Shadow Gangs (PC) review
"Shinobi cast a long shadow"
Shadow Gangs wants so badly to be a game that I want so badly to have: a new Shinobi game. And not the somersaulting, rainbow shot-making, wall-jumping Revenge of Shinobi, or Shinobi III variety either; the stripped down, hardcore, one-hit-and-you're-dead original Shinobi and its underappreciated follow up, Shadow Dancer. And the thing is, this game nearly achieves its lofty goal on the strength of being such a pretty (I don't love the hand-drawn look, but boy is it pretty), hard rocking, and carefully copied update. But then it doesn't, because while crafting their facsimile, the developers failed to make it fun.
All of the classic Shinobi conventions are here, and I mean all of them. Your hero, Dan, will saunter through side-scrolling environs, tossing shurikens to kill common thugs and ninja alike from a distance -- whipping out a gun when he's powered up -- and he'll kick and katana-slice foes when up close. Dan can do a high jump to reach a second tier of the screen if available -- from a train platform to atop the train, for example -- and, actually, in this game, some stages feature as many as five such tiers. Gunmen literally lie in wait on the wrong side of crates or other obstacles, demanding perfect timing for you to hop over and kill them between bullets.
Staff review by Marc Golding (April 10, 2020)
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