Mean Machines


Publisher: Sega
Machine: Sega Game Gear (EU Version)

Published in Mean Machines #10

The GG Shinobi

Joe Mushashi's back (again), this time in his fifth outing courtesy of Sega This time though. Joe's more than a bit upset Not surprising really when you consider that those fiendish Zeed fellows have captured four of his oldest ninja chums, and have used a magic spell to make them turn against the forces of good - and that includes Joe himself!

Old Joe's obviously more than anxious to release his pals from this evil spell • but the only way he can do this is to beat them all into submission in a bit of one-on-one combat! Each ninja is hiding at the end of an eight-way scrolling landscape, and before Joe can have a shot at releasing his pal. his first job is to beat up the Zeed contingent and beat a path through to the end of the level. However, the good news is that once Joe's released one of the captured ninja, he can use their special abilities and magic powers as well as his own!

A Case Of Iconitis

Dotted around the landscape are box-like containers and Mr Mushashi can chop these open to reveal many strange and wonderful icons. Watch out for extra lives, extra energy, ninja magic and energy power-ups that increase the length of Joe's energy bar! GG Shinobi's booby prize is a massive bomb. Come anywhere near these explosive items and Joe's energy bar suffers accordingly.



The battle against the Zeed reaches the rooftops - of passing cars! Here, Joe speeds up his journey to the first base by using passing cars as stepping stones. Once he's reached the first Zeed base, and beaten the inhabitants to pulp, he faces up to the pink ninja in a do-or-die battle!


As a river rushes by below. Joe negotiates a terrifying cliff face, ever vulnerable to Zeed attack. Logs roll by on the river, and these can be used as platforms. Inside the cliff, there's a small Zeed base (where the blue ninja is being held), but the enemy are at their most dangerous!


Shinobi takes to the treetops in order to rescue the green ninja But the Zeed are guarding him well, with all sorts of ninja sporting some evil weaponry (like flying sawblades, for example). After the forest, it's time to risk a suicidal assault on a nmja-ridden Zeed hideout!



The yellow ninja's held m a boat, and it's down to Joe to rescue him. However, before he can even get near the boat itself he's got to deal with the Zeed base hidden cunningly in the harbour1 Once all of Joe's chums have been safely rescued, it's off to Neo City for the final confrontation!


The only decent Game Gear product I'd seen before this was Mickey Mouse - and that was a blatant tax of the Master System game. Now GG Shinobi's arrived, and it's brill, skill, and not a thinly-veiled Master System rip-off! Hurrah! The ninja action is smooth and varied, and mastering each ninja's abilities takes quite a while. For example, the valley level was really giving me grief until I discovered the yellow ninja's water-walking abilities! In fact the only thing that stopped me enjoying GG Shinobi to the full was the Game Gear's sticky, yet wobbly joypad. Still, to be perfectly honest, if you re a Game Gear owner, there's no excuse not to pick up this cracking ninja game ASAP. Get the message?


To be honest, there's been nothing yet on the Game Gear that has really grabbed my interest (Mickey Mouse is good, but it's exactly the same as the Master System). Until now. GG Shinobi has at last given me an excuse to blow the dust off my machine and buy some batteries for it! Sporting excellent graphics and some genuinely addictive gameplay, this is a superlative beat 'em up. The action is exciting and challenging, and there are many neat aspects which keep you coming back for more. Although it's only available on import at the moment, GG Shinobi is a must if you can track it down. If you can't find it, it's out officially later on this summer - so you've got plenty of time to start saving your pennies.



Presentation 81%
Brill presentation screens, but a severe lack of options and settings.

Graphics 92%
Excellent sprites and varied backdrops. Who could want more?

Sound 80%
Excellent tunes only let down by the Game Gear s awful sound chip.


Playability 92%
Slashing, punching and kicking has never been so much fun!

Lastability 90%
Five levels of Shinobi action that will take an age to master!

Overall 90%
The best Game Gear product available and a brill beat em up to boot!