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Retro Game Club - January 20’ : Shadow Dancer

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I completed the Mega Drive game over the weekend, and I agree that it's the better game. The arcade game might have more impressive graphics, and the setting and plot make more sense, but it really feels as if the developers took a look at the arcade version and said, "We can do it even better." And, all in all, they did. The Mega Drive game simply has better controls--and that makes all the difference. The dog mechanic works much more efficiently, and the stages are more varied and interesting. I still hate the ninjas, but at least game gives you more time and space to think about the challenges ahead--which extends to the the bosses, which are much fairer.

 

Sure, it's frustrating, but in a good way this time. It's a shame that it doesn't really make full use of all the features and capabilities it introduces in the first level. The environmental hazards basically stop appearing after the first level. The forward-back plane level structure is underutilized, and I wish that they'd done more with vertical planes as well. The thing that puzzled me the most, though, was just how little the dog is used. You have a couple of levels where he/she is really useful, (the beautiful cave level being a good example) but it's a shame that for about 85% of the time, he's just a sprite accompanying the main character.

 

I feel they could've done much more, but as it stands, it's a fun, clever game, and I can see how it became a cult favorite. I think Ninja Cop/Five-O is the best ninja-themed game, but this was good.

 

I also played the first couple of levels of the Master System port. It's a very impressive game, with amazing graphics and sound--especially when compared to the ESWAT port--but I don't plan on playing any further, as it's even more frustrating than the arcade version.

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Done! What a great game. I like the dog, personally. Good for taking out the guys with guns and he barks if anyone is lurking in the darkness in round 4.

 

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I can’t get on with the arcade version of this at all. It’s weird - Shinobi type games (Rolling Thunder et al - is there a more precise name?) are entirely my thing, but this kills me unfairly and just doesn’t feel “fun” in the way other entries do. Maybe it’s just me. Is the MD version that much different? 

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On 03/01/2020 at 08:52, CrashedAlex said:

I used to work with a brilliant guy called Greg Hounsom. Came from Braintree. Very passionate guy. Worked for Acclaim, Sony, Midway, Crystal Dynamics. Producer on Killzone series and later Tomb Raider. Not in the industry anymore. The Sony years took it out of him I think.

He was a BIG MD fan. Had every issue of "Mean Machines" - had letters printed in it. 

 

"Shadow Dancer" was his game. He brought his Nomad IIRC into the office one day. He said he could finish the game on one life.

Well, I love things like that, and I love it when people can brazenly RULE on a game.

So I called him on it, hooked up the game to a big TV - and he did it. He actually did it. All the way through. Not breaking a sweat. He'd played it so much it was like muscle memory for him.

Quite wonderful to see. So whenever I see that game, I always think of him. 

ha ha - I remember that well @CrashedAlex, good times and I still have the original NTSC Japanese MegaDrive version. The artwork and manual is just incredible. See my photos!

 

I still brush up on my skills with the MegaDrive Collection on PS4..! I think it takes me around 25 mins from the start to defeating Union Lizard end boss. . Ha Ha. Little known cheat code for this game is that if you are never getting more than 48 enemy ninja's on the bonus game just let Hayate fall to the ground without throwing any shurikens and you will get a bonus life. 

 

Many believe this was not as good as Super Shinobi (Revenge of Shinobi) but I thought it was a great addition to the Shinobi series and easily as tough (one hit kill!) 

 

 

 

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There is something about the classic Japanese Megadrive game artwork. I think it's possibly the peak (along with the gigantic Neo Geo AES boxes and art) and nothing since has come close. It helps that the Sega MS and MD, and indeed the AES, have the most sensible sturdy boxes of all the consoles. Damn Nintendo for going down the cardboard route!

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On 16/01/2020 at 01:27, Camel said:

Ugh that last boss. 

Brutal...you need to have stored up enough lives and the killer part is, that if you get killed in the boss room, you have to replay the WHOLE level to reach him again...

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Shadow Dancer remains one of my go-to MD games. I must have replayed it more than a dozen times over the years.

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It's such a good game. Will replay it again soon I think.

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