Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

From Sega Retro

I really think that the original version of a game, that was supposed to come out at around January of 1993 (according to one of the reviews) and even had some reviews out, should be considered as it's own thing, maybe even have it's own page. At least I feel that Computer & Video Games (UK) #135 and Mean Machines Sega (UK) #4 reviews don't really fit here. Foxysen1 (talk) 12:39, 23 May 2017 (CDT)

It's a good point, but I don't know if we should be making exceptions for journalists which fail to review finished products. Shinobi III may have been drastically re-worked, but it is still the same project and was only ever going to be released to the public once at the end of development. If a publication decides to print a review months in advance, we ought to be showing that, even if it adds an unfair bias.
Otherwise you'd have to decide when a game is finished enough for a review to be meaningful. Even today lots of publications review unfinished games - I'm not entirely against the idea of adding publication dates so people know when the review was printed, but I think the bad reviews need to be represented alongside the good ones. -Black Squirrel (talk) 16:08, 23 May 2017 (CDT)
Yea, was thinking of creating section for original version and move those two reviews there, somehow. This one just feels special for me due to how seemingly close it was to being released, due to these two reviews and rumor that Sega pulled game back upon recieving not good enough rating, with majority of levels being remade (judging by material we have) so I think of this one as "the lost episode". But right, game is done only when it's done, this wiki probably isn't focused on non-final stuff yet. Foxysen1 (talk) 19:42, 24 May 2017 (CDT)
I have to agree with Foxysen1. This is a special case where the original and final game are just too much different. It doesn't make much sense to put the reviews in the same category. Magic Island (talk) 13:13, 14 Sep 2018 (CDT)


General information about the original The Super Shinobi II and its prototypes

The Super Shinobi II preliminary work started in 1991 (possibly only script). In December 1991, Sega acquired part of the staff from company Santos and established the company Megasoft, which would be responsable for the game development. Part of the team that made JuJu Densetsu (Toki: Going Ape Spit) for the Mega Drive would assist in the development. The game had the original release date for December 1992. During the summer 1992, a very early state of development prototype (with a build date from July/August 1992, around 25% complete) was leaked in the BBS (bulletin board system) and lately through bootleg in east asia. It was briefly previewed by some magazines. The first public exhibition of the game was at the 30th Amusement Machine Show. According to Beep! Mega Drive, the game was about 50% complete by September/October 1992. In November 1992, Sega of America and Sega of Europe received from Japan the first prototype to be reviewed (build date from October/November 1992, around 60% complete). At least two countries received it: United States and United Kingdom, with France being a possible third. This build was widely reviewed by many magazines. Previews of it were featured in the promotional VHS cassettes Sega Shinsaku Soft Video Vol. 24, La Sega vidéo N°2 and Lo nunca visto de Sega - Presentando Mega-CD, and the dutch TV show Power Play. Later that month, Megasoft was merged into Sega. At that moment, knowing there would be no way for the game to be finished until December 1992, Sega delayed the release date to early 1993, March 1993 being the most likely. By December 1992, Sega of America received a more finished build (from November/December 1992) and this one was presented at events like the Yuusei Sega World and the Winter CES 1993. This was supposed to be the last prototype of the original game and was about 70% complete. The only magazine to have made a review of this build was Game Fan, in the issue of January 1993, Vol 1-3, and it received an average score of 96/100. Between December 1992 and January 1993, not being satisfied with the results presented by the team and the magazine reviews, Sega decided to employ former Data East developer Tomoyuki Ito as game director and redesign and delay the game until summer 1993. Prior to early 1993, the game would look more like the final release. A prototype with a build date of February or March 1993 was also leaked. This one already contained several changes resembling more the final game.

With exception of the earliest one, the prototypes displayed the title The Revenge of Shinobi II for the western region, which was the original intended name, as a sequel for The Revenge of Shinobi, and the title Shinobi III - Return of the Ninja Master only appeared later in development in 1993. Sega of America decided the game would be called Shinobi III still in 1992, but the japanese developers only made the title screen with this name close to release date in 1993. The name change was a Sega of America demand, by trying to determine Shadow Dancer - The Secret of Shinobi as its predecessor.

It was being developed like other Sega games, the cartridge rom was unlocked regionally and it was going to be an overworld release, if you put it in a JP console, it would display the The Super Shinobi II title with japanese text in some parts, like the intro, while for US and EU consoles it would display The Revenge of Shinobi II title and partial english text (except the earliest prototype). Once again, this decision was only changed further in development in 1993, for separated cartridge rom releases for different regions.

The reason there is November 1992 in the header of the leaked roms is due to this being supposedly the latest build date before the game was set to be comercialized in December 1992. This is true for all prototypes from 1992 and even early 1993 that are multiregional (The Super Shinobi II/The Revenge of Shinobi II), including the earliest one. Magic Island (talk) 19:12, 16 Sep 2018 (CDT). LAST EDIT: 15:50, 20 Dec 2023 (CST)