Shadow Dancer is a side-scrolling action game produced by Sega originally released as an arcade game in 1989. It is the second and the final arcade game in the Shinobi series, following the original Shinobi itself. The player controls a ninja aided by an attack dog, who is fighting to save the city from a terrorist organization.
The young ninja battles together with his faithful pet dog. In the center of the city, a group of terrorists are committing every imaginable atrocity known to man, including the planting of time bombs throughout the metropolis. Our youthful hero and his canine companion courageously set out to gather all the explosives placed by the evil gang and annihilate the syndicate that manipulates them.
The play mechanics of Shadow Dancer are similar to these of the arcade version of the original Shinobi. The controls and almost all of the player's moves from the original Shinobi are present here as well.
The biggest change is the addition of a canine companion that follows the protagonist around. When the dog barks towards an enemy, the player can sic the dog on the enemy by pressing the attack button while crouching, allowing the player an opportunity to attack the enemy while it is being bitten by the dog. However, if the player takes too long to attack the bitten enemy or the enemy has a strong defense, then the dog will be hurt and turn into a harmless pup. The dog will then remain in pup form until the player acquires the next time bomb or finishes the stage.
The player's weapons consists of an unlimited supply of shuriken and a sword which is used when adjacent to an enemy. When the player collects half of the time bombs in each stage, stronger weapons are granted until the player finishes the stage or loses a life. The player can also use from one of three random ninja magic (ninpo) techniques that will clear the entire screen of enemies. Normally, these techniques can only be used once per stage, but if the player continues the game by inserting more coins and pressing START, the protagonist restarts the stage with two units instead of one. Bonus points are awarded if the player completes the game without using shuriken or ninja magic.
There are four different missions, consisting of three stages for the first mission and four stages each for the remaining three. In the first few stages of each mission, the player must collect a certain amount of time bombs scattered throughout the stage in order to proceed to the goal. The final stage in each mission is a confrontation between him and the one of the four bosses: an armoured giant throwing energy balls, a weaponized tank engine, a woman armed with a shield/weapon device, and a female ninja using magic and a naginata (the dog does not appear during boss battles).
Between each mission, there is a bonus stage minigame seen from the character's perspective as he tosses shuriken at enemy ninjas dropping down from a building. The player is awarded extra lives after successfully completing this minigame.
Following its debut as an arcade game in 1989, Shadow Dancer was released on various home computer formats in Europe during 1991. Versions released for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum were published by U.S. Gold and developed by Images. Some of these versions were re-released as budget titles by Kixx in 1993.
The Master System port was released 1991 exclusively in Europe and Brazil. Although this version bears the title Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi on the packaging (much like the Genesis version released during the same year), it is actually based on the arcade version and is simply titled Shadow Dancer in-game. However, most of the content from the arcade version was cut and the play mechanics were modified a bit. Missions now consists of a single side-scrolling stage and a boss encounter. The player's canine companion no longer follows him around, but can still be summoned to kill certain enemies from a distance. Collecting time bombs is now an optional task that the player can conduct while on his way to the goal. When the player gathers all five time bombs in each mission, he will gain an attack power-up for the next boss battle.
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This version of Shadow Dancer was designed for the Sega Master System (SMS), which was an 8-bit video game console manufactured
by Sega in the years 1985 - 1992. It was a direct competitor to the much more successful NES console and the predecessor of the much beter console Sega Genesis.
The unit price of Master System was approximately $ 200 and worldwide only 13 million units of this console were sold. More information about Sega Master
System can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, buy a suitable USB controller on Amazon or AliExpress or in some of your favorite online stores.
Available online emulators:
4 different online emulators are available for Shadow Dancer. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Shadow Dancer are summarized in the following table:
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