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Shadow Dancer by BMan2
Game:Shadow DancerCompany:Sega
Type:PlatformPlayers:1-2

Shadow Dancer is a follow up to the ninja arcade classic Shinobi - and the concept is still pretty much the same - defuse the bombs from a level and kill the many enemies that are lined up along the way to get to the exit in time. So what's changed? Well, not much really - and this is kind of a disappointment - because the original was such an entertaining game.
This is not to say that you won't enjoy Shadow Dancer - as it follows well in the footsteps of it's predecessor. Still remaining are the extra weapons and the wonderful ninja magic to call on. Ever present is also the extra stage ninja star frenzy - that is quite an entertaining break from the side scrolling action. Adding to the action in this incarnation - is a trusty dog by your side - that can be sent out to subdue your immediate opponent - a handy feature in a tricky sitaution.
Graphically, Shadow Dancer does show improvements over Shinobi - although they are very similar in style. The backgrounds have been enhanced - and it seems like the characters are more colourful - although perhaps a few more animation frames wouldn't have gone astray. Sound sits in the background unobtrusively - neither adding or subtracting to the overall gameplay.
But there are some downsides to this game - not withstanding the lack of REAL originality the designers have come up with in this sequel. Your controls - mainly the one to use your dog - are often obtrusive - and many times you hit the Down + Shoot combination just to avoid getting shot - VERY annoying when your dog comes back the size of a pea on a misspent journey. Further to this - Shadow Dancer is possibly the most FRUSTRATING of all games in it's habit of sending you COMPLETELY back to the start of a level on dying. This punishes the user for the ONE little mistake that can so easily happen in the midst of a ninja onslaught. Not good gaming practice. Add to this - the extremely predictable patterns of enemy that come your way - enabling the player to "learn" whole levels - decreasing the replay value of the game.
Overall, Shadow Dancer is a good game that has been done before. Add to this a few gameplay errors, and this is a game for only the die-hard ninja game fan (and I know you're out there!:P) - or someone who hasn't experienced Shinobi. A disappointing result - for a promising game.
Graphics
7
6
Sound
Play Control
6
6
Challenge
Replay Value
5
6
Performance
1999 EmuViews