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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64) high playthrough log part 1/3

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon screenshot Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon screenshot
This was actually one of the earliest 3D platformers I played, shortly after I finished with SM64 and before Banjo-Kazooie came out. So obviously I have a nostalgic soft spot for this game, and can easily overlook its early 3D era flaws... like for one thing, the camera control is awful, it likes to fight you all the time, and sometimes if you try to force the camera to move a certain way, it will just suddenly spaz out and circle around you constantly until you move somewhere else... I must've been used to these kind of flaws back then, but now that I've played so many other 3D games this flaw definitely sticks out now.

I can deal with the camera, though, because know mostly everything else about this game is amazing. For the most part I just try not to move the camera unless I have to, or just use the look around mode instead.

Here's the opening theme:

In the intro cutscene, a shopkeeper yells at a half-naked Ebisumaru for trying to seduce him into giving a discount. Then suddenly a giant flying peach shows up in the sky, these 2 mysterious characters talk about their ominous plan, and zap Edo Castle, and turn it into a European style castle. After that, the game starts, and the first thing you'll want to do is talk to every villager, because the NPC commentary in this game is hilarious.

- some woman: "Just now, Oedo Castle was hit by a mysterious beam, turning it into European Castle. If that beam hit me, would it turn me into a model EU citizen?"
- some old guy: "What? A UFO? What do you mean? I'm 85 years old you know!"
- some guy: "That huge peach that just came flying... What in the world was that?! Who in the world is going to eat such a huge peach!"
- some kid: "The officer's duty is to defend the peace of this town. By the way, I have no job!"

Some of the NPCs just have pointless flavor text like this, but a lot of them also have helpful hints that tell you how to progress through the game. I'm wondering if maybe the localized version of this made the NPC hints more helpful/less subtle than they used to be, in order to go easy on western players? I dunno, that's just speculation.

Also there's a girl who says: "What's the fuss? Everyone's in a tizzy over some Flying Peach... You won't be able to steal my heart using just a Flying Peach!"
Could this be a localization joke, like they're saying that they're not sure if this game with a weird giant flying peach in the intro will appeal to western gamers.. again that's just speculation though.

There's these 2 identical looking NPCs who live 2 houses away from each other, with an empty house between them, and if you talk to one of them and then the other, they'll continue each other's dialog, as if they are the same person. This must've really tripped me out when I played it for the first time...

The town coffee shop (teahouses are now coffee shops in the localization) has Goemon's girlfriend, Omitsu, who is actually an important character, but talking to her is completely optional.
"Will the aliens come to our coffee shop and try some of our dumplings?"

Also there's the fortune teller, "PUURASMAAAAAAAAAAAA", who is basically just another hint-giving NPC but talking to him costs 10 ryo. He doesn't give you any information that you can't already get from other NPCs.

Next is [Kai Highway], the path to Mt. Fuji. The enemies here are barely even a threat unless you stop to fight them. This area has a LOT of unused empty space, like you could spend 5-10 minutes exploring every inch of the area only to yield absolutely nothing. This expected of an early N64 game, though. I think Banjo-Kazooie was the first to remedy this by putting a lot of collectables all over its wide open areas so that exploration is actually rewarded more. This place does have a fortune doll though, but it's on the main path and clearly visible, and there's also another teahouse here with an NPC who gives you a map of Japan, and an NPC who mentions that Impact is now a dancer and a big movie star in the US (which I now recognize as being a continuation of Goemon 4's ending)

[Mt. Fuji] is where the actual platforming element of this game begins, and the enemies can actually get in your way now. The punishment for messing up a jump here gets more severe as you get further up the mountain.. Then you get the chain pipe from Mokubei, who is living on the top of Mt. Fuji for some reason. If you ask him why...
"I have come to the greatest mountain in Japan... so that I could train to become the greatest worker in Japan!"
*shrugs* Japanese Logic... He gives you the chain pipe, and with that you are able to make your way to the Transformed Edo Castle. This place has mostly easy platforming with very little punishment for messing up a jump, and enemies that are harder than what you dealt with on Mt. Fuji.. The boss here is a complete joke, all of his attacks can be avoided by walking in a circle around him, and then when he's vulnerable you can just safely stand there and hit him... You get an item called the [Miracle Moon] for beating this, and then you talk to the Lord of Edo and Princess Yuki. It turns out the bad guy was trying to turn Edo Castle into their stage by shooting it with an "Instant Stage Beam".. the lord gives you a pass and tells you to go fight the guys that did this.

After you beat the first dungeon, the first town has different music now for the rest of the game, instead of an arrangement of the intro theme. Everyone in Edo Town now has different things to say. Those two neighbors are now saying that someone new will be moving into the house in between them eventually, giving a vital hint that the middle empty house would become important later on in the game. Also the Lord and Yuki have moved into Goemon's house.
- old guy: "Are you out of your mind? I have never eaten a UFO before..."
- girl: "I'm not interested in Flying Peaches! I want something more funky and exciting!"

Next destination is [Musashi]. If you tried to pass through the town gate to get here earlier, the guards tell you that the door is "stuck", but now that you have the "Super Pass" from the lord, they can perform a magic spell on the gate to get it to open again? wtf...
- Gate keeper: "If only the title to this game was "Starring Gate keeper" rather than "Starring Goemon". Then, we'd have a lot more fun! Awww!"
"We'll just keep standing here until you clear the game...
...kinda painful...
...kinda depressing..."

The first Impact battle happens during the trip to the next town, when you find the bad guy from the first castle has destroyed the wise man's house. He gets mad at Goemon for calling him a weirdo, and decides to attack with his giant robot. This must've been really unexpected when I first played this. You're just walking down a long empty path, then suddenly a random giant robot battle out of nowhere...
- Impact: "I have to get going, we're filming a movie... First I have to get to America! If you need me again, call me!"

Then you meet the secret ninja agent Yae. She tells you that the bad guy who destroyed the wise man's house is part of a group called the "Peach Mountain Shoguns".
- Goemon: "Huh! I don't care if we're talking Peach Mountain or... Chestnut Mountain... or even a Pear Mountain
They'd better be ready 'cause I'm gonna kick their butts!"

Yae joins your team, and then you arrive at Zazen Town of [Yamashiro]. The villagers here are all talking about how kids with dancing talent have been kidnapped. They also tell you about Benkei, the bridge jerk who doesn't let anyone pass unless you give him something to add to his collection. This is where exploring the town and talking to people is actually necessary to make progress.

- guard: "I hear there are guys using Gigantic Robots to attack towns and villages. You're not those guys, are you?!"
oh, no, of course not officer... eheheheheh *runs away*

You can't pass Benkei until you explore the shallow creek surrounding the town, and complete a color-coded fish fetch quest for Ushikawa. He then gives you a log which you can throw at Benkei to get him to let you pass.

- some dog: "These are the upper reaches of Duck Creek, woof! If you go down the Creek, you'll reach Midstream, and then a little further is Downstream, woof! Which would mean that since I'm here, I must be up the Creek without a paddle!! Woof!"

lmao this localization is amazing

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