also sound crisp and complement the music nicely.

Controls are fairly simple and the game includes a manual to refresh you, though I found them very intuitive. Playing on a handheld can lead to some hand cramping, especially if you use the rewinding time feature a lot, but you can always take a break in between periods of play.

SEGA AGES Shinobi
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 90%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 9/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

This port is very stable and has no frame-rate issues I could discern. Load times are also very fast.

Morally, there are some very mild issues. First off, it's depicted bloodlessly and you are acting in self-defense, but you are having to kill actual people. It's free of gore and bodies will disappear immediately after death. Language and sexual content are basically nonexistent. There is implied use of actual magic with the ninjitsu key, but it's not based on anything that could be considered remotely realistic. From an ethical standpoint, you are resisting armed enemies who have kidnapped those whom you have to rescue and who are instigating violence against yourself and other people.

Overall, if you liked the original Shinobi, this is likely going to tide you over nicely, especially if you play it hand-held on a road trip. From a moral standpoint, not too bad aside from the violence aspect, and for an arcade game, it's pretty sterile at that.

About the Author

Daniel Cullen

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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