Shadow dancer is the sequel to the original Shinobi arcade action, ninja game. The, also known as Shinobi II, was developed in 1989 by Sega for the arcades and was converted to the home computers and gaming consoles in 1990.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Much like the original Shinobi, you play the role of a fearless ninja (this time wearing whites!) and you shoot shurikens (the deadly and sharp ninja stars), jump on higher or lower platforms, crouch whenever needed and perform ninja martial arts in order to stop a terrorists' group plan to detonate time bombs set in various parts of the city. You also have a katana sword at your disposal, for closer encounters. The main action starts at the city's Airport! Each level has a number of bombs, that you must locate and defuse before you can successfully progress to the next level. Additionally there are some bonus stages between the main levels that grant extra-lives, but they are rather difficult to cope. The new detail in Shadow Dancer is that you fight all the way having a white dog by your side. This powerful canine attacks the enemies when you're in trouble and holds them with its teeth until you kill them! The action takes place into four different rounds, with the first round consisting of three stages and the remaining 3 rounds four stages each! So you have a total of 15 stages to complete. As in the original Shinobi, Shadow Dancer offers combines fighting, shooting and "platform" elements, allowing you to progress only a little further after each attempt. The game is not so easy since the difficulty level rises gradually (as in Shinobi as well), so this game needs some patience to complete, killing and avoiding traps at the same time. Overall, Shadow Dancer is not bad at all. On the contrary, it's a really fun game based on the already successful Shinobi formula!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics are fine on the Atari ST and quite similar to the Amiga version, but with a few drops on the frame rate (as usual). This is a classic Sega game, which means that the graphics are not eye-catching (there's no parallax-scrolling or any animated backdrops) but the gameplay is its main advantage. Also, there are times when the visuals look a bit messy in a way that they hide enemy shots, leading to your ninja's death. The sound on the ST is also decent and offers a nice in-game music and a bunch of nice sound effects (but the sampling is not as good as the Amiga's).
In-game music sample:
Some videos belong to retroshowcase.com (indicated); others not
CPU: Motorola 68000 16/32bit at 8mhz. 16 bit data bus/32 bit internal/24-bit address bus. MEMORY: RAM 512KB (1MB for the 1040ST models) / ROM 192KB GRAPHICS: Digital-to-Analog Converter of 3-bits, eight levels per RGB channel, featuring a 9-bit RGB palette (512 colors), 320x200 (16 color), 640x200 (4 color), 640x400 (monochrome). With special programming techniques could display 512 colors on screen in static images. SOUND: Yamaha YM2149F PSG "Programmable Sound Generator" chip provided 3-voice sound synthesis, plus 1-voice white noise mono PSG. It also has two MIDI ports, and support mixed YM2149 sfx and MIDI music in gaming (there are several games supported this).