Shinobi Legions


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


Switching graphical styles after going out strong on the Genesis, Shinobi Legions seems to have little in common with the rest of the series. It has a few rough spots, but it's solid platform action. The hopelessly cheesy FMV cinemas oddly add to the overall quality.

shinobilegions1.jpg (16204 bytes)It's a shock to switch from the earlier titles to this Saturn-only version of the series. This is entirely based on sword slashing, though you can still toss shurikens. They barely even qualify as effective. Controls are responsive and smooth, but jumping is a problem.

Requiring extensive use of the double jump, pulling this off requires precise timing that is practically impossible to execute with any regularity. Even after extended play, it feels like the move doesn't want to work or the button is slowly degrading on the controller.

That's the game's sole major flaw, dropping this action game down from classic status, which it easily would have attained (even with generic platform mechanics). Enemies explode in a satisfying mass of blood when slashed, offering the player a nice sense of doing something special by only pressing a button. Boss battles provide enough difficulty to keep hardcore fans satisfied.

shinobilegions2.jpg (12531 bytes)It leads to a few controller-tossing moments too. Dying occasionally sends players too far back in the level, and given some of the challenges, this is not acceptable. Death-dealing pits are hard to identify given the general stage design too. They look no different from another section that would drop players down to a lower level.

All of this is sandwiched between some of the worst FMV segments ever produced in a video game. Given that genre's general "quality," that says something. Production values couldn't be any lower, the costumes (which don't look bad on the small digitized sprites or in the sometimes destructible backgrounds) definitely coming in as the most obvious lacking aspect. They're great for laughs though and somehow make this game better.

While this is far from the epic quality of Shinobi 3, this is a fun title in the series, never appreciated like the others. It deserves some recognition for simply doing things right without ruining what made these great games to begin with. It's not a classic, but even being in the low end of the Shinobi spectrum, it does pretty well for itself.


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Last updated: Saturday, October 22, 2005 10:16 PM