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Video Game / Shinobido

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Shinobido: Imashime (Shinobido: Way of the Ninja in Europe) is a stealth-based video game set in old Japan developed by Acquire. It is something of a spiritual successor to the first two Tenchu games developed by Acquire themselves during a time when the Tenchu IP holders (Activision and later FromSoftware) decided to have other developers handle the later entries.

It follows the story of Goh, the young and talented ninja from the Asuka clan, who suffers from a strange amnesia. Soon, he finds out that his clan was exterminated, with a few survivors, and the only chance of regaining his memory lies in some mysterious Purple Stones that contain fragments of his memory. In order to find them, he starts working for three powers (the Ichijo Clan, the Akame Clan and the Amurita Sect) in order to find all the purple fragments and find out what happened to him. He'll have to deal with rival clans, thick plots, two mysterious ninja who seem to know him well, and a masked evil sorcerer who's apparently after him.

Despite not being very well known, (probably because it was never released in the US), it's a very good, challenging game, with interesting characters and realism.

It has a spinoff on the PSP, titled Shinobido Homura ("Shinobido Tales of the Ninja" in Europe). It re-uses most assets from the original game and re-treads the same plot, though it's structured differently and technically does take place after the events of the original game.

A third game is available for the Play Station Vita, titled Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen.

After years of inactivity, Goh himself makes a return in, of all things, Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars, a Crossover between Senran Kagura and Neptunia, as a Guest Fighter and a woman.

The series contains examples of:

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    Shared by all games 

    Shinobido Way of the Ninja 
  • Amazon Brigade: The Mosu Ninja are composed of kunoichi.
  • Anachronism Stew: Nigiri Sushi was not invented until the early Nineteenth Century.
  • Animal Motifs: All the Asuka Ninja are nicknamed after birds. Goh is the Crow.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Characters don't care about hitting their allies when making attacks, or using offensive items. Also, during Guard missions, player's charge might tend to wander off after they become alerted, which might make use of mines... problematic.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: All the high-ranking enemies, like generals, Barbarian chieftains, clan leaders and Ninja leaders are stronger and more durable than other low-level mooks. However, all of them (except for the Ninja leaders) can be slain in one stealth attack. if you do things right.
  • Ax-Crazy: Many of the rival ninjas, including Kabuto.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears are really dangerous, but they can be used against your enemies if you're lucky.
  • Booby Trap: You can set these, including bombs, mines and explosive sushi!
  • Boring Yet Practical: The easiest way to kill strong enemies is to bombard the with shurikens from far away.
  • Bottomless Pits: A part of maps in mountainous areas has those - although, with exception of a few spots, they are more of a natural boundary of the map, than an obstacle. On other maps, ordinary wells work like that.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Goh during his service for Gamuran against his own clan.
  • Cool Sword: The mystic sword in the Asuka shrine. It's later used to kill Gamuran.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted. If your enemies outnumber you, then you should start running for your life and hide somewhere. And many ninja will probably make mincemeat out of you.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Each and every enemy in game (even bears, Samurai Generals and leaders) can be taken out with one sneak attack. However, all the ninja leaders, Zaji and Gamuran are immune to stealth kills, even if you should be able to land one on them.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Both Ageha and Usuba have shades of this. Hebitonbo of the Kenobi ninja is also a bit crazy.
  • Cutting the Knot: If you choose a mission taking place in a main headquarters' location of a faction, you may go and try to kill the warlord, even if they are not an actual target. Downplayed, since most of the time you won't get any missions in such locations, unless you've already knocked that warlord's forces low.
    • Similarily, missions in faction's fortress locations give you the opportunity to find and kill generals, even if that's not the objective. Be mindful that mission evaluation is still only based on completing the actual mission.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite the outfit and the Animal Motifs Goh is not really evil.
  • Dash Attack: Available to Goh and some other characters and stronger enemies. While it needs some room to be used correctly and safely, it will break target's guard if blocked, while leaving you in perfect position to attack.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Using shurikens to take down enemies, expecially the stronger ones.
  • Downer Ending: Gamuran is dead and the secrets of necromancy inside his mind are gone, but Zaji died believing that Goh is still a traitor and Kinu goes away on her own, leaving Goh alone.
  • The Dragon: Kabuto to Gamuran. Shockingly we later find out that Goh used to be Gamuran's Dragon.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Usuba disguises herself as Kinu in order to assassinate Goh.
  • Dual Boss: Both Ageha&Usuba and Hebitonbo&Uzumushi. But you only need to defeat one of them to win.
  • Dual Wielding: The Samurai Generals often wields a couple of swords. The Barbarian Chief does the same thing with stone axes.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Barbarians are far from smart. Also Hebitonbo and Uzumushi, whose brains combined barely make half a normal one.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If you manage to gain the trust of both the three factions (by not getting spotted in missions), then in the end, Zaji is saved and Goh, Kinu and Zaji decide to start the Asuka Ninja clan anew under Zaji's rule.
  • Elite Mooks: The other ninja, as soon as they start to appear alongside mooks.
  • Epic Flail: Kinu's weapon is a weird, multi-bladed flail. She can use it to stab people and strangle them with the chain. Uzumushi wields a long pole with a gargantuan iron orb connected to the top.
  • Escort Mission: In many missions you'll have to escort a huge carriage carrying provisions for one of the factions. At least it goes right to the exit on its own and is really resistant to damage. Also in some missions you'll have to guard a merchant or a Samurai General and stop eventual killers.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Gamuran. He's also undead and needs a special spell guarded by the Asuka ninjas to regain a body.
  • Eye Scream: Zaji lost his right eye to Gamuran during the destruction of the Asuka village.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Oji is trapped into a cat's body and is destined to eventually lose his human mind.
  • Forced Transformation: At one point Gamuran imprisons Goh's soul in a bear's body. Also Onji whose soul was put in a cat's body.
  • Game Over: Notably, failing usual missions won't end the game, even if your character seemingly, obviously died. Failure in story missions, however, results in a game over - those missions even have a warning message when selected.
  • Game-Over Man: Sometimes if you die from an enemy attack, the enemy in question will be shown celebrating their victory and/or taunting you.
  • Good Is Dumb: Nobutero Ichijo, Goh's former master, is well-natured and intentioned, but he's not very smart and is sadly weak-willed.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The purple stones (Goh's Soul fragments) containing his memories.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: You can use a useful grapple hook to reach high spots, avoid pits or, if you're lucky, drag victims in chasm with a well aimed shot.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Zigzagged. As you proceed, they'll start to react to your tactics in a more careful way.
  • Guide Dang It!: Using alchemy without reading the manual is suicide. It's a very powerful ally if you pull it off, however. It makes higher difficulties much more bearable.
  • Handicapped Badass: Kinu has a prosthetic arm that she loses to the spell to release the sword when Goh freed Gamuran.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cat-Ojii does one against Gamuran to buy Goh some time.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: The Taraba Ninja. Dear God, the Taraba Ninja. They're huge and they wear a ton of armor which makes a strong, clanking noise whenever they take a step or even breathe. Their main weapon is a mortar cannon on their backs. Their leader Kabuto takes this up to eleven.
    • On nother note, no enemy ninja clan uses anything comparable to subtlety, when they attack during Guard missions.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Kabuto, whose mouth is completely replaced by a metallic beartrap-like maw with a flamethrower built in.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: You can do this to some enemies. Also Zaji's death in the end.
  • Informed Ability: Gamuran's necromancy.
  • Jerkass: Kabuto and Kagetora Akame. Sadame is more hedonistic and selfish than jerkass.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Goh's only weapon is a shinobigatana, and many high ranked enemies like yojimbos and Samurais wield those. Heck, even Lady Sadame has one!
  • Kick the Dog: Goh killing Ageha and Usuba's sister in cold blood for no reason. Gamuran made him do that.
  • Kill It with Fire: You can install fire-spitting traps in your garden. The Taraba Ninja (Including Kabuto) have firethrowers of some sort on them, which they can also use to get rid of eventual corpses.
  • Killed Off for Real: Let's see... Hebitonbo, Ageha, Kabuto, Zaji (in the usual ending) and Onji.
  • Killer Rabbit: On of the avaible items is a toy duckling/lizard which can be used as a distraction. High level ones can blow up when picked by the guards, killing them all.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Taraba Ninja, similarily to Savage Leaders and bears, can only be stealth killed from back or front, with no option of catching them from below, above, or from a corner, which forces the player to come out of hiding to get them; also, the (unskippable) animations for those stealth kills are quite long, increasing the risk of getting caught.
    • Additionally, if you use a specific type of item or effect too much, enemies from that faction might catch on and avoid the overused trick - for example, they might make themselves immune to a certain effect, or start noticing mines. They will stop being cautious after playing several missions without using the method in question.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": The extremely useful mines. Once someone steps on them, he's gone. Even you, if you're not careful.
  • Large and in Charge: Kabuto. Also the Barbarian Chief, who is always taller than any other savage.
  • Latex Perfection: When Ageha disguises herself as Kinu. She's perfectly identical. Except for the right arm.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When you quit the game, Goh will look directly in the camera.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Invoked by game mechanics - undertaking a mission against a lord (which is what you will be doing, most of the time, propably) will result in the reduction of that lord's trust towards you (even drastically, if you've recently worked for them), unless there won't be any living witnesses who've seen you after the mission. That requires either avoiding being spotted at all, or making sure to kill any enemy who have seen you.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Gamuran. He reveals his face after his resurrection.
  • Mentor Mascot: Onji is actually the cat that has been always around your hideout. Don't ask how he could have written those letters.
  • Mind over Matter: Gamuran's spells allow him to stop bullets in midair and levitate people.
  • Mooks: The various soldiers and guards from the factions. In some missions they'll may be even helpful (or at least, they won't attack you).
  • Multiple Endings: Hint: Don't favor any one of the factions too much.
  • Murderous Thighs: Kinu's aerial stealth kill. The enemies will die happy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Goh, after finding out his horrible deeds under Gamuran's rule.
  • Necromancer: Gamuran's plan is to learn the legendary spells in order to create an army of zombies.
  • New Game Plus: With all the loot from the previous playthrough, extra costumes, new modes and playable Kinu from the start.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Goh accidentaly freed Gamuran from the Asuka Shrine by removing the sword that sealed him away.
    • Played for Laughs in the introduction of the Kenobi leaders Uzumushi and Hebitonbo, where the latter kills a passerby in a very badass way.... only to find out that he was their client.
  • Ninja Run: Obviously. Notable case is that Kenobi Ninja move in this way only.
  • Nintendo Hard: The last missions tends to be this. Also one specific mission for Kagetora Akame has you put against a whole pack of Bears in the forest and you must kill all of them. Have fun...
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Goh seems immune to Lady Sadame's charms. The player, on the other hand...
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Using a stealth kill will allow you to insta-kill a enemy. It has several variations based on the situation. Eg, normally Goh will grab his victim from behind and slice his throat, while when attacking from above he'll grab his victim's head in midair and snap his neck.
    • The wells. If you fall into a well or toss your opponent into one, you're/he's as good as dead.
  • Optional Stealth: All levels are supposed to be stealthy, including duels, kidnappings and assassinations. You can still try to use a more direct approach, but it will be much more dangerous, and you'll get less reward if you're spotted. And the Golden Ending pretty much require absolute stealth.
  • Permanently Missable Content: When the savages raid your house, any stolen item is gone if not recovered. Thankfully, they only take replaceable items like ingredients or shurikens. You can buy stolen items back from the item shop, though, for an inflated price.
  • Playing with Fire: The Taraba Ninjas can use flamethrower-devices as weapons or in order to cremate corpses.
  • Powered Armor: The Taraba ninja, who forfeited their right to be called ninja by wearing those ironclads!
  • Ragdoll Physics: Affect all characters, both on death, when knocked-out, or knocked down for any reason. For whatever reason, a body sent flying ragdolled will fall slower than a not-ragdolled character.
  • Recurring Boss: Zaji is fought three times. The other ninja leaders can also challenge you to a duel several times during the course of the game.
  • Red Baron: "Karasu" (Crow) for Goh and "Kurotaka" (Blackhawk) for Zaji. Subverted by Kinu, who's nicknamed "Kanaria" (Canary).
  • Stealth-Based Mission: In some missions you'll have to avoid getting spotted. If you fail, however, you simply lose points.
  • Showing Off the New Body: Ageha-Kinu checks her disguise (and her boobs) after finishing it.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: During the last fight, Gamuran gets interrupted thrice, courtesy of Kinu (who gives the Asuka Sword to Goh), then Onji (who bites his arm) and, finally Goh, who stabs him in the head before he can finish casting his soul breaking spell again.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: Goh can use a Ninjato and also shuriken, makibishi and smoke bombs.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Part of your arsenal is composed by smokebombs, mines, exploding toys and even explosive sushi. Also the large buckets of powder in Rokudo Valley and the bombs in one of the fortresses.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The riceball trick from Tenchu still works - most enemies will happily go, pick up and eat a treat thrown somewhere, even if they've seen it flying (although in this case, they will have to go out of their "suspicion" phase before they will actually go pick up the item).
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Not really as a weapon, but as a distraction. You can pick up and throw not only swords, but also axes, bladerings, jittes, bows, muskets and small buckets. Only the bladed items can actually damage someone.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Hebitonbo, who gets killed by a watermill and his brother Uzumushi.
    • Kabuto tries to use one of the Soul Fragments as a Mumbo Jumbo-weapon against Gamuran and gets pwned as a result.
  • Twincest: Ageha and Usuba are probably not only sisters but also lovers.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Some deaths are really nasty, including drowning people in low waters, breaking their necks, slicing their throats open or make them fall into bottomless chasms. You can also grab the small kennels with the little dog inside and toss them down a well. note 
  • Villainous Breakdown: The various faction leaders will send you letters (and cutscenes) as you slowly defeat them and weaken their faction. Sadame's breakdown is the most noticeable, since she goes from histerically screaming against you to covering in fear behind her sex to- er, Buddha idol.
  • Wall Jump: Alongside with Wall Run, playable characters can perform it to reach places otherwise inaccessible, without stopping movement.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ageha and Usuba gives one to Goh when he lets them go after their first fight.
  • Whip Sword: Hebitonbo has one concealed in his armlet/shield which doubles as a Blade Below the Shoulder.

    Shinbido Tales of the Ninja 
  • Old Save Bonus: In a way. You can export user-created maps from the PS2 version into the PSP version using their respective export/import option and a USB connection. You can also export the developer made example levels.

    Shinbido 2: Revenge of Zen