Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 33
  2. Negative: 2 out of 33
  1. 100
    An exemplary model for anyone who misses the constant, uninterrupted gameplay that made great 8-bit and 16-bit games the classics they have become.
  2. 90
    The challenge may be too steep for some, but it’s ultimately rewarding for determined gamers.
  3. The extremely high level of difficulty will leave some gamers a whimpering heap in the corner... But if you don’t mind a challenge, expect an extremely fun, rewarding experience.
  4. If you can get past the cheap deaths, bottomless pits and no save points, you’ll have a great time with this remake of a classic.
  5. An extremely difficult, linear, yet well-polished game. While it has its flaws, the game design is excellent, and the graphics are nice.
  6. If you're looking for a great action game, with absolutely no thinking required go pick up Shinobi, right now. You won't be disappointed.
  7. Unapologetic about being old-school hard... It’s a rude awakening to how soft and cuddled the masses have become toward games that demand as much from them as they do from the game-makers.
  8. If you want nonstop action with the right amount of difficulty and ingenuity, toss back a few shuriken with Shinobi. [Dec 2002, p.117]
  9. Perhaps the best and certainly the most unique thing about the game is Hotsuma’s thirsty-for-blood sword, which keeps the action at a brisk pace by forcing gamers to keep moving and keep killing.
  10. 78
    I'm not sure if there's such a thing as "too hard," but if you don't have any problem with that designation, it belongs on Shinobi.
  11. The problem is that the game feels like one continuous palette-swap, and with the exception of difficulty, there is little to differentiate one level from another. And don't get me started on the camera.
  12. Those looking for a game with lots of challenge and a distinct sense of style would do well to check out Shinobi.
  13. Bags of style and tons of good ideas - all crowbarred into a game that's slightly too monotonous to sustain them. [PSM2]
  14. It’s incredibly fun, and incredibly addicting. It’s just too bad that the camera system is incredibly flawed.
  15. 74
    A decent tribute to its source material, but fails to capture its best qualities.
  16. This game is hellaciously hard. So much so that I can't even think of the words to describe how difficult Shinobi becomes halfway through. [Dec 2002, p.220]
  17. 71
    If it looked nicer, and was a bit more player friendly, I'd probably be buying this one. But as it is, it feels like the developers just wanted to make this hard enough so that you couldn't beat it on a rental time span.
  18. Completing Shinobi is not an issue, but doing it with the style deserving of the series certainly is. Achieving those impressive A rankings will keep the dedicated occupied for the foreseeable future. Given the lack of alternative modes and the shortness of the main game, this fact will probably be lost on those who prioritise completion over mastery.
  19. For today’s player, Shinobi will quite simply be too frustrating to see it through to the end. Sad but true. Making this one for the masochists of yesteryear.
  20. Strictly in terms of gameplay, it's a work of art...Unfortunately, Shinobi stumbles in its level and enemy design. [Dec 2002, p.152]
  21. Ultimately devolves into the same hack-and-slash tedium seen in the old Sega Genesis games that inspired it. [10 Jan 2003, p.77]
  22. I don't think even the greatest purist will care for the save system.
  23. This otherwise solid game is simply too relentlessly tough on the outside to be worth the journey of frustration to its creamy center.
  24. There are plenty of cool moves, and the lead character is lots of fun to control, but boring level design and highly repetitive gameplay steal a lot of this potential hit's thunder. [Dec 2002, p.40]
  25. It's a challenging, fun game, but Shinobi is not what it could, and should, have been. [Dec 2002, p.65]
  26. It will likely frustrate the hell out of you but only if you let it. Once you get into it, it's hard to stop.
  27. Shinobi is, in a word, average. There are other adjectives I could throw at it, such a repetitive and frustrating, but I think average describes it best.
  28. A severe disappointment. Mediocre visuals and audio relay the game’s imprecise controls. Lacking innovative level design, the game is uninspired and extremely brief.
  29. There's very little need for strategy and the gameplay may grow weary to some, but it does manage to have tons of style, challenge and action to spare.
  30. We are captivated, taken by Hotsuma's grace of movement, the clarity of his sword's simplistic song, the will of the wind that fills his scarf. But far too soon, much like the programmers responsible: we’ll forget.
  31. 42
    Virtually no health power-ups + enemies that can attack you from offscreen = hurling your game pad at a wall. [Dec 2002, p.66]
  32. We're hugely disappointed in this utterly botched effort by Sega. What should have been the revival of a classic franchise has been turned into a poor rip-off of a Capcom title that wasn't even the dog's bollocks in the first place.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
  1. Jan 28, 2013
    HACK AND SLASH GOODNESS! This game did NOT make it to the Dreamcast, however it made up for it by being on the PS2 instead (marking the start of hack n slash games across all other 6th generation consoles). This is now on PSN , so I recommend purchasing it.
    The storyline CAN be a bit slow if you're not too speedy with finishing each level (the story is divided into cut-scenes that are shown AFTER completing a level).
    The camera can be annoying. The game CAN be hard, but REMEMBER that without this game, alot of hack n slashers like Ninja Gaiden / Bayonetta wouldn't exist (Ninja Gaiden: Black Edition even nodded to this game via an unlockable costume).
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 3, 2011
    It's an awesome premise and the gameplay is extremely stylistic, but it's also repetitive and doesn't prove to that much of a challenge. It's not a bad game, but it's not necessarily a good one either. It's fun every now and then, and the story is pretty good, but I would never buy it at it's original price - however it does live up to it's $2 price at Gamestop. The scene work is probably the most (and only) truly impressive quality, yet it is limited by it's horrendous voice acting. Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2010
    This game is very hard. I can't believe I beat it. Its very close in difficulty to the old Sega Genesis games. I think people forgot that. The level design and combat is pretty cool. I think if you like ninja games this is the best on PS2. This is probably sega's only good game in ten years. Full Review »