Time Has Had No Negative Effect On This Side Scroller.
To this day, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is still one of the best side scroller's for the Sega Genesis, at least in my heart. From the astounding colourful 2D graphics, to the sublimely themed music, it's hard to fault Shinobi III for anything other than the "old school" difficulty trappings, which for some, may be one of the worst things to experience.
In terms of gameplay, it's basically a shooter, providing you have enough shurikens on hand that is. If you're out of shurikens, you'll have to rely on melee, which is a far more risky strategy with some enemies. The more shurikens you have, the easier the game will be. Coupled with power-up's your shurikens will turn into a deadly ball of death, which, naturally, is always useful. On top of all your regular "Ninja Masteries", you have four special ninjutsu attacks, all of which serve their unique perpose throughout the game.
The game looks great, but it sounds even better, i honestly can't stress how much i love the musical direction this game goes in. To say the least, it's right up my alley, and for music that comes out of a Genesis, it's hard to go wrong, but Shinobi III nails it. The sound effects are no slouch either, you can tell that's the sound of a sharp shuriken being deflected harshly, off a sword at high speed.
If there is one critisism, it's difficulty, and as with all games of that era, it's tough to complete, and justifiably so, games those days weren't long, and neither is Shinboi III. That said, it's full of variety, so by the end, you'll feel like you've been through a lot for certain. Of course, if you keep going at it, you'll complete it with skill gained through repetition, which is fine if you're willing to put in the time. If you love Ninja's and you love the Genesis, it's extremely hard not to recommend Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master.