Shadow Dancer

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For other uses, see Shadow Dancer (disambiguation).
Shadow Dancer
ShadowDancer Arcade01.jpg
Arcade flyer
Developer(s) Sega
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Motoshige Hokoyama[1]
Series Shinobi
Platform(s) Arcade, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Sega Master System, ZX Spectrum
Release date(s) November 1989 (arcade)
Genre(s) Platform
Hack and slash
Mode(s) Single-player or two-player (alternating turns)
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Sega System 18

Shadow Dancer (シャドー・ダンサー?)[2] is a side-scrolling action game produced by Sega originally released as an arcade game in 1989. It is the second arcade game in the Shinobi series, following the original Shinobi itself. It follows the ninja Hayate, son of Joe Musashi aided by an attack dog, who is fighting to save the world from a terrorist organization.

Shadow Dancer was developed on the Sega System 18 motherboard hardware and its home versions were released for the Master System console and several home computer systems in 1991. A completely different game titled Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi was also released exclusively for the Mega Drive/Genesis.


The play mechanics of Shadow Dancer are not much different from 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 will turn into a harmless pup. The dog will remain in pup form until the player acquires the next time bomb or finishes the stage. The dog does not appear during boss battles.

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 will be 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 will restart the stage with two units instead of one. Bonus points will be 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 boss.

Between missions, the player will participate in a bonus stage where (from the character's perspective) an army of ninjas dropping down from a building must be shot down. The player will be awarded extra lives if he successfully completes these bonus stages.


Shadow Dancer is a sequel to the original Shinobi, set 20 years later when the terrorist group Asian Down planted numerous time bombs throughout Miami as part of their plan to take over the world. They also killed Kato, the friend of Hayate Musashi, a young son of ninja master Joe Musashi. Hayate, accompanied by a canine partner, sets out on four missions to dismantle the bombs and destroy the terrorists to avenge Kato, and eventually to defeat the evil female ninja mastermind behind the crisis before she can hijack a nuclear-weaponized space shuttle.


The Master System port of the original aracde release of Shadow Dancer 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. The attract sequence now shows profiles for the protagonist (who is named Fuma in this version) and most of the enemy characters.

Shadow Dancer was also released on various home computer formats in Europe during 1991. Versions released for the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum were published by U.S. Gold and developed by Images. Their protagonist is Joe Musashi himself, instead of Hayate.


Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 2/5 stars[3]
Crash 77%[4]
Your Sinclair 85%[5]
Amiga Action 84%[6]
The One 80%[7]
Zzap!64 83%[8]


  1. ^ Okunari, Yosuke. Legend of Joe Musashi: SHINOBI Music Collection (booklet). Japan: Wave Master. p. 8. WM-0626~9. 
  2. ^ Somewhat like Shinobi, Shadow Dancer has a kanji form of its name: 影の舞. This particular phrase is used extensively throughout the game.
  3. ^ "Shadow Dancer Overview". Allgame. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Sinclair ZX Spectrum Reviews". Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  5. ^ "Shadow Dancer". Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  6. ^ "Amiga Action 21 (June 1991) Reviews - Amiga Magazine Rack". Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  7. ^ "The One for Amiga Games 33 (June 1991) Reviews - Amiga Magazine Rack". Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  8. ^ "Zzap 73 (May 1991) Reviews - Amiga Magazine Rack". Retrieved 2015-05-04. 

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