As stated, that really is to be expected from these sorts of side-scrollers, but the way the Genesis emulator works makes it all that much more difficult. The emulator can be set to run the game in two different visual fashions, the first giving you a fullscreen picture and superimposing the buttons over the image and the second giving you the in-game visuals picture-in-picture with the buttons sitting outside them. While I think everyone would choose to play with the fullscreen visuals, that is nearly impossible as enemies tend to appear on the right side of the screen in the exact spot your thumb needs to sit to operate the A, B, and C buttons. In a game that requires precise timing, not seeing the bad guys for that extra half-second leads to Musashi taking a whole lot of unnecessary damage. It's both frustrating and exceptionally disappointing. The game operates perfectly well picture-in-picture, but it feels severely limiting to not have the fullscreen view as an option that you can't really use.
Shinobi III is still a good experience today, but it also feels very simplistic in terms of its setup. The game requires as much skill and concentration as any game does today, but all of that is placed on a far more basic frame. You have a couple of weapons, a little bit of ninja magic bonus powers, and the ability to jump – that's it, but it still works. It is a great game to pickup and play for a few minutes here and there on your iPhone, at least it is if you don't mind having to play picture-in-picture. The Genesis graphics and sound remain hugely unimpressive—the iPhone is clearly capable of handling far better—but it might be even more upsetting to have your thumbs cover up good graphics than it is to have your thumbs cover up bad ones. I'm not entirely sure how Sega can go back and fix the organization of the emulator, but I would certainly like to see them try.
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence. This game can also be found on: Mac, PC, and Wii.