Shadow Dancer is a one-player game in which you control Shinobi. With the help of your dog, you must kill your enemies while you venture through locations such as airports, railroads, waterfalls, sewers, and more. Furthermore, you must find and disarm several bombs along the way before you leave each. You also have the option of using magic against enemies, which may consist of tornadoes or fireballs.
There are five missions you must complete; and each one has different objectives such as obstructing the enemies deadly mission, disrupting the enemy's supply route, raiding the enemy's industrial units, attacking the enemy's underground forces, and liberating and securing the shuttle's base. Each mission consists of three stages and there is a boss on each of the mission's final stages.
What's good about the dog, you say? Well, if you tell it to, the dog will maul enemies (provided that the dog barks at them when you face them) and distract them long enough so that you can shoot at them. Remember that you have a limited time to do this, as the enemy will eventually kick the dog off him. This causes the dog to yelp and shrink, making him powerless against them.