Classic Sega platformer (with ninjas and a dog!)
is one of Sega's most beloved action arcade games, a side scrolling platformer that mixes element of Ghosts & Goblins
, Gunstar Heroes
to great effect. Shadow Dancer is the follow-up which continues in the same vein but adds in a canine companion for the hero and provides plenty of satisfying ninja action. The plot revolves around a terrorist group which is placing bombs around the city and which must be defused by the player before the criminals can be brought to justice. Gameplay takes the form of a series of side-scrolling levels populated by a variety of enemies and which can be despatched by swift use of shurikens, swords and other assorted weapons. The addition of the dog is perhaps the biggest difference over the original, and adds in a fun element as you send him after your enemies to distract them, and then take them out at your leisure (this was way before Call of Duty: Ghosts
thought about using dogs!). Apart from this feature, Shadow Dancer is pretty much business as usual for the series, with plenty of familiar platforming action, boss battles and bonus stages, but this is no bad thing really. The graphics are pleasingly vibrant, with good use of colours, chunky, fast moving sprites, fairly smooth animation and scrolling and lots of interesting environments. Sound is generally fine, with some cool effects, but the dog's constant barking does get annoying. The gameplay itself is simple but undeniably enjoyable, with action that is fast-paced and hectic, and although levels are on the short side, they are pretty challenging. If you're a fan of classic action platformers or ninjas, then this is one to seek out.