Dash! Dash! Dash!
It’s a terrible injustice that Goemon was never given greater screen time in the West. Although the number of titles we beat here can be counted on enough fingers, assuming you have them, it was one of Konami’s hallmark assets in Japan for several years. The fact that they’re Japanese is probably why we haven’t seen more of them brought over. Set in feudal Japan, it features more local music and film recs than you can shake a pipe at.
Despite this, the 1991 film Legend of the Mystical Ninja completely engrossed me when I was a kid. Simply poking around and seeing what was there was a lot of fun. It was one of the most exciting and confusing minutes of my young life when the Magical Ninja Starring Goemon injury ended up being localised, and I was all over it.
As a new immigrant to Japan, I feel I have a good grasp of the country’s history and culture. Here and now. In 1998, when Magical Ninja Starring Goemon premiered, there were really couple of options to discover more about Japan. There wasn’t nearly as much online content available back then, and the media we did get from the country was often heavily sanitised for a Western audience.
Magical Ninja Starring The first song of Goemon is a parody theme song with dubbed vocals. Old Godzilla films were the closest thing to it I’d ever seen in real life. Subtitled anime wasn’t extremely usual in my area of the world right now, thus the ambience was utterly missed on my more youthful self.
Beyond the first shock, though, Magical Ninja Starring Goemon makes it seem like you already know a bunch of these characters while in fact none of them—Yae, Sasuke, the Wise Old Man—survived from Legend of the Mystical Ninja and, at most, they only made brief appearances in the SNES game. A huge robot named Impact was the most out-of-place accessory.
For the Super Famicom, Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shogun Magginesu debuted its effect in 1993. Since then, they’ve been an integral part of the series, most notably in the narrative arc Ganbare Goemon Kirakira Dch: Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake. The video game itself alludes to this. Discussions of a trip to Hollywood in Effect make sense in the context of the prior game, but are meaningless here.
An enormous robotic simply appears in Magical Ninja Starring Goemon, complete with its own (undoubtedly remarkable) theme song.
Ore wa goooorgeous ~!
Not that Magical Ninja Starring Goemon makes good sense without the missing out on referrals. Oedo castle is transformed into a European castle for use in the novel by the “Peach Mountain Shoguns,” a troupe of kabuki theatrical performers (perhaps from the region). Then, for no apparent reason, they ramp up their plan and seize Kysh without so much as a fight.
You might quickly compare Magical Ninja Starring Goemon with The Legend of ZeldaIt’s largely an overword-to-dungeon affair, but it’s a bit more straightforward than that. The game’s terrible streaming quality really stands out to me.
An unusual, mostly-naked seer will yell “PLASMA!” at you and reveal your next course of action. In no way is that odd. A Link to the Past had the very same thing. At one time in Magical Ninja Starring Goemonthe creators looked not able to find out how to drop a suggestion on where you ought to go next, thus among the characters straight-up merely suggests going to chat with the foreteller. They could have just suggested I buy the book instead.
But since it’s not always obvious where you should be going, the fortune teller comes in handy. There is a full minute in which the seer does nothing. To eliminate a barrier, you must first locate a certain power-up, but Mr. Plasma only tells you to get to that location without providing any guidance on how to do so.
Ore wa Chaaaarming ~!
If exploration were superior, this would be much less of a challenge, but it is not.
To be fair, I think the Ganbare Goemon series is at its best when depicting a mad traveler’s adventure across feudal Japan. There is no specific formula for the series, only recurring needs. The most common is a Goemon and crew adventure around the entirety of Japan, complete with stops at motels, meals at restaurants, and gaming distractions. The Goemon-led Magical Ninja almost perfects it.
The majority of the United States is depicted on the world map in a segmented format. In this game, you get to explore a stripped-down version of Honsh and Shikoku. You can follow your progress on a handy map. That’s incredible, by the way. The only problem is that the map isn’t very helpful, and it’s not easy to tell in which direction you’re supposed to walk.
If you knew exactly where you were going, where you had been, and where you needed to go, you could do a lot more in much less time. If you find yourself in a rut, consult your map and it will show you the areas you have yet to explore. That is just not how things work in the universe of Magical Ninja Starring Goemon. While it was entirely up to the player whether or not the game provided blatant hints as to what they should do next, Don’t be surprised if you find yourself giving the Plasma guy some cash after reading A Link in Time.
Ore wa fuuuuunky ~!
Magical Ninja with Goemon is fantastic.Despite certain problems, though, it’s primarily a fun experience. Being an extremely early N64 video game had negative and positive effects on the game. Super Mario 64 demonstrated how a 3D platformer should function a year prior, yet Magical Ninja Starring Goemon had not gotten the word. You can almost feel the tension as talented designers battle over fresh concepts.
Control over the video cameras is minimal. In most games, you can at least move the camera so that it’s directly behind your player character, but that option is not here. You can’t just have the camera swing in behind your character without first carefully setting the scene so they have to deal with that location. As a result, most of the platforming comes out as downright nasty. Thankfully, you won’t find a lot of sudden deaths here. If you don’t make it on a dive, it’s usually not a huge deal to try again later.
However, I find the early 3D garbage to be rather fascinating. You can clearly see where ambition overtook knowledge. Undoubtedly, there were several good ideas for the task, but there were numerous difficulties in carrying them out. It’s interesting to note how the quality of Magical Ninja Starring Goemon varies greatly from peak to valley.
This album has incredible music. The N64 version is no exception to the series’ tradition of excellent soundtracks. Given the N64’s limited storage space, the inclusion of vocalised music is a bit of a strange choice. It was well worth it, though, because those tracks are what really set the game out as strange.
Aaaah Impakutoooo ~!
The Ganbare Goemon games were always changing the rules and mechanics of the series’ gameplay. Goemon’s Great Adventure would be the sequel to Magical Ninja Starring Goemon.It’s a rather straightforward sidescroller, even if it might be a much stronger video game in general.
I hope Konami tries again with the style they used in Magical Ninja Starring Goemon. Within the framework of the series, it successfully accomplished several goals. It only needed a little more TLC. The “goofy tourist through feudal Japan” viewpoint that the series often reviewed would be fulfilled by the extended globe, which is full with additional intriguing monuments to explore.
However, Konami no longer supports the franchise. The last major appearance of the squad was on a God-forsaken pachinko machine, and the most recent game was 2005’s Ganbare Goemon: Tkai Dch Ooedo Tengurigaeshi no Maki on DS. That might possibly be the final chapter in the series that Konami intentionally killed off. Ultimate Super Smash Bros. had various Mii clothes from the series, although that really just shows that Nintendo values the franchise more.
Magical Ninja Starring Goemonit is a fantastic Nintendo 64 game. It’s enjoyable now, but only if you’re immune to the early-3D garbage that plagues it. Despite this, there is evident intelligence and emotion in its gaze. Alternatively, you might argue that, in the past, Konami stuffed that down with a pillow.
Check out this link for more classic games you may have missed!
Writer, Human Resources Gadabout gamer describes Zoey. In 2018, she began writing in her neighbourhood and quickly rose to prominence. She strives to maintain her status as a chronic uncool person by frequenting places like indie experiment archives and vintage bookshops.