3D Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Liam Cook 05.01.2014

Review for 3D Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master on Nintendo 3DS

The Shinobi series made its début in 1987 in the form of an arcade game, which was then ported to various different platforms, most notably the SEGA Mega Drive. After the success of the first game, SEGA released many sequels and spin offs. Amongst these was Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, which is widely regarded as the highest point in the franchise, due to the faster pace of gameplay and a number of several other improvements being made. The large amount of praise this instalment received makes it a worthy entry in the SEGA 3D Classics series, so read on to find out more about this Mega Drive classic and the new features included in this 3D-enhanced version.

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master sees players take on the role of fan-favourite ninja, Joe Musashi, whose primary objective is to stop Neo Zeed - an organisation Joe has been fighting for years, which now has access to high-tech weapons, biologically engineered creatures and robots - making them more deadly than ever. To take down this organisation, Musashi must use everything at his disposal and travel through various different locations in search of Neo Zeed's leader, the Ninja Master.

Musashi has a number of different attacks and skills this time around: as well as having the ability to throw shuriken and attack enemies at close range with his katana, he can also sprint and perform a deadly downward attack after jumping. Players can use a combination of these new and old techniques to progress through the game's seven unique stages.

In each of these stages, there are two bosses - one of which is encountered during the middle of the stage and the other which appears at the end of the stage. Each of these bosses have their own attack patterns and require players to use the various different skills possessed by Joe Musashi to successfully take down these tougher foes.

Screenshot for 3D Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master on Nintendo 3DS

Placed throughout the environment are small supply crates, which players can obtain extra health, shuriken, Ninjutsu magic and a collectible item that turns shuriken into powerful projectiles that deal an exceptional amount of damage.

There are four different types of Ninjutsu magic: Jitsu of Ikazuchi, Kariu, Fushin and Mijin. Players can choose what Jitsu art they want to activate by pausing the game and pressing left or right on the D-Pad to cycle through the available options. Each of these abilities possesses their own unique effects; for example, one of them spreads fire across the screen and another gives Musashi the power of invulnerability for a short period of time.

Something exclusive to this version of Shinobi III is the addition of a brand new mode. Yes, like most of the entries in the SEGA 3D Classics range, this contains a new mode in the form of Master Ninja mode - a mode that utilises the extra buttons on the 3DS unit. The B button is solely used for close range attacks, whilst the left and right shoulder buttons block attacks and throw shuriken, respectively.

Playing the game in Master Ninja mode makes the experience new and fresh, provides more depth to the gameplay and also makes blocking attacks more accessible as instead of requiring players to hold the attack button, it is simply remapped to the left shoulder button.

Screenshot for 3D Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

3D Shinobi III: Revenge of the Ninja Master is a fantastic addition to SEGA's 3D Classics range and the inclusion of the Master Ninja mode proves that this title can still stand its own against modern games in the genre. As with 3D Super Hang-On, 3D Space Harrier, and 3D Streets of Rage, as well as the other 3D Classics, M2 has done a great job with the porting of this classic. This includes the wealth of options, such as International and Japanese versions of the game, CRT television emulation and, most notably, the inclusion of a brand new mode. At £4.49, fans of Shinobi games and other side-scrolling action titles should certainly check this one out.

Also known as

3D Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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