Whatever happened to Sega's Shinobi franchise? The last Shinobi I can think of is a crappy remake for the Game Boy Advance. Not that I actually played that game. The last Shinobi I played was Shinobi X (known as Shinobi Legions in Europe) for Sega's Saturn. I know Defuncts' head-in-chief Cyril didn't like that too much, but I thought it was pretty decent. The gameplay was fast and it had cutscenes so corny they were absolutely hilarious.
But it all started in 1988 as an excellent Master System game. Of course, it's nowhere near as fast as Shinobi Legions nor does it have any corny cutscenes of Japanse ninja's gossiping all kind of stuff in Japanse.
Nevertheless, the original Shinobi is still pretty much fun to play. It takes a little while to get accustomed to the old school gameplay (that's maybe a little slow-paced for many present day gamers) and it isn't as instant accessible as, say, an old Sonic game, but once you're into it, it's a really rewarding game. The sound is excellent - classic tunes that most longtime Sega fans will recognize instantly. Regarding graphics Sega also did a pretty good job, they're pretty sharp and colorful. They are a step down from the arcade, but the graphics are good nonetheless. Control is decent, too - the only thing that bothers me is that it isn't possible to throw shurikens upwards. This makes the game a lot harder and will even get you frustrated now and then. Welcome back to the days of 8-bit gaming!
All in all, Shinobi is a classic platformer and one of the best games in the library of Master System games. Shurikhay!