Who doesn't like ninjas...with throwing stars!
Shinobi is a revived arcade game from one of SEGA's best known franchises. The game was ported and sequel-ized many times, and is now one of the bigger franchises of games. The XBLA port keeps the same graphics, story, and gameplay, you just don't have to put in quarters
The original Shinobi, released in 1987, was in no way, shape, or form up to par with today's graphics. The XBLA version stays true to the '87 versions graphics, giving the game a very nostalgic feel to it. The pixels are evident, and it is in 2D form. However, this does not take away from the game and gives it a look available with only a handful of games.
The controls are pretty easy to learn, and you shouldn't have any trouble with them. The obvious move controls take no time, and the worst part is memorizing the combat controls (takes about ten seconds at least).
Granted I have never played the arcade version, I have played arcade games before, and I can say that the sound has been kept pretty much the same, if the original Shinobi sounded the same as other games. It gives a ninja-esque feel to the entire game, and isn't too shabby to listen to if your playing the game.
The developers also kept the original storyline present in the game. Your name is Joe Musashi, but you go by the secretive name Shinobi. You are a ninja thrust into the world of crime when you take on the job to rescue the kidnapped children of the Oboro clan. You face off with the Zeed, an organization full of quick ninjas, beefy henchmen, and bosses with crazy powers. Five bosses exist in the Zeed, and you plan on taking every one of them down. Your battles range from warehouses to boat docks to a helipad. You will fight through three or four stages, freeing hostages, killing enemies, and ultimately, facing off with one of the five bosses. Between each set of stages is a bonus round, where you have nothing to lose.
Given the nature of the graphics and age of the game, most people won't be apt to buy it off the XBLA. I myself had never heard of the game but enjoyed the demo enough to buy it to get the full experience (and cheevos...). At any rate, the game is worth a play just to help you realize how far we've come in gaming today.
11/17 - updated with plot info.