Today brings us to the Mega Drive’s swansong Shinobi game and possibly the best in the series: The Super Shinobi 2 or, as it’s better known in the west, Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Master (1993)! .
In Shinobi 3 we, once again, play as series mainstay, Joe Musashi, facing off against… a new enemy, possibly? Nope, it’s Neo Zeed once again (they just won’t stay down!) and this time they are back, meaner than ever, although you wouldn’t think so given that Shinobi 3 is actually a lot easier than “Revenge”. This might be because Joe has acquired some particularly deadly new ninja skills since defeating Neo Zeed way back when. Yes, his Ninjitsu techniques are as potent as ever, but it’s in his standard move set where we see significant improvements. Joe can now sprint and rush down his adversaries before they get a chance to attack. While running, Joe can unleash a powerful slash and can also launch mid-air fly kick to the cranium. His final new trick is the ability to climb and hang from his surroundings that proves useful when traversing the environment. .
Unlike it’s predecessor, Shinobi 3 isn’t blessed with the audio talents of Yuzo Koshiro, but that doesn’t mean a degradation in quality. Oh no, Shinobi 3 has a fantastic OST, that isn’t far off from the high standards Koshiro set back in ’89. .
While Shinobi 3 doesn’t provide the same level of challenge as “Revenge”, for the first time, it empowered the player to feel like a speedy and efficient killer, which was far removed from the slower pacing of the earlier titles. Shinobi 3 was the final Shinobi game to be released on the Mega Drive and proved to be a fitting end to one of the system’s most loved series.