[SAT] Shin Shinobi Den

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schadenfreude
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[SAT] Shin Shinobi Den

Postby schadenfreude » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:03 am

I took one look at the Mortal Kombat graphics and prepared for the worst, but I'm happy to say this one isn't too bad. It inherited the speed and pretty much all the moves from The Super Shinobi II, plus about a billion others that you'll never use. The most practical yet impractical one is a roll you can use to evade an enemy and strike him from behind, but you have to roll the D-pad in an Up-Towards-Down manner to pull it off! Meanwhile, the L and R buttons go unused. Bullshit. One thing I am happy to report is that they nerfed the "run then slash" move by removing the temporary invulnerability during the jump. That shit was cool in TSSII but it made me not want to do much else. But here, it's basically useless because you'll take a kunai in the face the moment you leap into your attack.

I've heard lots of smacktalk about this one being really hard, but like other Shinobi games (that I've played), the game seems quite generous with extends. By the time I hit a tricky part and start dying, I'll already have close to 10 lives stockpiled, mostly from score and collecting those blue orbs. Plus, if you get the sword magic (whatever it's called), you can kill a lot of enemies by just standing there, slashing your sword, and watching them die as they touch the big red dude.

Speaking of swords, the game doesn't feel like a traditional Shinobi title; I find myself never throwing kunai, which is surprising considering their importance in previous games in the series. The katana finally has its own button (though this is possible with a 6-button controller in TSSII!), as does blocking, so I end up doing both of those throughout the whole game. I still get in on the projectile fun when I occasionally deflect a kunai!

I finally got past that fucking mine cart bullshit, then breezed through the next level and died on the following one. I'll keep pumping away at this because goddam I want to see more of those grainy cutscenes. Maybe they'll show some pixilated puss.

(NOTE: I am playing the European version [Shinobi X] because the music is better!)

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Re: [SS] Shin Shinobi Den

Postby zinger » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:13 am

Cool, this will probably be my next game purchase. Always thought it was crap until recently when I read the Game Kommander review and got inspired. I'll start off with the JP version since I currently don't have a PAL system, but the story behind the European soundtrack is interesting for sure!

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Re: Shin Shinobi Den [SAT]

Postby schadenfreude » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:58 am

Nothing wrong with not having a PAL system, but surely you have some kind of Action Replay for your system, yes? Before I purchased my Saturn, I thought people were being overwhelmingly hyperbolic about the Action Replay being a mandatory purchase, but damn were they right!

I hope I haven't gotten your hopes up too much! It's not a masterpiece, but the Sega-made Shinobi games are so good that even the crappier ones are worth your time.

Thanks for sharing that game site (I found it via Google). Sadly, I only know half-assed katakana, so the Google translation will have to do. And my, what a comical train wreck it is!

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Re: Shin Shinobi Den [SAT]

Postby schadenfreude » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:54 pm

I gave it a couple more tries last night and improved every time. That second-to-last level in the mountains is a killer; I've never gotten through it without losing a few lives.

I'm hoping to clear the game this weekend!

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Re: Shin Shinobi Den [SAT]

Postby schadenfreude » Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:14 am

It took me a few more tries, but I did it.

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The last two levels are pretty brutal. Only once did I make it through the mountain level without dying, and interestingly it was when my brother came in to see what I was doing. I had him watch me while playing other parts of the game, but I couldn't repeat that performance. :P

The last level, however, is quite satisfying once you have it down. And overall, the game is definitely worth playing, though maybe not worth 1CCing unless you're obsessed with ninja sidescrollers like I am. I haven't played all the Shinobi games yet, but this one's definitely towards the bottom of that list, though that list includes some good ones (like The Super Shinobi I and II). I'll get around to reviewing it someday.

Oh, and sadly — no pixelated puss.
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Re: Shin Shinobi Den [SAT]

Postby zinger » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:19 am

Never needed an Action Replay before, so no. I'm also a bit suspicious about running a 50 Hz game on a 60 Hz system. I remember some Mega Drive games not syncing correctly with the music, at least when running Japanese MD games on a European system. Might not be a problem with Saturn games, or the other way around (European games on a JP system), but I haven't considering taking the risk to find out since I'm basically only interested in Japanese-developed games on these systems anyway. Have you compared the speed of Shinobi X (European version) to Shin Shinobi Den?

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Re: Shin Shinobi Den [SAT]

Postby schadenfreude » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:09 am

Yeah, that's an interesting question. I believe the hardware is what enforces the scanning frequency, so an NTSC Saturn will output 240p video at 60Hz, whereas a PAL Saturn will output 288p video at 50Hz, regardless of the region the game comes from.

For whatever reason, many games localized for the European market didn't take advantage of the higher resolution provided by the PAL (Perfection At Last) encoding system, so rather than redraw the graphics with an extra 48 scanlines and alter the game's timing to account for the lower refresh rate, they took the lazy route and just slowed the game down by 1/6th and left those extra scanlines empty. I am guessing this decision is also made by the Saturn hardware; when I play Shinobi X on my NTSC Saturn, the speed and resolution look fine (correct speed, no black bars), whereas if we would play the game on a PAL system, we'd see slowdown and black bars.

However, there are some games that are redrawn at the higher resolution for the PAL market. I tried out the European version of the Saturn Quake port for kicks and couldn't figure out why the health and ammunition bar was cut off on the bottom of the screen. Then I realized that the game must be drawn at a 288p resolution, and the NTSC Saturn is just throwing out the extra scanlines above 240p. Though the music did sound normal (just as shitty as I remembered it!), maybe because the music is encoded onto the disc as Red Book audio.

The summary here is that, barring the rare EU Quake scenario, if you have an NTSC Saturn plus an Action Replay, you're good to play almost everything, whereas if you have a PAL Saturn, you're just always fucked. :P

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Re: Shin Shinobi Den [SAT]

Postby zinger » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:40 am

OK, good to know!


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