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Old School Games: Mystical Ninja/Ganbare Goemon Study


My cousin that used to live with us had a super nintendo, and in addition to having Contra 3, Rock N Roll Racing, he had Legend of the Mystical Ninja. This Mystical Ninja is one of those games that I could never find the name of. I hunted high and low trying to find it. Eventually I saw advertisements for the Playstation version or Great Adventure on the 64. It's unfortunate that I went so many years hunting for this. And I had to have those. And when I found out there were several unreleased Japanese ones, I had to have those.

I'm still missing a few, and by few I mean about fifteen to twenty. I've yet to find a way to play import PS2 games or DS games, until I do I can't play those. And for some reason I've not played the gameboy or playstation games yet either. And the famicom (nes) games. That Arcade game? No, but I seriously want to. Look and listen.

Then I'll show off this video. Its got many of the games in the series.



The hero of the games is based on a japanese man named Goemon who was pretty much robin hood. No really, everything I've read basicly says that. They don't say it as bluntly, but they're not me. Our video game Goemon tends to stay very angry at everything he meets. I don't know why. His main weapon is also an opium pipe throughout the series.


Goemon's faithful sidekick who is usually the butt of jokes in the series. Everything about this character confuses me and I love him more for it. For example, on the Nintendo 64 he can do a butt bounce attack that makes him jump higher than any other character. Despite the fact that he's much heavier than the other three. He also switches his weapons throughout the games using ribbons, fans, canes, and


A robot ninja. He attacks with his swords, hair, and bombs. Yeah, I know. He cuts enemies in two when he attacks and I love that.


A ninja who packs a bazooka. Also cuts her enemies when she fights them. She turns into a mermaid. I wish I had more to say, but I can't follow that up with anything else. Storyline wise she tends to stay more grounded than the other characters, but she's a ninja with a bazooka who turns into a mermaid.

Legend of Mystical Ninja - Super Nintendo - Engl

While not the first in the series, this is the first in english. The first I played. And probably the one everyone recalls. It's a five star, best-game-ever, "that's my favorite," and brings me back to a happier time. When my dad and me used to play nintendo together. Yeah, that's right. My dad played this with me. He was Doctor Yang to my Kid Ying and we nearly finished the game together. Many, many, years later I finished the game and told him about it. After our time spent playing Turtles and Legend of Kage was way passed. Finishing the first Goemon game felt like I had accomplished something. And its still a fun game to return to. Every level is luminous. Yes, that is a big way of saying radiant. Or I could say it's just well, but that isn't writing is it?

Storyline wise this game has you Goemon (whose name here is Kid Ying) and his friend Ebimasru (Doctor Yang) hanging out. Suddenly bad guys attack and its up to you to wander Japan. With none of the subtlety or sophistication of the storyline, I've broken it down to its barest elements. I didn't mention any of the really bizarre elements such as the kitten people or

So gameplay. You'll wander around town for a bit gathering cash killing bad guys and buying items, then make your way up to a side scrolling level. It's really fantastic how you upgrade yor weapon too. Every so many enemies a kitty cat drops and you pick him up and your weapon upgrades. You have three upgrades here, which is a fansatic place to mention Goemon's crack pipe. Yes, his main weapon is a opium pipe. Think I'm joking? I'm not and will defend that claim all over the place. So you have a basic pipe to start then a silver one, then you get a yo-yo weapon. I know right, its only logical that you get a yo yo after starting with brown and then silver. You can also throw money at enemies (?) as well as bombs. It's actually quite strange, but tha'ts goemon for you.

This pretty much describes the majority of the series and I got it out rather quickly actually. The sidescrolling levels are always hilarious and filled with monsters that don't make sense. As are towns filled with many japanese people. Some of which I don't understand at all. Like the guy with a basket face or the samurai who gets angry when you hit him. And every level seems to add more. You travel to a new town, wander around, then find the side scrolling level and have at it. Big boss shows up, and there you go. That's Mystical Ninja. The final level is very impressive and has you re-fight all the bosses and one final boss. All the boss designs are brilliant. You'll fight a japanese ghost, sumo wrestlers who get bigger faces when you hit them eventually becoming one face, a latern fella, giant octopus, kite ninja, tengu, kitty dragon, and samurai.

One last cool thing about Goemon is that the third level is a carnival where you can play lots of mini games. Including Gradius. Yes, the first level of Gradius is in Goemon. It's really cool for some reason, I don't know why. All the mini games are pretty fun to play, but Gradius is the best. It's presented in such a way that it makes it fun to play. Its a gigantic TV set with Goemon and Ebimasru sitting down in front with a lady telling them about it.

What makes this game wonderful is how all these elements come together. You're in part of a town walking around getting money, so its sort of an RPG. Then you're on a sidescrolling level platform jumping and fighting enemies. It's great. Two of my favorite types of games together with some very humorous style. It only gets wierder in the sequels.


Ganbare Goemon 2 - Super Nintendo

Working as a bagger in a grocery store I met a girl who was/is very into Japanese culture. Not so much video games, but their history and assuming anime. I of course had to ask her to translate a word for me, or at the very least tell me how to say this. I honestly don't know if I'm saying Goemon right either, but what really bothers me is the Ganabare part. What the hell does it mean? She says to say it "Gone-a-bree" but couldn't tell me an explination. So to google. I found this extrmely helpful website. Hang in There Goemon 2. It makes sense now. As much as Goemon games can.

By the way, if I was asked to pick a best of the series, it is definitely part two. Even without english it is fully playable. And I mean that too. It's a little confusing in towns where to go or what to buy, but put effort into it. I managed to not only play Ganbare Goemon 2 a game I can barely spell or say let alone pronounce, but I beat it. And it was amazing. The only way you're going to get to play it or its three Super Nintendo Cousins is to search google for something I can't tell you to look for. I think if you looks you'll figure it out. If you really need help finding it

This pretty much improves everything the first game did ten fold. It also includes a third playable character, Sasuke! It's great that you can use any of the three characters now. The levels this time around are pretty much the most amazing I've ever played. No, I mean that. One level in particular really stands out in my mind. It's a gigantic dragon that you ride on throughout the level. It's brutal. Not the way the level in Animaniacs was, but in a good way. And that's the first level of the second world. There are many, MANY, amazing levels in this game. It's just so beautiful. You also can ride around on vehicles on levels attacking enemies. Oh gosh, I love this so much.

Storyline wise I have no idea what the hell is going on. There is this bunny rabbit guy who keeps showing up and he's mean I guess and you fight him in a sumo suit. Then you fight him in the giant robots. Yes, you have a giant robot. And this is only their introduction to the series the giant impact robots show up in the other games too. It's like Power Rangers or Voltron or any sort of giant robot show. Its presented first person and you attack with your ball arms and various other weapons. Yes, you have chain gun money to throw out now. And the robot looks like Goemon. And is alive maybe?

If I had to recommend you to go find one and play it right now. I mean right now, go get part two. I had no trouble playing it, at least from an actually being able to play it stand point, and I loved it. It's great.

Ganbare Goemon 3 - Super Nintendo

Heartbreakingly, unplayable. This one is more like a true adventure game than the others. And that means it needs words. In order to do anything you have to figure it out and I just can't deal with it. I really tried and I'm hoping someone puts out a translation soon. The interenet saved the day before, so maybe?

Gabare Goemon 4 - Super Nintendo

If part two was one of the most beautiful games on super nintendo, the fourth one is one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen. Sprite wise, everything is just fantastic. Killing enemies never felt so good. Unfortunately, its also somewhat broken by the language barriar. I need certain items to progress and I can't figure out which to use.

However, I was able to follow what's going on. The giant robot asked you to go after a bad guy in space, so of course your four heroes take off after him. Somehow they're on seperate planets and each has abilties to cross barriers the others can't. Like going underwater. Figuring out what to do from there I can't. Or at least haven't yet. Someday soon.

Oh and the name of the subtitle in english is "The reason I became a dancer." I'm not joking about that. That's the real english translation. I don't understand either.

Mystical Ninja 64 - English release

I hate that when I played this it was ten years too late. The graphics and glitches were just too much. I jumped off a bridge and got stuck in water for way too long. I just kept swimming around town lost. I didn't know what to do and gave up.

From what I've read this is more like an adventure game, so its more like part three. It's probably amazing and I'm just missing out because I had one awful time playing it. But my time was just too terrible to fully write about. Nintendo 64 games are, I hate to say anything mean, but you know. They're not known for being beautiful and amazing. I wish they were. Oh right, the sequel is both of those.

Goemon's Great Adventure 64 - English release

So this game is both beautiful and amazing. I got it new for thirty dollars. When I saw it sitting there in Wal Mart, I knew I had to have it. At that point I was buying Super Nintendo games twenty dollars apiece. Yeah, I know. So when I saw an N64 game worth playing that wasn't expensive, I needed it. Unfortunately two things set this game back for me. Use of a controller pack to save progress and I loaned it out to someone. The controller pack has never worked for me. Across two N64s, niether were able to keep a controller packs save games. Across several controller packs, they just don't work. I don't know what happens. They always erase.

And now the more personal reason. At some point I loaned this out to a friend and, I'm getting tears in my eyes, he lost it. He claimed it was stolen and I believe him. I mean who wouldn't want to steal a Nintendo 64 game? And he gave my dad twenty dollars for the game. "But I paid thirty." I know. And now go look on ebay. How much is this game? As I look today twenty dollars. I've seen it much higher in the past and I really need to buy a copy for myself. This game is so good. It's one of the best on the system and a must own.

For starters everything is in 3D and at the time, it looked really great. Now its dated a little, but I still think it holds up. Especially considering the 64. Everything feels more like Ganabare Goemon 2, just in english. You have all four characters playable now, including Sasuke and Yae who I had never seen before this. You can go around a level map. You've got cities to explore. And levels. I recall really loving the burning castle you go through I forget where or which world that was in. But I really liked it. This was over ten years ago, don't look at this article with that face.

The other big thing is the robots. Not only are they in this, but you can do two player robot battles. Side by side. How crazy is that? Well for a Goemon game nothing is crazy, but for me that is just wild. Seeing two screens with ball armed robots fighting another robot is fun. I mean it is the definition of fun. This is why I play video games. Beyond that you also can do piggy back moves and special moves with your characters. Each one doing something different like Yae's mermaid ability.

In closing, I think the only other slice of Japan like this could be Pocky & Rocky and even then, that doesn't come as close to Goemon. I mean this is pure Japan. I don't understand anything. And I love it. It's humorous. Octopi show up all the time. Those giant nutted squirrels show up. It's wacky and all over the place. I don't know what to say really. I know, I want the DS one in english. There's a water color looking Goemon out that I really would love to try out. It's more RPG and adventurey and I want it in english. That's what I'll end with. That and a mention of the playstation and other games I passed over.
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About randombullseyeone of us since 5:44 PM on 07.05.2008

"I am hoping that I can be known as a great writer and actor some day, rather than a sex symbol." - Words of wisdom from the deity Steven Seagal

"Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose." - Alan Moore from Watchmen

My own writing reflects the opinion of every corporation, company, individual, monsters, and gods. Also, cocks!

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Zombies Ate My Neighbors is the best game ever.

Read fun articles Josh (Charlie) wrote for Tomopop or Nukezilla! Professionalism! Also I did some news for Destructoid. Sort of a real writer!

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Old School Games articles are pretty much worth reading. They say write what you know.

X-Com UFO Defense

Zelda 2

X-Men Mutant Apocalypse

Dragon Warrior III

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

Final Fantasy 3 (Final Fantasy VI)

Way of the Samurai

Nick Arcade

We Love Katamari

Ninja Gaiden

Toejam & Earl

River City Ransom

Mega Man X

Pokemon Red/Blue

Yakuza series

Operation Darkness


X-Men 2: Clone Wars

Sweet Home

Legend of Dragoon

Clock Tower

Mystal Ninja/Ganabre Goemon series

Onimusha Warlords

Rockin' Kats


Spawn games

God Hand

Blood Will Tell

Super Godzilla


Animal Platformers

Robot Alchemic Drive (R.A.D.)

Buck Rodgers Countdown to Doomsday

Darkwing Duck

Shin Megami Tensei games (Persona, Devil Summoner, Devil Survivor)

Jurassic Park 2

Disgaea & other Nippon Ichi Games (Phantom Brave, Makai Kingdom, La Pucelle Tactics, Soul Nomad)

Twisted Tales of Spike Mcfang

Resident Evil

Legend of Kage

Lost Vikings

Devil May Cry

Comix Zone

X- Men

Threads of Fate

Mutant League Football

Mega Man 7

Castlevania 2

Sonic 2

Dragon Warrior 2

Donkey Kong Country

Spider-man & X-Men Arcades revenge




Splatterhouse 2

Elevator Action

Mega Man 6

Mega Man 5

Dig Dug

Mega Man 4

Mega Man 3

Mega Man 2

Rock Roll Racing


Mega Man

Beat Em Ups PART 6: Future

Beat Em Ups PART 5: Playstation 2/Xbox/Gamecube

Beat Em Ups PART 4: Playstation/Saturn

Beat Em Ups PART 3: Sega Genesis Super Nintendo

Beat Em Ups PART 2: Nintendo

Beat Em Ups PART 1: Arcade

Smash TV

Ghosts & Goblins


Werewolf Last Warrior


Dragon Warrior


Rolling Thunder

Splatterhouse 3

Doom Troopers

Demons Crest

Primal Rage

Zero Wing


G. I. Joe


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