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SHINOBI 2 REVIEW - November 1992

The original GG Shinobi was one of the grooviest and most popular Game Gear games around, so it's not much of a surprise to see a sequel appearing.

Even less of a surprise is finding that it follows more or less exactly the same theme as the first one, with platforms to leap, bad guys to slice up and stuff to rescue. On this particular occasion, as if it mattered, you're after five differently-coloured crystals, one of which is in the safe keeping of the guardian of each of five different scrolling platform levels. Your laughably straightforward task is to simply get to the end of each level, enabling you to take on the boss, then kill 'im and move onto the next one.

Unfortunately, 'laughably' straightforward' is exactly what Shinobi 2 is - the platform levels are so easy that you'll polish off every one of them inside two or three attempts. They're not all that big, but more importantly they're not all that baddie-packed either, which means that the only thing standing between you and the end of the stage is a matter of navigating your way through. Unlike most games of this nature, there aren't even sub-sections to each stage - it's one level and one level only. So you'll finish the game in half an hour, right? Wrong. Although the platform stages themselves are very very simple, the bosses at the end of them are very very nasty indeed - they're fast, they're heavily-armed, they're extremely vicious and they take an awful lot of punishment before they give up their prize. It's a bit of a funny approach to difficulty, this. Most Sega games that we see here these days do it the other way around, with stressful levels followed by relatively weedy guardians so that all your hard work doesn't go frustratingly to waste - look at Sonic or Sonic 2 for examples - but here you'll spend a lot of time doing the platform levels over and over again after you lose all your lives on a boss, which is a bit of a downer. Then again, maybe that's just the game's way of compensating for the small quantity of platforming fun included in it - there might not be many platforms, but you're certainly going to get to see plenty of the ones that there are...

Even with the nasty bosses, though, spirited persistence will see you to the end of Shinobi 2 inside a couple of days at the very outside. A terrible rating, then? Wrong again. This is one of those elusive games that everything claims to be but so few really are - one that you'll come back to and play again even after you've finished it. It's so beautifully put together and entertainingly playable that the fun comes from the taking part rather than the winning. If you like a challenge from your games steer well clear, but if you're just after a bit of fun, it'll do you nicely.


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Lovely graphics

Smooth control

Lots of atmosphere

Varied scenery

Some imaginative baddies


A bit on the small side

...and miles too easy

...but the bosses are annoyingly tough


A really enjoyable little game, but it's far too easy for its own good. You'll be through it in no time at all, but at least you'll enjoy doing it.