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Artemus avatar 8:04 PM on 06.22.2008  (server time)
* The Start of the Affair: Ganbare Goeman!

I've been reminiscing a lot about classic games...

I say the word "classic", but that doesn't mean the game had to be popular or mainstream such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros.. There are many other "classic" games out there that didn't get the attention they deserved.

Konami's, ridiculously Japanese, Ganbare Goemon(known as The Legend of the Mystical Ninja in North America) quickly comes to mind.

It is, was and always will be a prolific, addictive and fun video game series.

From the moment I played my rented copy of The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the SNES, in 1992, I was hooked! I kept it several weeks past the due date! Yes, it was that damn good. The affair had begun...

American box cover... Somewhat assy.

The game had it all: Memorable characters, bizarre boss battles, unique gameplay, stunning Mode 7 graphics and detailed sprite work. Not to mention a catchy, synthesizer-infused, traditional Japanese instrument soundtrack.

Japanese box cover... Not assy.

The game's two main protagonists are Goeman(horribly renamed Kid Ying in the American version) and my favorite, Ebisumaru(renamed Dr. Yang). Get it? Ying and Yang? My gawd, Konami! Why?! Yet, all is forgiven - Considering all the joy this game has given.

Anyway, Goeman, the title character, is a cool, spikey blue-haired, smoking pipe weilding bad-ass. Ebisumaru is his kooky, plump, slightly effeminate, blue-clad ninja sidekick. The two heroes, upon the disappearance of Princess Yuki, start to search Edo and its surrounding Japan. They soon discover the evils of the Otafu army and the adventure begins...

What made the game so much fun was having a friend join you in the 2-player co-op mode. Something not always available in games at the time. Remember, this was back in 1992. Players could help each other out and even perform a hilarious piggy-back ride move! Funny? Yes. Fun? Yes. And highly effective! The player giving the ride runs and jumps from danger, while the other attacks it, from above his friends back! The N64 game Goeman's Great Adventure, even featured 4-player co-op play! Although, in that game, it had to be unlocked.

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja was revolutionary 16-bit video game excitement... The casual gamer needed to invest a little time into the game before they realized what amazing depth and variety of game play it actually possessed. Players would roam busy towns in search of money, clues and items. Then fight in highly detailed side-scrolling levels. You could even catch up on some health by staying in one of the towns hotels. The more money you had, the fancier your room!

Konami spared no expense... Included were a plethora of different mini-games(including Whack-A-Mole, a rad Quiz Show and even a few levels of Gradius, to name a few). This game was simple, addictive platforming action at its best!

Konami worked the system to its maximum limits. This game truly utilized and showcased the power of the SNES.

The Goeman/Mystical Ninja titles all feature sweet gameplay, beautiful graphics and amazing Japanese style music. The few games that made it to the United States are definitely worth checking out... Especially The Legend of the Mystical Ninja and Goeman's Great Adventure. Begin your Goeman affair!

Do yourself a gaming pleasure and go download The Legend of the Mystical Ninja from the Virtual Console). You won't be disappointed. If you can locate a copy of Goeman's Great Adventure for the N64, buy it immediately.

Many years later, I still enjoy the hell outta these games. Thank you Konami! It's just too bad they didn't get the mainstream exposure they deserved.

Who couldn't love Ebisumaru?!

*Is a next gen Goeman game in the works? Sure hope so... Come on, Konami! What are you waiting for?!

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