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Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES) playthrough log part 2/2

The 6th level, Tengu Mountain, is a huge pain in the ass.. First of all, this is the one level in the game where you need to buy a pass for 980 ryo just to exit the town. I haven't been saving money at all since I was barely able to survive the previous level... but fortunately there's a good grinding spot with easy enemies on a bridge at the south-most part of town. Then you get to the sidescrolling section, with a bunch of monkeys and birds attacking you. The birds are almost always out of my reach so I can't attack them until they swoop down at me. I lost all my armor and pizza pretty quickly here. Then after a miniboss is this waterfall platforming area, where you have to go behind the waterfall via platforms that move in and out of the background/foreground.. I had a ton of trouble here too.

Almost thought I would need to grind money in town to learn one of those judo attacks in order to beat this level... I like the challenge though. The boss wasn't anything special, just took a few tries to learn his patterns, but I kept getting to him on my last

7th level, now we actually get to Izumo which is where the wiseman tried to send us in the first place, to look for this white mirror... This level has birds that drop bombs from overhead. The town area is so small and cramped with enemies it's almost impossible to earn money here to restock my armor/pizza.. but fortunately the sidescrolling section here is pretty easy. It's a water-based level, the water acts like quicksand so it's easy enough to jump out if you fall, and the bomb-dropping birds are much easier to avoid here. The boss here is a dragon, very easy pattern, not a problem at all.. after beating him Goemon finds the water mirror, which talks and says that Princess Yuki has been taken to Ryukyu Island.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES) playthrough log part 1/2

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja screenshot The Legend of the Mystical Ninja screenshot
I first played this on an emulator after I already became a fan of the N64 Mystical Ninja games, and I absolutely hated how the localization named the characters as "Kid Ying" and "Dr. Yang".. They've always been Goemon and Ebisumaru to me. Those localized names just feel so wrong... anyway, I only got a few levels in before giving up due to the difficulty and then never touched this game again for a long time.

This game is a major upgrade from the NES and GB ones, with fully developed 2D sections and towns with a lot more life/variety to them. A major thing this game added is... you have special "Judo attacks" that you can use with the X button while in a 2D section. They cost scrolls to use (which I've been getting a lot of along with money drops). But to gain these abilities, you have to go to a dojo and spend a lot of money to temporarily learn a single ability JUST for this one stage. I've never bothered with these because I never have any money left after stocking up on equipment.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru! (GB) playthrough log

Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru! screenshot This is like the NES games, except more much more streamlined. You don't need to hunt for passes using candles, or navigate through annoying 3D mazes anymore. Instead each level has its own story-based quest and the focus is more on tricky platforming and figuring out where to go. There are still hidden stairs that you need to jump to reveal, but usually they are just bonus rooms that reward you with coins and powerups. The only times you ever NEED to reveal a hidden stairway are when there's nothing but a dead end and there's nowhere else to go, so it's very obvious. There's a bunch of different minigames to win coins, but coins aren't very important in this game anyway, so they're mostly just for fun.

The 1st level is just a straightforward path through a town, with nothing stopping you from leaving through the exit gate. The 2nd level has you needing the power of the god of wind, in order to use a sail boat (omg Wind Waker stole its plot from Mystical Ninja!)... There's a subplot where you get captured by an arms smuggler... then there's a sequence where some bombs go off and you have to escape the collapsing building... The 3rd level you catch up to the guy who kidnapped Ebisumaru, but it turns out he was actually a good guy, and now these other guys who are actually bad guys have kidnapped Ebisumaru for real, as well as this guy's daughter, Osaki. ooh man plot twist!

Goemon comments to himself at the end of every level, and he keeps saying how he doesn't care about Ebisumaru and is just doing this for other reasons.. and now he says he cares more about rescuing Osaki than him.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Kieta Ougon Kiseru (NES) playthrough log

This is the first of the Dragon Quest-clone spinoff RPGs of the Goemon series.

Man, it's been a long time since I've actually sat down and played one of these 8-bit JRPGs. They aren't very thrilling or satisfying to play in the slightest. They don't require any real strategy or thinking at all. But I dunno still there's something really meditative/relaxing about grinding through them... I guess things like walkthroughs and emulation speed up tools go a long way towards making these games more playable. Like, without a turbo button I don't think I'd have been able to sit through this shit.

Unfortunately, my hunt for a translation patch for this game came up short. I guess I'll just rely on a walkthrough to figure out what little bits and pieces of the story I can. I also have to play the game with a notepad open containing all of the menu translations so that I can at least figure out the attacks and the shop items/equipment and all that. it kind of adds a huge layer of difficulty onto this, but whatever, I need to beat this to satisfy my ocd.

From what I can tell, Goemon has lost his favorite pipe, and Ebisumaru helps him go to look for it. Then you start journeying to other towns and get caught up in other unrelated stuff. At one point early on, they get a lockpicking wire which lets them get through locked doors.. They come to a town full of cats, and a cat throws them in jail, and while escaping, they join up with a fugitive cat who was also in jail.

There's a part where you go through a dungeon to get a large diamond as a reward, but the only use for it is to give it to a random NPC, who gives you a fish in exchange for it. That fish is a key item needed to get up a waterfall to get to this one town. Just as they're approaching that town, a giant female robot walks by...
Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Kieta Ougon Kiseru screenshot

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ganbare Goemon 2 (NES) playthrough log

Ganbare Goemon 2 screenshotThis game is amazing. It's like the first Goemon game except WAY better. This might even be one of my favorite NES games. Ganbare Goemon 2 introduces Ebisumaru. A 2nd player can play as him cooperatively alongside Goemon. They both have the same abilities. There's also a 3rd powerup, which is a sort of homing fireball, but it's kind of slow and has terrible range. Also sometimes instead of the lucky cats that appear from chests, you get feces, which downgrades your attack.

The gameplay here is a definite improvement over the first one. Same basic concept, with open ended towns, you have to find 3 passes and the exit.. but you can tell a lot more effort went into this one. The levels feel so much more varied and unique, not bland and samey like the previous game. There aren't as many hidden passages and 3D mazes, and there are more linear platformer-focused sections. And this game actually has boss battles, which the first one oddly lacked...

This game also introduces the wacky humor that the series is known for. A lot of houses have pointless dialog like:
"I bought Twinbee 2, The Goonies 2, and Gradius 2."
"Welcome back, hero of the tuna fish! To get to the next level you need... Ah, I'm in the wrong game."
"I am mystery chinese man. I tell quality joke. Straw hats past their heyday! ...You no laugh."
"I tell joke. A pun is its own reword. ... Why no laugh?"
"I tell joke no more. I am sick of life."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu (NES) playthrough log

Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu screenshot Here's the first "true" Goemon game that started the gameplay formula that the series is known for. Although at this point it still hasn't found its wacky, comedic flavor yet (these early games still use the frowning, serious Goemon), the gameplay got its roots here.

The stages are open-ended towns, that you explore in 3/4 overhead view (like in Double Dragon, so you can move in 8 directions but still jump over stuff like a sidescroller).. You get money by jumping over chests and pots, and also sometimes get lucky cats that increase your attack power, and sandals that increase your speed. There are various shops that sell defensive equipment, health, etc.. some houses are enter-able but have no purpose except for a line of dialog. Also there are hidden passages that you can only find by jumping over a specific unmarked part of the ground (or if you buy the candle item which lets you see hidden passages for a while).

Also in every town, one of the enter-able shops contains an entrance to a 3D first-person maze section. There's nothing that can kill you in these sections, and the timer is frozen, so there's literally no possible way to die here.. I don't really get the point of it. But each town has one of them, and 1 of the 3 passes you need to get is always in this section, it's a completely weird and pointless detour from the rest of the gameplay... but that's kind of what this series is known for, a mish-mash of various different gameplay elements mixed in with adventure/rpg/platforming.

This first game is kind of flawed.. although it tries some new things, it does get repetitive very quickly. Once I got going, I got into the flow of completing every stage:
- find the shop containing the 3D maze, and complete it
- find the shop that sells a candle
- use the candle to find all the hidden passages until you have all 3 passes
- find the exit