Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is a hack and slash action game released for the Sega Mega Drive console in 1993 as the direct sequel to The Revenge of Shinobi. As a first-party Sega game, it has seen numerous re-releases in compilations such as Sega Genesis Collection, and has been ported to Virtual Console, Steam, and iOS.

In the game, you take control of Joe Musahi – a ninja from the Oboro clan. The criminal organisation Neo Zeed is at it again threatening the world with it’s evil! Now headed by Shadow Master, your job is to take him and his organisation down! You start in the mountains, sensing a disturbance and the rise of Neo Zeed, and decide to decent and deal with them once and for all!

A true Mega Drive treasure and arguably one of the greatest games released on the console. The 16-bit graphics at the time were beautiful and still are to this day for those that love that style. The shuriken is your standard strike. As you side-scroll through Shinobi III’s several stages. While the game is more about ranged attacks unlike the melee focus in Ninja Gaiden, it is much more methodical and requires a lot of thought. You can’t just constantly throw shurikens at your enemies!

In terms of difficulty, Shinobi III gets this just about spot on. It’s constantly engaging to play through, starting off simple and escalating as you progress through the game. Towards the latter parts of the game you’ll need to have mastered wall-jumping and plenty of other techniques in order to complete the game.

Of course, as a game from the 90’s the soundtrack that accompanies the gameplay is absolutely fantastic and brings together the 2D ninja gaming experience in a beautiful way.

The biggest downside to the game is that it’s damn short! It will likely take a couple of hours or less to beat on the standard difficulty mode but it’s definitely worth picking up and playing if you haven’t done so yet.