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Shinobi III: What Did the Critics Say in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 28, 2014   |   Episode 35 (Show Archive)  


Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (Sega Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Joe Musashi is back for one final 16-bit adventure. Today we're looking at Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, one of my favorite games for the Sega Genesis. It's an action-packed game featuring mutants, soldiers and futuristic dinosaurs. And did I mention that Joe rides a motorized surfboard and battles atop a horse? I wonder of Electronic Gaming Monthly or Die Hard Game Fan mentioned that in their reviews. Find the answer to this burning question in today's episode of Review Crew.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
[ Company: Sega | Console: Genesis ]

GAMEPRO (August 1993)
5 out of 5

"The true Ninja Master has returned to the Genesis -- and it's about time! Shinobi III proves that Sega of Japan is still on the cutting edge of side-scrolling excellence. This cart plays as smooth as fine Asian silk. Like Sega superstars Montana and Musashi, this game's no ordinary Joe." -Slasher Quan

9 out of 10

"Shinobi is back for a fourth time and he is an all-out winner. This time with more moves, more weapons and flawless control, Shinobi becomes the best game for the Genesis in a long, long time! The horseback and jet ski riding are fantastic and the bosses couldn't be better! One problem, though: it ends too soon." -Steve Harris

DIE HARD GAME FAN (September 1993)
94% out of 100%

"One of my all time favorite games has been blessed with an incredible sequel. Shinobi 3 is yet another high quality product in Sega's fall lineup. Everything in this game screams MORE! More color, more action, more graphic FX, more game play elements and, of course, more music. A must for all Genesis owners." -The Enquirer

9 out of 10

"The third Shinobi game is by far the best in the series. This title has major improvements over the previous three. The game play is fantastic with his new attacks and killer magic, all requiring some technique. This game is loaded with huge bosses, some with cool warping effects to make it look more real. Great tunes are a bonus!" -Martin Alessi

DIE HARD GAME FAN (September 1993)
92% out of 100%

"The third in the series is by far the best, accurately representing just how far the Genesis has come in just three years. Everything is better; graphics, music, control and design. Since this may be the last Shinobi on 16 bit, I bid thee farewell. Thanks for the memories and two great games that will stay with me forever." -Skid

(The Essential Sega Guide)
89% out of 100%

"Once more the pungent smell of hair tonic is thick in the air as the lengthy-locked master of Neo Zeed has risen from his grave and again seeks ultimate revenge. This game is still a decent platform ninja game, bigger and faster than the original. It's just a shame that more wasn't added to the concept." -Rich

82% out of 100%

"The original Super Shinobi 2 was a little weak, but now Sega has released a souped-up version, is the game any better? Well yes, but not by that much. When it comes to the crunch, this is a worthy addition to the Shinobi line-up, but if you're a red-hot player I would have a try before handing over the spends." -Garth Sumpter

MEGA PLAY (February 1993)
82% out of 100%

"Like its Shinobi predecessors, this game features many interesting moves and techniques that enhance the action. However, the control may be a bit frustrating at times and somewhat taxing on the thumb. Graphics and sound add to the total ninja mystic effect and make it a game worth mastering." -Howard Grossman

81% out of 100%

"The ancient art of the Ninja is not exactly a new theme to base a game on and, of course, we've all met Joe before. Despite this, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is a really playable game, combining plenty of mad Ninja violence with a straightforward platform format. This may not be original but it has to be ranked near the top of the pile for games of this type." -Chris
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 89% - While not everybody was as enthusiastic about the ninja master's return, it's clear that everybody had a good time with Shinobi III. GamePro goes as far as to suggest that this game proves Sega of Japan is on the cutting edge, Die Hard Game Fan calls the game the best in the series. On the other hand, Neither CVG nor Sega Force Mega agreed with the high scores. CVG recommended players try it before committing to a purchase. At the same time, Sega Force Mega wished the 16-bit cart was more original. Despite a few lower scores, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master averaged an impressive 89% and is worth playing.

ON WEDNESDAY'S EPISODE: The President of the United States has been kidnapped by a bunch of ninjas. This sounds like a job for Joe Mushasi. Unfortunately, the ninja master was busy, so we get a couple muscular meatheads instead. That's right; Wednesday's episode is Bad Dudes for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Did critics love it? Find out in a couple days. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

MORE NINJA ACTION: Ninja Spirit (TurboGrafx), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (Super NES)



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