Dec 042013


Celebrating 26 years of ninja action with some of its best – and lesser known – tracks.

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0:00:00 – Mission 1-1 (Shinobi Arcade)

0:08:00 – Mission 2-2 (Shinobi Arcade)

0:09:37 – Boss (Shinobi Arcade)

0:18:57 – Like a Hurricane (Revenge of Shinobi)

0:20:41 – Chinatown (Revenge of Shinobi)

0:27:50 – Battle on the Highway (Shadow Dancer)

0:29:33 – Bonus Stage (Shadow Dancer)

0:38:11 – The Shinobi (Shinobi III)

0:39:06 – Ninja Soul (Shinobi III)

0:43:37 – Shadow Master (Shinobi III)

0:50:35 – Rush (GG Shinobi)

0:51:38 – Joe (GG Shinobi)

0:52:32 – Castle 2 (GG Shinobi 2)

0:57:48 – Transfiguration (Shinobi PS2)

1:01:27 – Incineration (Shinobi PS2)

1:06:41 – The Shinobi (Shinobi 3DS)

1:10:32 – Oboro Clan Village (Shinobi 3DS)

1:18:10 – Title Theme (Shinobi Legions)

  26 Responses to “VGMpire Episode 59 – Secrets of Shinobi”

  1. Again, fun episode! Thanks for VGMpire, it makes my work much more enjoyable. 🙂

    I have a request/recommendation for an episode: Mystical Ninja! I haven’t played all the games, but I have super fond memories of playing through Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon on the N64 and all the crazy, whacky awesome songs for that game. I’m still kind of amazed that game was released in America. Thanks!

  2. Explaining to people who haven’t studied Japanese how the “nin” in “ninja” is another way of reading “shinobi” is like telling someone another way to say the “peanut” in “peanut butter” is “elephant.” My girlfriend speaks Japanese with her mom, but she grew up in Hawaii, and doesn’t understand when I try to tell her how parts of Japanese words can be used in other words, with a different pronunciation. It’s a fascinating language, but it works very different than English.

    • Yep, it kind of requires a brief history lesson at the very least. But that’s the very reason the language is so neato!

  3. It’s titled “Like a Wind”, not “Like a Hurricane”! Great show.

  4. features the original version of one of my recent favorite ocremixes ‘Dark Tortoise’ – Greg is a good guest, I’m wondering if plucking my eyebrows in my Vita reflection is on the cutting edge of current Japanese grooming techniques?

    Also, Sega sound chip sounds like its taking a messy dump all over the board in that shinobi 3 ‘jazz fusion’ song.

  5. NOOOOOO!!!! Okay, having played Shinobi since it came to the neighborhood 7-11 back in ’88, I loved this episode. Loved it. But you made a serious blunder. Shadow Dancer was originally an ARCADE GAME, and you totally skipped over it! It was really the true spiritual successor to the arcade Shinobi, with the gameplay and level structure being nearly identical except for the dog(which moves and reacts a lot cooler in the Arcade versus the Genesis version, too). And, unlike the radically inferior Genesis port, the bonus stages are again first person as you shoot ninja off of a building. Do yourselves a big favor and d/l the mame rom. The music, graphics, and gameplay are all fantastic…..the Genesis version merely dances in the shadow of the Arcade version(You see how I did that?).

    My other quibble was with the Greg(g) who said Yuzo Koshiro’s music for ‘Revenge of Shinobi was not as nearly as sophisticated as his Streets of Rage stuff”. -insert pause of consternation for effect- I’m not sure what exactly he meant by that one… terms of sound quality, Revenge was the first home game that sounded like real music. The drums were audibly muffled, which I surmise was Yuzo Koshiro’s early solution for getting around the Genesis’s poor sampling, but they sounded like real drums. Instead of comparing Revenge to Rage(i.e. Koshiro ’89 to Koshiro ’91/’92), compare Revenge to any other Genesis game released in the next few years following. In terms of musical composition and structure, Revenge is every bit as complex, and more nuanced, than the Rage games. Each track is a retro throwback to various 70’s and 80’s musical styles, much like the game’s levels are throwbacks to various movies. It’s just a really damn good soundtrack; for me it’s easily the best Shinobi soundtrack from the Genesis offerings. I generally appreciated the Gregggg’s comments throughout, however Greggggg-g-g-g! Revenge! Don’t hate.

    • Wow, that was a bit harsh. I really did love the podcast; I discovered VGMpire through Legacy Gaming Hour and I have to say it’s really cool to find people who have the same level of enthusiasm as I do about games, i.e. enough to remember soundtracks and composers but not quite enough to start a cover band.

      ……..Although I DID sample Super Castlevania IV’s “Cellar” for a rap song I did about alien abduction.

      • Careful Nathan, aliens love impromptu rap songs. They are watching you….

        • ….And I suppose creating a long-running podcast highlighting rad game music is every bit as enthusiastic as starting a vgm cover band.

          “It’s the invasion of the Alien Snatchers, capturing our bodies
          and taking em’ up into space to be replaced by carbon copies.
          The alien Emperor gave these clever clones just one command, it
          was to infiltrate and then take over the planet.”

          …..Hey, what do you expect, it was written ca. ’99.

  6. Excellent episode as always. A treat to have Greg on board! The PSP quote was amazing.

    I’ve really only spent some time with Shinobi NES (WTF was with the Marilyn Monroe backdrops in Level 1?), Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi PS2, with the latter being the first title I played in the series. It was a solid game, but a little too frustrating at points. I’ve had my copy of it for 10 years and rage-quitted when I couldn’t defeat that Tiger Lion boss. What killed it for me were the lack of checkpoints aside from the boss fights and the limited lives you had. Some would say that it’s just mimicking the difficult games of yore but I’m of the opinion that it was just a poor choice in game design. Maybe my opinion of it will change if I’d pop in my PS2 disc again. I do miss those scarf physics and that awesome music.

    “Transfiguration” is one of my faves, but I also loved the “Cool Shrine” music, which I remember from the demo of the game.

    I think I’ve only gotten one or two levels into Revenge of Shinobi, but I like what I played. I have it both on that Genesis 6-Pak cartridge and Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection on PS3. The first level music always stuck out to me:

    It’s also one of the tunes that Yuzo Koshiro played at MAGfest last year. Who’s going next month?!

    Also, we’ve got less than one month left of 2013, surely my fellow VGMpire fans would love to see a 2012/2013 music roundup episode? Hotline Miami, Journey, Double Dragon Neon, FTL, Fez, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Super Mario 3D World, Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, GTAV, Max Payne 3, DuckTales Remastered, BioShock Infinite, Rayman Legends, Payday 2, Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, Skullgirls, Spelunky, Retro City Rampage, Super Hexagon, Ni no Kuni, FF14 A Realm Reborn, sound off if I forgot something! I hear Remember Me’s music was great too.

    And appreciate the mention, as always 😀

  7. Wow, this episode is like a guided tour through the history of videogame music. It’s pretty amazing how one game series can have music that so perfectly encapsulates so many different periods of VGM. We go from the arcade midi sound, to the rockin’ Genesis electric shock, to the 90s techno stuff on the PS2, and finally end with the Hans Zimmer-esque movie score-type music on the 3DS. Excellent job, guys.

  8. Regarding Saturn Shinobi’s soundtracks, I’ve heard neither the original Japanese nor the European one, but I read the European one is pretty freaking awesome, since the composer tried to make it sound like Yuzo Koshiro’s works. Anybody here have an opinion on it?

  9. Oh, and I had a comment/question about gaming difficulty. First of all, full disclosure: I stopped buying games in about 2003 for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I got married and I no longer had…..what’s that thing called…….Oh yeah, TIME.

    Anyhoo, you guys commented that the American sensibility towards difficulty was different than in Japan, and generally Americans didn’t want to work as hard at the games….is that a fair interpretation of your words? Indeed, back in the 80’s and early 90’s, Japanese versions of games were usually made easier for American audiences. But about the mid-90’s, the trend kind of reversed. A lot of Japanese games were too easy, and had to be made difficulterer for the round eyes. My theory was that our gaming culture has always kind of echoed what the Japanese gaming culture was doing, and in the mid 90’s, the Japanese kids who spent the 80’s playing games became Japanese adults who played games, and no longer had time to do really fun things like dungeon grinding or playing levels 1,000 times until they assigned the level to muscle memory. Hence Japanese games of the mid-90’s and later TENDED to be less difficult than American games, and started having infinite lives/continues, and allowed saving anywhere. They TENDED to have less emphasis on repetitive tasks and more emphasis on multiple diversions, side stories, Chocobo and Chao breeding, item collecting….more about having a fun, moderately challenging experience for the work-weary Japanese 20-30something.

    I believe American game culture is in that cycle now, and has been for a number of years. So my question is, do you agree? I was surprised to hear that Japanese games are generally more difficult again. What is happening with Japanese gaming culture other than portable devices that double as grooming aids?

  10. Yet another fantastic episode! I seriously can’t get enough of this show! Although I prefer Ninja Gaiden over Shinobi, they are still both amazing game franchises. Keep up the excellent work!

    • Yeah, John, I was also wondering about Shinobi vs. Ninja Gaiden; I missed the 3-D versions of both games. From the images, they seemed somewhat similar, and both were reportedly very difficult. Which one was harder? Which one was better?

      • Gaiden is probably harder, but it’s been nine years since I last played it. Shinobi is on PSN in low-def while Gaiden has Sigma on PS3, so they’re both readily available. I’d probably suggest Shinobi, only because it’s a little sillier and “fun” while Gaiden tries super hard to be MATURRRRRR

  11. Aside from briefly touching (but never really getting into) the 2002 PS2 Shinobi game, I am completely unfamiliar with this series. However, this episode showed me what I was missing, the music for all the games sounds fantastic across the board, and i found something to like from each game!

    Also, you guys are seriously tempting me to give the 3DS Shinobi game a try. I love the idea of it, but I was really put down by the fact that it’s a 2D game that uses shitty 3D polygons instead of pixels, that always has rubbed me the wrong way, but if it’s really as fun as Greg claims, it might be worth a try regardless.

  12. I remember being sick off school one day and getting further in Revenge of Shinobi than I ever had only to be met with utter confusion at fighting Spider-man, and of course nobody believed me when I told them he was in the game.

  13. Fun episode. The only Shinobi game I have played is Shinobi 3, and the biggest compliment I think I can give it is that it is one of the few games where the Genesis tinny sound didn’t bother me at all. It was interesting to hear the evolution of the music in the series.

    If I may request/recommend a topic for a VGMpire episode, the Timesplitters series has a very fun soundtrack, Timesplitters 2 in particular has some great music.

  14. Revenge of Shinobi: go into options menu, turn Shurikens to 0, hold down a+b+c until the 00 becomes an infinity symbol.

    It’s not the konami trick, but I still remember it to this day.

  15. Never played these games… I lived in my basement in camp Nintendo rather than Sega

    But once again I love the music, love your personal stories and would love to see Spider Man turn into the devil

    Thanks for everything and keep up the good work! Always makes my every other Wednesday listening to your show

  16. Thank you guys for doing a Shinobi episode. I’ve been a huge fan of the series since I played Revenge of Shinobi. Really dig the Game Gear Shinobi tracks as well.

  17. My buddy had the original US cartridge, which had spider-man, batman, godzilla, Terminator, rambo, etc. I remember being a bit excited when I encountered them, but since I didn’t understand copyright law at the time, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I think the cartridge I have now is licensed spider-man with man-bat and the Godzilla-esque robot. Dang I wish he’d held onto his old games.

  18. The low voice sample from Shadow Dancer reminds me of a a lot of stuff from around that time (Yell-o’s Oh Yeah, etc), but especially a song from later on, Dark Train remix of Underworld’s Born Slippy (from The Trainspotting Born Slippy EP).

    Just try not to think of undead baby dolls when you listen.

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