is a series of video game published by Sega and developed primarily by Overworks. The name Shinobi is used as a code-name throughout the series to hide the true identity of its bearer. It has been adopted by various characters, most prominently Joe Musashi, the protagonist of the original series of games (Shinobi -- Shinobi III).
Along with Alex Kidd and Sonic the Hedgehog, the Shinobi ninja has long been one of Sega's flagship characters, acting as a mascot for a short time in the late 1980s when the ninja boom was in full force. Its games are a showcase of Sega's technical accomplishment. Today the games are still noted for their high quality of graphics, gameplay and music, as well as their high level of difficulty.
Shinobi debuted in 1987, in the arcade title Shinobi, and has since featured in eleven other official Shinobi titles and one spin-off game. Nightshade ("Kunoichi" in Japan) is currently the last game in line.
The role of "Shinobi" is most commonly associated with that of Joe Musashi, the protagonist of the original arcade game and many of its sequels. His name is a combination of both an archetypical western first name and Japanese last name, Musashi likely being derived from the legendary Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. In the manual of The Revenge of Shinobi, Musashi's backstory is told as that of a weak boy who first entered the dojo of the Oboro clan at a young age and gradually, through tireless practice and meditation, worked himself up to become the most skilled and respected ninja of his clan.
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Official Site: Sega
Links: Wikipedia Wikipedia - Revenge of Shinobi Hardcore Gaming 101