Submission #6359: CoolHandMike, Dammit's Genesis Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master in 21:41.59

Sega Genesis
BizHawk 2.3.1
Shinobi III - Return of the Ninja Master (U) [!]
Submitted by CoolHandMike on 4/7/2019 3:58:40 AM
Submission Comments
The Sega Genesis Shinobi III - Revenge of the Ninja Master is an action game following the adventures of badass Joe Musashi as he saves the world from an evil organization. Shinobi III is a direct sequel to the Genesis game Revenge of Shinobi.
This game had a run submitted by Dammit using Gens and I converted this to use Bizhawk 2.3.1. My goal has been to update the existing run with new strategies known to the speedrunning community while having a bit of fun.
  • Played on Expert
  • Start with 0 Kunai (knives)
  • Takes Damage to Save Time
  • Uses the Normal 3 button mode, and not the hidden 6 button mode. 6 button mode has some clips, but no wall jump + kunai clips.
Bizhawk is a more accurate emulator over the original Gens emulator. Frame differences between sections are because of that.
"The longer loading times and additional lag frames are the result of improved emulation" -ThunderAxe31


1. Resurrection

Almost no change here. Shed some kunai at the end. The game will award you kunai once you complete a level. Every stage completion awards you with kunai. Because of that I barely have enough for Body Weapon.
Let me explain a little about the boss since it came up in the forums. The first boss first has an invincibility period. Once over you can damage him and the boss will run off screen and can not be damaged. The position he reappears is based on your position. This specific position from the previous author allows the boss to appear closest to you and then become vulnerable the fastest. As the boss moves towards you after rushing off screen he blocks kunai. Running strikes can damage him, but it is slower by about 10-20 frames than throwing a kunai at him. At the exact frame the kunai would strike the boss he stops blocking and begins an attack animation. Ninjitsu is an option to damage him, but he has just enough health to survive two ninjitsu, so getting the extra killing hit after those would be slower. The method Dammit used is optimal.

2. Secret Entry


4 frame improvement due to having 0 kunai at the end of the miniboss fight. This makes Musashi use his sword. The sword has a much higher box of attack than the thrown kunai which allows me to kill the miniboss faster. Tried to manipulate RNG here to make it interesting to watch. I kept the Palette skip from Dammit's run, but I also kept another ninja in play by constantly manipulating RNG.


17 frames saved. Before the boss I perform a Vertical Zip until the camera reaches the top, then I move to the door. This happens off screen. Each jump then jump kick adds 2 to your height, and if you constantly hold the direction you want to move in while holding down you can slowly work your way into the wall. I believe Musashi here is into corner of a wall and ceiling, that is why you need to do continual jump kicks to stay zipping and not fall out, but you can also move slowly into the wall. Using jump kick while zipping in the wall uses a kunai.

3. Body Weapon


About 182 frame improvement for miniboss. Very restricted here since I cannot use any more kunai and go below 9. Using the dash attack works much better than expected here since it can kill multiple of them at once. The trick is to RNG manipulate the living hell out of it so they appear near you and hopefully in packs.
I would like to also point out that it is possible to use the ceiling clip before the boss and fight the miniboss above the conveyor belt with a clearer view. However I was unable to find a faster method doing it that way. The brains spawn at the top of the area some distance above you, and you have to either jump up to kill them or wait for them to fall down to you. If you try to jump attack them you have to hit them twice, once to destroy the cage and another time to kill the brain. Not doing the clip and walking on top of the conveyor belt allows you able to be essentially right near the top of the screen where they spawn and fall. Then run slashing to kill one completely as well as multiple at once is the faster method.
Lose some frames due to added lag that does not seem to appear in the Gens run.
The bomb box glitch is seen here. Easy glitch - destroy the bomb box and you can clip through enemies.


The Kunai Spray attack uses 8 kunai normally. However if you have 1-7 kunai it will give you the rest of kunai allowing you to do the attack. Had to make sure getting here with 9 would work out.

3-3 Boss

No improvements, but I make sure to run slash through that hand. Makes such a lovely noise.

4. Destruction


1-2 frames saved on the mini-boss due to being further back so I can throw a kunai rather than use the close range attack which is slightly slower.



4-3 Boss

About 87 frames faster from section start to section end. The saved frames must have come from my lag manipulation during the boss's death. The game really does not like the waves kicked up by your surfboard, the kunai pickup, and the extra missile he fires after the boss dies.

5. Electric Demon




About 7 frames saved due to the first wall jump kunai clip.
Wall jump + kunai clip occurs when after you do a wall jump then throw a kunai, then the game allows you to clip up into ceiling afterword if you are holding the direction of the wall you originally wall jumped off of. Quick version has jump and attack next to wall.
Note that it appears that for wall jump clip if you press B and C on the same frame when you are next to the wall the game will actually put you into the special wall jump state that allows you to ignore ceilings without having to do the full wall jump animation. Doing that requires you to have some vertical velocity otherwise you will not get enough height to make the clip.


Same movements


227 frames saved due to clip at the end, that avoids having to destroy the bomb box to get to the exit. You clip a ledge on the right side then fall outside the level falling to the exit area below that sticks out.


901 frames saved. Essentially I combine using the wall-jump clipping with vertical zipping to go from the bottom right of the section straight to the top ignoring floors. Very tricky part.
Doing Zips needs you to be overlapping near the edge of the wall to zip with jump kicks. Vertical Zipping gets complicated. Performing zips through ceilings with varying wall positions requires some finagling to get it to work and to fit as many jump kicks as possible without going to much into the wall or getting popped out of the wall and still keep good vertical speed. Each jump kick adds 2 pixels to your height in most cases. When in the wall pressing a directional will move you in the opposite direction ex: L moves you right. Up and Down do nothing when you are fully in a wall, but while clipping they can pop you out so we don't press those unless doing jump kicks. Also if you hold down you can work your way into a wall while doing the jump kicks, which is not always desirable since you need to be on the cusp of falling out to get the most vertical speed. When colliding with a ceiling after a vertical zip you lose some speed while you go into the object.
Here I align it so a kunai destroys a bomb box so I can clip through the final machine gunner at the top. He dies but without using this glitch his feet damage your head as you come out of the floor.


Mecha Godzilla has some odd load times. When I was first doing this the boss would take almost 150 frames more to load on a couple occasions. Then when I reduced the 5-5 section down some more he loaded much faster. I suspect there is some kind of loading frame rule here for him.
Mecha Godzilla also has these falling items designed to screw you over. I press Up before they spawn to change the patterns. Up is a godsend for manipulating randomness.

6. Traps


Random ninjas are random. They jump at different times and shoot...randomly. Dammit sure cut everything very close here, and while it is very entertaining, it requires some RNG manip for each change.


579 frames saved here. Cool level with all these interconnecting doors that take you to different areas. This game internally divides up the levels into sections and will load them when you hit triggers as you move through the level. Most levels have several loading zones. In Traps all the areas are no different from any other level. As you move through the level horizontally the next section will load. You can see this if you clip out each section and travel through Traps. By going to a room that is adjacent to the boss room we clip out then travel right quickly using a jump kick to the right until we hit the next loading zone...which is the boss. Bypassing a large portion of the stage.
I use the shield ninjitsu in order to move more quickly and to perform some wall jump clips through spikes, keep running on spikes, and to go through some spikes in the floor without having to wait or take a hit. I had originally wanted to use the ninjitsu right above the spikes at the start of the section before the boss. However ninjitsu is locked right at the beginning of a section for 15 frames. Ninjas require some RNG manipulation to avoid getting jump kicked or having them stop where I need to land.
Pressing start on the right frame at the end of a section will make the menu sound but not pop up. Listen at frame 63830.

7. Final Confrontation


RNG manipulation for gas.


Always entertains me. Dammit made this very cool.


Same stuff.

7-4 Inside Airship

730 frames saved. Complicated section. Going to describe time saves below.
Start of the section forces you do a stutter stop run unless you wait a long time. Found no way of starting to run without it.
Frame 71911 First skip of the section. Take a hit with the electricity so I become invulnerable while I actually do the clip. Found no way to hover near the ceiling here, may have something to do with the short jump here.
Frame 72202 Similar skip as the other one, but here we see something a bit different where running out of the wall while moving out of it gives some nice air.
Frame 73728 Shield does us a solid so the electricity does not delay the skip. This skip bypasses many obstacles when moving through walls can only be done at a walk. Still faster and you end up higher which allows for more range to be covered with the jump kick.
Frame 74210 This whole massive issue of the section loading really pissed me off. Basically the game loads in sections as I explained in Traps, but there are some detrimental effects as I encountered hundreds of times here. The game does a check to see if you are in the camera area and if you are not it will change your position. If you are too far right then you wraparound and start right back at the start of the newly loaded section. Normally these loads are transparent and you see nothing. If you are too far up you will load two screens worth down. In this case it means death and we want the height for jump kicks anyway. Jump kicks move you faster than running with enough height. Further complicating things the small platforms at the bottom of this section load a bit after the full section loads in. Jump kicking at the furthermost possible right at the highest possible height and landing on the platforms was challenging. In the previous movie Dammit is able to get to the most extreme point right and up due to the super run jump coming out of the wall while zipping. I was not able to get that extreme point, but fairly close. It also appears that not doing the double jump like the previous movie is a couple frames faster.
Frame 74871 Unique wall jump clip. The area here is vertically challenged so I use an oddity I noticed before. Musashi needs to be near the wall on top of a ledge you can Down + Jump to fall through to do this. Pressing down and jump will not have him fall through the ledge but kind of hover with a decreased height. Then it is easier to perform a wall jump clip. However here he does a standing attack a frame or two after wall jumping when you throw a kunai quickly. Holding left keeps your height low which I wanted for the next part. Moving through the wall bumps you lower which in turn allows you to get into the non wall section a bit to the right. It is faster than just travelling through the wall right from this point.
Frame 7513 Another clip but here with correct positioning you can keep Musashi near the ceiling even after getting electrified so he can quickly do the clip without getting zapped again. Using the quick finish of the ceiling clip here. Jump kick in direction opposite of wall at an exact frame. Normally Musashi will pop down a bit more, but this lets you gain some extra height. Quick version saves about 4 frames.
Now we need to gain a lot of height to go through the invisible ceiling. We are aiming for the 0xFE subsection with a height as far down as possible nearest to 0xFF. Again I use the jump then jump kicks here to gain height faster as well as to continually move towards the exit. Holding Left to move right since I am in the wall and that is how it works. There is a door trigger there. I do not understand this section very well except that it may be related to how the loading sections work. The game would load him two screens down, which probably translates to where the door entrance would normally be.


209 frames saved. Vertical zips with constant jump then wall kicks makes this section work out fast. Each time you do the jump + wall jump kick you gain 2 frames while in the wall. By holding towards wall you can still stay zipping after getting hit. At the end I stop doing the wall kicks, so Musashi stops using kunai just as he reaches the top and starts running. A short vertical zip and a jump kick to regain our Power. It is strange how performing a jump kick while in overlapping in the wall uses a kunai.

7-6 Boss

Boss is all about attacking him at the right time. Attack while he keeps flashing after a couple hits he will stun and become invulnerable for a time. Need to wait until you can get in attacks to advance to the second form. Needed a little coaxing on the second section where I needed to modify my position slightly. Something slight changed even though the final input did not change.

Some Mechanics

1. Randomness

Every frame has its internal RNG function run on all input. It does not seem to change the randomness of presses that occur during screen transitions. Randomness is not reset and is carried throughout the game. Input UDLR,A,B,C are all checked and have an effect on various elements. The kunai count also seems to change randmomness as well. Modifying the kunai count resulted in different actions in an autoscroller section. Ex: Pressing an extra button in the beginning of the game is almost 100% to desync all the random elements that occur after.
Using Up as a way to modify the RNG works great since Up is only really used in the game to look using the camera and to ceiling/pipe/ledge hang.

Autoscroller Parts

While completion of autoscroller sections are trivial, I attempted to make them interesting. Trying to get interesting patterns took awhile. Secret Entry has ninjas that vary in appearance time and the actions they take and when they take them. Destruction has the airbike ninjas are dealt in the same way.


In most cases the random effects for normal enemies are insignificant. Destruction's floating ninjas (aka Floaters) appear randomly. Traps has the ninjas jump kick you if the RNG is bad. Gas in all levels is random within a tight range, but it is relevant especially on Final Confrontation's first section where it can hit you to your death.


Most bosses have no randomness, but react to the character's positions and actions.
  • Secret Entry 2-1's miniboss can appear higher or lower on the right side of the screen, and we need him to appear low.
  • Body Weapon Level 3-1 miniboss is a bunch of falling brains that vary in position and frequency. Massive RNG pit.
  • Electric Demon Boss has randomly falling objects.
  • Traps boss. Lots of randomness here. He and a shadow appear behind 6 revolving doors. RNG for each position and if you are going to attack the actual one. 2nd phase has a couple undesirable (slow) actions as well.

2. Movement

These values I was able to see due to the script Dammit used while watching the movie with the script on it in Gens. I was not able to get the script to work in Bizhawk as it was. Link to the script is in his tasvideo's submission.
  • Walking 1.75 pixels
  • Running 3 pixels
  • Moving while blocking 0.75 pixels
  • Jump Kick 3.75 pixels

3. Close range

Close range attacks come out when you are within a certain range of the enemy or have no kunai. Slightly slower, but constantly does a hit check. Run slashes hit multiple times which is why they are so beneficial for the brains miniboss.

4. Double Jumping / Kunai Spray

The double jump works when you are near the apex of the jump. The kunai spray can only be done on the frame you double jump or before it ends. Noticed that performing the kunai spray can add delay to getting out of the double jump state. The Kunai Spray attack uses 8 kunai normally. However if you have 1-7 kunai it will give you the rest of kunai allowing you to do the attack. Had make sure getting here with 9 would work out.

5. Parrying

This occurs when you attack. It is far more noticeable when you use the close range attack. Most projectiles can be parried.

6. Blocking

Hold the attack button after an attack and you can block projectiles.

7. Running

Running is a finicky beast I constantly fought with. It requires you to do the inputs before you want them by a couple frames in most cases during a jump kick. Most cases I would get this subpar stutter stop run until you find the magic frames.

8. Quick Kunai Throwing / Close Range Attacks

The fast kunai throwing essentially is alternating between pressing the attack button and then jump rapidly while on the ground. Pressing attack makes him throw a kunai, then pressing jump cancels the throwing animation, but before Musashi can get off the ground, the attack button is pressed which cancels the jump animation and Musashi is forced to throw another kunai, and this can loop until you run out of kunai. The fast close range attack is basically the same thing only using the close range attack, and is really more for 6-button. Note that with the powerup Musashi uses a sword which is slower than the close range kunai.

9. Bomb Box Glitch

Destroying a box that has a bomb in it will allow you to clip through enemies if you leave the bomb alone. Effect stops if it is cleaned up or explodes.

10. Vertical Skips

Overlapping the wall then using a jump kick is the best way to gain height. In most cases it requires you to do it multiple times to get the zip fully going. Jump + Jump Kick using a kunai for some reason.

11. Wall Jump + Kunai Throw Clip

Steps to do it
  • Wall Jump
  • Hold direction of wall
  • Throw Kunai
  • When in ceiling hold the opposite direction

11. Quick Finish of Wall Jump + Kunai Throw

At the start it is possible to only press Attack for the kunai throw and jump on the frame next to the wall to skip the wall jump animation. Then while in the ceiling a further improvement is to jump kick in direction opposite of wall at an exact frame. This exact frame is determined by placement, and only possible if you have enough height to not just do the jump kick out of the ceiling. Normally Musashi will pop down a bit more, but this lets you gain some extra height.

12. Move Backwards with Run Slashing

Some bosses exert a backward force to you if you are close to them after hitting. Example on first boss.

13. Quickroll

If you are double jumping and near ledge if you have the positioning right it will pop you up a couple pixels to land on top of it.

14. Recoilless kicks

"It's possible to hit an enemy with a kick after touching ground and avoid the costly recoil. This is the fastest way to get rid of enemies that have 1 HP, but some open ground in front is required. In a couple cases it's also useful for hitting bosses that are too low to shoot." --Dammit
Specifically Destruction's miniboss and boss both take a couple kicks when they are lower than kunai can hit.

15. Wallkicking

"A sheer wall can be climbed by kicking into it on alternating frames. Gravitational acceleration continues, so it's best as a supplement rather than a substitute for jumping. Neofix demonstrated this in his movie but didn't put it to good use." -Dammit

16. Enemy Despawns

Not killing enemies can sometimes despawn future enemies.
  • Body Weapon's usually has a pack of three sludge men, but we see only 2 at the end.
  • On Destruction there are usually enemies on that long pipe after the towers with the floating ninjas. Moving in that manner despawns them.

17. Jump Kicking To Gain Extra Distance

Major basic mechanic is to let go the directional before performing a jump kick. It can give you several extra pixels of distance.

18. Transitions

Start and Jump button alternating works to get it out of the way as fast as possible. No benefit known to reduce the input.

19. Ninjitsu

There are several ninjitsu in Shinobi III. A great benefit of using the ninjitsu is that for several seconds afterward you are invulnerable. The invulnerability aspect is used in Final Confrontation.
  • Suicide magic removes a life and deals flat damage to the enemy. Limited use because of limited lives and the animation is quite lengthy.
  • Shield - Protects you for a number of hits
  • Jump Height - Crazy jump height, allows you to normally perform clips and jumps not possible. Not used.
  • Fire Attack - Flat Damage.
There are some restrictions on ninjitsu use. In 6-button mode only using ninjitsu will softlock the game during certain boss entrance and transition phases. The standard 3-button mode does not have that issue, it properly locks out those buttons.
  • At the start of newly loaded sections it is locked for 15 frames.
  • After you enter the area of a door exiting the area.
  • While taking damage.
  • During middle of attack animations.
  • During scenes. There are not many scenes. 1st level miniboss entrance, Traps boss first and second transition phase. And the Last boss entrance and second transition phase.

20. Quick Change of Ninjitsu

On changing ninjitsu pressing start and a directional on the same frame will exit the menu and change the ninjitsu.

21. Menu Does Not Appear

Pressing start on the right frame at the end of a section will make the menu sound but not pop up.

22. Delayed Actions

Shinobi III lets the users off quite easily. The game will buffer actions then perform them later. Very commonly in this run you will see Musashi jumping off mid air immediately after running off of it. Commonly here on pipes Musashi jumps after moving off a pipe to the right. One of my favorites is from frame 19000 where it looks like Musashi performs a running slash in mid air after doing a dive kick.

23. Power

Forgetting one of the most basic and important things for last. Normally Musashi does 1 damage, but with the power you do 3 for kunai and short range attacks. Your close range kunai attack turns into a sword attack. Jump kicks do 1 damage everywhere power or not with the exception of the last boss where oddly enough Jump Kicks do 3 damage if you have power. Getting hit will remove the power until you get a power pickup again. Power stays with you across levels.

24. End of Level Awards Kunai

The game will award you kunai once you complete a level. As you progress each stage the game awards you more and more. Because of this I barely have enough for the Body Weapon level.

25. About Loading Sections and Wraparound Glitch

This game internally divides up the levels into sections and will load them when you hit triggers as you move through the level. Most levels have several loading zones. As you move through the level horizontally the next section will load.
The game however treats you unusually if you are outside the camera area by changing your position. If you are too far right then you wraparound and start right back at the start of the newly loaded section. If you are too far up you will load two screens worth down. Normally these loads are transparent and you see nothing.

25. On Screen Kunai Limitation

The number of allowed kunai on screen is limited to what looks like 8. You can see this on the surfing level first boss form. 8 is the max allowed on screen at once. Trying to perform more Kunai sprays during a double jump requires the other kunai to despawn.

26. Special Thanks

  • Dammit - For the awesome previous TAS run that had heavily improved Neofix's run.
  • Keaur - Polished a lot of techniques for Any%. Has helpful Twitch videos.
  • BaconOmelette (aka EclipseVoid) - Lots of technical videos. Apparently first one that found the kunai + jump clip glitch.

27. Kunai Throwing and Ascending

This is more of a hindrance, but something that needs to be considered at some points. While ascending if you throw a kunai your overall jump height can be impacted if you are not near the apex. Throwing a kunai before the apex can reduce your overall jump height. This has implications when performing the wall jump + kunai throw clips, as well as moving through certain areas with enemies.

28. Whatever else I am forgetting.

Other Info

On I have a glitch thread that has comparison videos of glitches and explanations.
There is a 6-button hidden setting. It would not be faster than the normal 3 button due to a lack of wall jump + kunai clipping. Still very cool. Completed a speedrun pretty quick with that setting.
Anything else anybody would like to see?
Possible Improvements
  • One frame improvement on landing after a jump at frame 22042 by doing the running one frame sooner. Desyncs after fixing, so would have to redo every RNG section afterward which would be a massive undertaking.
  • Body Weapon's falling brains miniboss could have a better solution. This seems more in the realm of coding and trying out massive amounts of possibilities.
  • Lag. Particularly Body Weapon and Destruction boss. I also have a strange feeling that inputs may cause lag, even inputs that do nothing.
  • Reduction of RNG manipulations using "Up" at one point may have gained me an extra frame in a following level, but I only realized that later. It could have also been something else.
  • I would have liked to show the wraparound glitch on the autoscrolling elevator part. There is a section where if you fall of you get re-spawned at the top of the camera view. Forgot about it until I was well into the final level.
  • Would have liked to show the floor clip on the Body weapon boss. On a certain frame of a kunai throw near the end if you get hit the game pops you up a couple pixels, which allows you to double jump really close to the ground. Double jumping close to the ground and on the last possible frame if you use a ninjitsu you can clip through the floor. Alas I could not find a way to fit it into the boss without losing frames.


If others have ones they like more that's fine. The game is good looking.
  • 39358
  • 47013
  • 47999
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  • 67257

ThunderAxe31: Judging.
ThunderAxe31: The longer loading times and additional lag frames are the result of improved emulation. Accepting as improvement over the current movie.
feos: Pub.
Last Edited by on 1/1/2022 6:13 PM
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