Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk

Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

SNES vs. Genesis: Landstalker and the Shinobi Series


Definitely one of the better Zelda clones on the two systems, Landstalker was developed by Climax [which also developed two sequels: Lady Stalker for the SNES and Dark Savior for the Saturn, but only the latter has been released in English] and released in October 1992. Unlike many of the Zelda clones on the market, which featured a sort of top-down perspective, Landstalker had an isometric camera tilted to one side that gave everything a quasi-3D look, which also allowed it to have some platforming. As with the other games, however, it featured real-time combat against a host of enemies, a large world to explore, and extra health to gain. Unlike the other two Zelda clones that have been looked at so far, Landstalker deals more heavily in puzzles, many doors are locked and require you to find keys while other areas are inaccessible unless you find a switch. The story revolves around Nigel, a bounty hunter, and faerie named Friday who knows the secret location of King Nole’s treasure. Of course, it’s not quite as easy as just going to where the treasure is and taking it, there’s a lot of wild situations along the way that you’ll have to get Nigel through. The graphics, while a bit dated, have a lot of detail packed into them and the quasi-3D look is actually pretty cool.

Shadow Dancer

Developed by Sega and released November 1989 for arcade and 1991 for the Genesis. Shadow Dancer is a side-scrolling action game that pit you, the shinobi, against hordes of various ninjas and samurai. Your main attack is to throw a small knife, but you can also slash at nearby opponents with your sword and use various magical attacks that have different effects. There’s also boxes scattered around that you can break open to find powerups, health, additional knives, and other cool things to use. While Shadow Dancer is technically the earliest Shinobi game on the Genesis, it wasn’t actually ported until nearly two years after Revenge of Shinobi, the third game in the series. Unlike the other two games, Shinobi doesn’t have a health bar and dies in one hit, making it the most difficult of the three. This game also features hostages that you can save for extra points, a feature not in the other two games.

Revenge of Shinobi

Developed by Sega and released on the Genesis in December 1989. As this was the first Shinobi released on the Genesis, it shows its age. The gameplay is fairly slow and the graphics are not nearly as detailed and vibrant as the other two games. It does, however, have a health bar, unlike Shadow Dancer, so that’s something.

Shinobi III

Developed by Sega and released on the Genesis in July 1993. The last of the Shinobi series on the Genesis and easily the best-looking, thanks to some detailed backgrounds, transparency, and some neat animated effects. It also feature the fastest pace, since Shinobi can actually run this time around instead of merely walking, and has a health bar that’s longer than in the first game. Shinobi can leap from one wall to the next, reaching higher places than in the previous games, launch into a run that you can end by having Shinobi slash his sword, and perform a midair dash-kick. Shinobi III is easily the best of the three Genesis titles.


April 20, 2010 - Posted by | Console Wars, Games | , , , , , , , ,

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