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

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.

The 4th level you need the god of fire's power to get rid of the demons in this town before you can move on. There's a pretty tough section where you have to cross a flaming sand dune, with very narrow paths between the flames that kill you in one hit. This is the first major difficulty spike in the game, but it's not really that hard once you realize you can stop your midair momentum by pushing the dpad in the opposite direction. Also it's not exactly clear when you can transition vertically to another screen, since the graphics aren't very good.

The 5th level.. Goemon finds out Osaki is being held by Benkei in his castle. This is the first non-linear maze-like part of the game, it isn't too hard though. The boss at the end is really hard if you don't have powerups though. I actually got game over here because I only had my pipe. You can only damage Benkei by attacking his head, and he constantly charges toward you whenever you try to get close. He's much easier if you get to him with the projectile weapon. Goemon rescues Osaki, and finds out Ebisumaru has now been taken to Edo... Also the bridge to this town is out, and you have to make a detour to talk to an old man at a temple to get the god of water's amulet, so you can walk across the water.

The 6th level is the next major difficulty spike. At first it's just a straight path through a snowy town area, where you have to shoot a snowman to make stairs appear.. Then there's a huge palace with more tricky platforming than any other Goemon game yet. Not only are there spiky floors, conveyor belts and enemies everywhere, but it's also very non-linear with a ton of different paths and only one correct way to go. This is where the game actually gets really good. This is the kind of challenge I enjoy a lot, and the NES games lacked. Also the boss of this level was really tough, until I figured out a pattern where I could take advantage of the conveyor belts to get a quick hit in and then avoid damage.

The 7th level, you have to go to the "Dragon Temple" which is really just a maze of doors with no platforming challenge at all.. and then you fight a red demon and then a blue demon, and the dragon king gives you the Thunder orb and Gale orb before passing away. Then there's another boss enemy you tries to take the orbs from you before ending the level. This boss might've been hard except he goes down in very few hits.

The 8th level... This is where the game stops fucking around... Right at the beginning, a random NPC gives Goemon dumplings to eat. Then a bit further in, Goemon collapses. Some girl named Miko takes him in and tries to go get an antidote for the poison he ate. So now you're playing as Miko for this level. You have all the same abilities as Goemon... There's a racing minigame here where you have to jump across platforms. You don't die if you fail it, it just costs 100 ryo, it's kind of hard to beat, but consider it to be necessary training for what this level has you go through...

To get the antidote for Goemon, you have to go through this huge water-filled platforming section, jumping across a bunch of very tiny platforms. Most of the platforms are 1 tile wide, and some of them appear/disappear for a short time.. there are fish jumping out of the water and enemies shooting projectiles at you, and sometimes you even have to jump diagonally or edge as close as you can to the side and jump straight to make it to the next platform... You have to pretty much master the game's jumping mechanics by now or else you can't beat this level. Even the conveyor belt part from level 6 wasn't as challenging as this. That level at least just had spike floors. This level has instant death if you miss a single jump. There are some parts where you actually have to jump diagonally, and some platforms that disappear/reappear.

I also have to mention that this whole platforming section is huge, at least in the context of this game... it kept going on and on. After a while I thought I was wandering around in circles... Finally I came to a sign that said "This is a dead end."... I'm like WHAT

It turns out, you need to find the 4 hidden pearls scattered around this platforming section and then come back to this dead end, where the ocean serpent will give you the antidote in exchange for the 4 pearls. The pearls are hidden the same way as the staircases, they only appear by jumping in a specific unmarked location. I only had 1 pearl my first time making it here, so I had to backtrack, jump on every tile until I found the other 3, then make it back there to get the antidote... and then after all that, I still had to make it all the way back out alive. This was fucking ridiculously frightening as I was on my last life and was worried about making the tiniest mistake... but I managed to get through it on my first try.

The 9th (final) level.. Goemon gets back to his hometown of Edo, where the gang who kidnapped Ebisumaru has taken over. Goemon's girlfriend, Omitsu, makes her first appearance here, as an NPC in one of the houses. This level is mostly story-focused. A fake Ebisumaru leads you onto a bridge that collapses, and then you have to jump up a wall of platforms to get up to the palace courtyard. It turns out this fake Ebisumaru is the one who got kidnapped by the good guy from the beginning, and these bad guys were the ones who kidnapped the real Ebisumaru.. After you beat him, it's just a matter of wandering around the place until you find where the final boss is hiding.

The first final boss is the gang of three, I just wailed on them with ryo and they barely even got to attack. Then you fight the real final boss, the store owner. This is actually a pretty challenging final boss fight. You can't damage him normally. Instead you have to hit his attacks back at him. The boss's hitbox is tiny though, I kept hitting it back and seeing it go right through his head... almost had to use up my rice ball before beating him. After you beat him, you get the key to where Ebisumaru is locked up, and then you just have to wander the courtyard again some more until you find where the locked door is and rescue Ebisumaru to end the game.

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