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Shinobi is the name of a game by Sega, which was originally released on arcade machines in 1987, and later on home computers. Versions were released for the Nintendo NES, Sega Master System, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad, ZX Spectrum and MS-Dos PC.
In the game, you are a Joe Musashi, a ninja, who works for the government as a secret agent. You have to rescue the children of the world's leaders, since they were kidnapped by the Ring Of Five, a terrorist organization led by five evil ninjas with strange super powers.
You can defeat your enemies by kicking them, throwing shurikens at them, or using the various weapons that you can pick up along the way.

Your quest takes you through five levels, each of which is split up into three or four stages. At the end of the level, you have to defeat the end-of-level boss. The five levels were Ken Oh, Black Turtle, Mandara, Lobster and Masked Ninja. After completing a level, there is a bonus stage, in which ninjas jump towards you and you have to kill them by throwing shurikens at them before they reach you. Defeat them all, and you'll get an extra life. If you fail, you just continue to the next round.

Because of its popularity, the game spawned many sequels and clones for the home computers. I never played Revenge Of Shinobi or The Cyber Shinobi, but I did enjoy Shadow Dancer on the arcade machine, but I never knew it was an official sequel of Shinobi until I did some research for this write-up. I always thought it was a clone.

As Moodster pointed out to me, the names in the game are obviously inspired by The Book Of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.

Shinobi was one of the many names given to the ninja in feudal Japan. It literally means "stealer-in" because that is what the ninja specialised in above all else - going unnoticed. By employing any number of tricks such as stealth walking and staying upwind of any guard animals, the shinobi went undetected about his mission. On a more devious level, the shinobi was also a master of disguise, and would often "steal in" to village communities disguised as a local, or even into enemy palaces, disguised as a wandering priest looking for somewhere to stay overnight.

However the ninja decided to best go about their missions, they truly lived up to the name shinobi. They were experts finely honed in the art of completing a mission with nobody even knowing they were there.

And now, the Shinobi metanode.

The protagonist

Classic: Joe Musashi
'Next' Gen: Hotsuma
(yeah, OK, and Alex Kidd in that one.)

The enemy

The games (1987-2002)

There is also a game called 'The Revenge of Shinobi' for the Game Boy Advance, which, although it is officially licensed and bears Sega and Overworks's logos, I am loath to include in the list above as it bears no relation to the original Revenge of Shinobi. (In the same way that most 'sequels' to John Woo's Hong Kong blockbusters bear no relation to the originals- i.e. it's a work of shameless exploitation.) It was developed by the now defunct 3D6 Games.

The list is in approximate chronological order. Some games took a long time to get ported to home consoles or released in different territories, so there might be some mistakes.

Props to Leynos for assistance.

Hey Roy, I don't think that Shinobi machine of yours has made a sound in weeks. What in tarnation is wrong with it?

Nothing's wrong with it Earl. Ninjas are silent, remember.

Apparently Roy is in denial about the failure of the suicide chip in his Shinobi machine. You see most Shinobi machines were equipped with a suicide chip in the form of a custom Z80 CPU that read encrypted data from EPROM number A-7. But the custom Z80 held its decryption table in battery backed RAM, and the battery was encased inside the CPU itself. When the battery runs out, the game can no longer make sounds, as the Z80 is the processor on a Shinobi that generates the sounds (the main game code runs on a 68000).

Roy, I was using Betty's computer the other day, and I read something on the Internet about how you could fix that game of yours.

Oh, they have the Internet on computers now.

But luckily your game can be fixed easily and at very little cost. This project is inexpensive, and can be completed by most people that are capable of reading, although engrish skills can be helpful too, as some of the text on the Shinobi mainboard uses that dialect. People who are extremely scared of electronics may want to have someone else do this for them.

Here is what you will need to repair your game. A chip puller, a Z80B processor, and a single 27512 EPROM programmed with the data from the file shinobi.a7 from the MAME Shinobi rom archive.

Earl, what in the heck are you jabbering about? I don't have an EPROM programmer!

Well Roy, I heard that Jimbo down at the Bigger Jigger had one, mebbe he could do it?

I know, you don't have an EPROM programmer, and you probably don't know anyone who does, and you have no idea where to purchase Z80B processors at. Don't worry, I will tell you exactly where you can purchase the needed EPROM already programmed and get the correct replacement processor at the same time.

Ok, now get all your stuff together. Start by removing your Shinobi gameboard from the game cabinet. It just hooks up in one place, and it should slide right out. Now locate the custom Z80 CPU. It is at location C43 (it is labeled). Use your chip puller to take it out of the socket and throw it away. Put your new Z80B CPU in its place, be sure the writing on it is facing the same way as the rest of the writing on the gameboard. You are already halfway done.

The mainboard has a smaller riserboard on it with a series of EPROMs on it. find the one labeled either A7 or 11287. Use your chip puller to remove it. Replace it with your newly programmed EPROM, be sure not to install it backwards (let the text be your guide).

Go ahead and put the gameboard back in your machine. Your sound should be working again, and should continue to work for the life of your game. You might want to let Earl play first, after all, he was the one who told you how to fix it.

You can get Z80B processors several different places online for around $3. A new 27512 EPROM also costs about $3, but you have to have someone program it for you. There are several online vendors who will do this cheaply. I suggest going with Bob Roberts at www.therealbobroberts.com as he has an excellent reputation, and has the Z80B processors as well, so you can get both items in one place.

Before you ask, yes I do own this game.

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