Shadow Dancer is an Arcade side-scrolling action game and the sequel to Shinobi. There are actually two versions of this game: The Arcade game and its home conversions, for computers like the Atari ST and Amiga as well as the Sega Master System, and Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi for the Sega Genesis, which significantly changed a lot of aspects about the game.
Taking place 20 years after the original Shinobi, It features the terrorist group "Asian Down" planting bombs throughout Miami and killing Hayate Musashi's friend Kato. This is a means to distract Hayate from their real intentions: using the top secret U.S. Government initiative "Space Shuttle Olympia", (which they have already found out about and captured) to control a nuclear satellite attack system. This forces Hayate and his (then unnamed) canine companion to spring into action by disarming the bombs, returning government property, and generally kicking ass in his own personal War on Terrorism. Also as a series first, the last boss/primary antagonist (and Head of Operations over at Asian Down) is female.
The gameplay is very similar to that of the Shinobi games except now the player has the addition of a dog for a game mechanic. The dog is able to harass enemies, some of which are very difficult to kill otherwise. When the dog is hurt, it shrinks into a puppy and is unable to do any attacking until the next power-up is found. In the Arcade version, the shinobi dog can only initiate an attack if the player is crouching and the dog is barking.
Throughout each stage in the game there are a number of bombs that must be disarmed before they Hayate can face the boss. The ninja's main weapon is an unlimited supply of throwing stars combined with punches and kicks when he gets close to enemies. Ninja Magic can also be performed once each level which will kill all enemies on screen, or in the case of a boss deal severe damage. A single power-up also exists which upgrades the throwing stars into energy bolts and allows the ninja to perform more powerful sword slashes.
The game contains 4 rounds which are divided into subsections totaling 15 stages. Every round has only 1 regular stage and 1 boss stage. This differed slightly on the Sega Master System port of the game which was the shortest of all the versions. The Arcade version saw Hayate go up against a group of ninjas climbing down a building in the style of a first-person shooter. The Master System contains both the Arcade and the Sega Genesis versions of the bonus round.