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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ganbare Goemon 3 (SNES) playthrough log

Ganbare Goemon 3 screenshotThis 3rd SNES game is the first to emulate the Zelda-style overworld exploration gameplay. The game consists of two different styles, an interconnected overworld in top-down view, with towns and a maze-like path structure, similar to LttP. And 2D sidescrolling/platforming stages, but even these parts are much more non-linear and puzzle focused rather than the pure linear action style of the previous 2 games. The sidescrolling sections are more like Zelda II or Shantae-style dungeons.

You can now switch between characters on the fly, with the select button. Goemon's pipe weapon as good range, Ebisumaru is the slowest but has a hoola hoop attack that damages everyone around him, so he's the most useful to play as when there's a lot of enemies around. Sasuke is the fastest but his attacks are very short range, and his bombs are useless for offense... and now Yae is playable for the first time in this game. She's almost as fast as Sasuke and her katana has better range, so she's usually the best one to play as when exploring. She has the bazooka as her secondary weapon, but it's not as good as Goemon's coins or Ebisumaru's shurikens.

Also this game introduces the special abilities for each character that were carried onto the N64 games. Goemon has his Sudden Impact, where his hair turns gold and has increased damage. Ebisumaru has mini-Ebi for getting into small areas. Yae can turn into a mermaid... Sasuke's ability is just an attack that shoots out in all directions, which isn't really that great.

Also, this is the first game where the cat/fortune dolls are used as health upgrades, rather than weapon upgrades. The fortune dolls are well hidden in the overworld and sidescrolling section, encouraging you to explore all the side areas.

This game is about time travelling, the majority of it takes place in a future version of Edo. Although for the first few parts of the game, you are still in the present time period and can't explore the overworld yet. You meet Kurobei, the ghost lady at the beginning (the same one from the first level of Legend of the Mystical Ninja), and she turns into a cat and tells you about what's going on. Then you go inside Impact, where an evil Sasuke is riding a giant robot frog and wreaking havoc. This is the most straightforward stage, but it still has some easy to miss fortune dolls. Also the area town has a sidequest where you can escort an NPC back to the town, and you get an item that starts a series of trading quests.

Next there's a festival, and Sasuke gets the firecracker bomb, which is the main gimmick of the 2nd sidescrolling stage. This 2nd stage is already pretty complex and easy to get lost in, with all the bombable walls/floors and tons of ways to go. It's not at all obvious which paths are for missable fortune dolls and which ones are for required keys/switches or the way forward...

Then there's a scene where Bismaru (Ebisumaru's evil descendant from the future) attacks the village, and an Impact boss battle starts. This is much easier than the Impact battles in the 2nd game, or maybe I'm just better at it now...

The 3rd stage is a water based stage, where you use Yae's mermaid power. You gradually lower the water level, and use platforms to get back up... it's easy to get lost here too, but I still didn't have much trouble beating it without a guide.

Then Impact somehow sends us to the future... This is where the game actually opens up to the main overworld. There's an overhead action section and boss, then the 4th sidescrolling stage, where ou get a permanent mech vehicle. and can now smash through certain obstacles that you couldn't before. The mech can be transported directly between various locations whenever you need it, or you can just bring it with you everywhere.

There's also an overworld map you can find in a library... LttP much? This overworld is kind of confusing to navigate though. Even with a map, finding your way around in this maze-like world is kind of difficult.

This 5th stage is really annoying.. you have to use Ebisumaru's hoola hoops to grab onto pegs, but the hit detection on the pegs is kind of wonky. and also this stage requires a ton of backtracking and going in and out of your mech suit.

The mech suit learns various powerups like a flamethrower and ice blast that are basically used as keys to open up certain paths in dungeons. Including a Metroid-like section where you have to freeze enemies to use them as platforms.

One of the last areas is a snowy mountain town with a hot spring.. This place reminds me a lot of LttP's Death Mountain. There's even a fortune doll found by dropping down a specific sequence of cliffs. After that, you get Goemon's chain pipe, which is now an alternate weapon that acts like the hookshot.

This is the point in the game where, I pretty much have to follow a guide to the letter. You need to go around to all the different towns, and talk to a specific NPC to trade some item for another item. I have no idea how you're supposed to know which NPC needs which item or whatever. Even if I knew Japanese this seems like it'd still be ridiculously vague.

During this long trading quest, I also re-explored the whole overworld and got all the fortune dolls I was missing... I have to reiterate that this overworld is hella confusing. It really feels similar to how much I got lost playing Zelda 1, LttP, and LA for the first time. At least by the time I got all the fortune dolls I had gained enough familiarity with this world to know my way around it.

Finally, the trading quest ends with giving a cucumber to a kappa, who gives you the last 3 metal panels you need to enter the bad guys hideout. This starts a boss battle against the Wise Man who's being controlled by some monster. Then they return to the present time, and the leader of the bad guys, Jurokubei, has kidnapped Omitsu, and he tricks Goemon into giving him the Conch Shell to rescue her, but this Omitsu turns out to be Bismaru wearing a mask.

So then Impact comes and picks us up, and Jurokubei uses the conch shell to summon an evil twin of Impact, and the final Impact battle starts... I was caught off guard here, as I was expecting it to be easy like all the other Impact battles in the game. This was actually pretty hard. It took a few tries before I learned to predict all of the boss's attacks and guard against them.

The ending is weird I have no idea what's even going on there. There's one last boss battle that's just stupidly easy, and then you rescue the real Omitsu, who seems to have fallen in love with Bismaru or something...

I really wish this game was translated. I enjoyed it anyway but I had to follow a guide for most of it because I had no idea what I was doing. At least the sidescrolling stages weren't very text-heavy so I could go through those without a guide easily.

Later, I found an english subtitled version of all the cutscenes in this game on youtube. It's really hilarious!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw-pmQlZkCQ

Screenshots:

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