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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

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

After beating the 2nd level, the kidnapped kids return to Folkypolk Village and Zazen Town, and everyone in these towns has something different to say, but none of it's really all that interesting or funny, just weird...
That dog at Zazen Town creek though
"Do you want to know who I really am, arf?
In fact, I come from a Dog Star far, far away! I am none other than that famous dog movie star... Quick, follow me, there is a kid stuck down a well...
Just kidding, arf!"

One of the kids who returned to Zazen Town tells me that the door to Chikogu Region has been stuck all this time because of a magical door-stopper that he put there. But now the door-stopper is out of batteries, so the door can open.. wtf is with these weird locked door explanations

The first area of Chigoku Region is [Bizen / Kurashiki] This place still looks just like a town, with buildings and walls everywhere, but none of the buildings are enterable, and instead enemies roam the area... Isn't it weird how most of this game's environments are all surrounded by walls? Like, is this what feudal era Japan was really like, with every town and road being walled in, making it feel like you're in a building with no ceiling?

The music in this place is also one of my favorites. it's so upbeat and catchy..

This Chigoku Region area is full of split paths that all loop around to each other. [Bizen] has a door that leads to [Hagi Highway] which is another walled off area with buildings, and a door leading to [Izumo], which is a big field area with a giant hill and shrine at the top of it. There's also a teahouse here, where people give you hints about where to find Sasuke's batteries. The first battery is in [Inaba], which is a confusing sand dune area with some pretty tough enemies that you can mostly ignore. I remember having a lot of trouble finding the batteries when I first played this.. I must not have talked to the NPCs enough, and didn't realize that the minimap in this area clearly shows where the oasis is... The 2nd battery is in Izumo Shrine ontop of the giant hill. For some reason you gotta take a picture of the big tree in the shrine before the battery will appear..

I really like the music in this tree area. very relaxing...

Sasuke can't remember what knocked his batteries out, and says he needs the wise man to repair his memory.. then learns that the wise man's house was destroyed, and this causes him to join our party to get revenge on the Peach Mountain guys.

Another area in the Chigoku Region is [Aki] Nagato... it's a huge area with a giant bridge over a section of water. There's fortune dolls in the two corners of this area, but the rest of this place is almost completely empty.. again this game has a lot of unused empty space that I assume is just there for aesthetic purposes.

That leaves just the furthest part of Chigoku Region, [Akiyoshidai].. This place is a bumpy field area, similar to the sand dune except green instead of brown. There's a door leading to the Kyushu bridge which is closed off by a gate with the Peach Mountain symbol on it, and there's a cave that you need Sasuke's bombs to get into, this leads to the 3rd level, the Festival Temple Castle.

The music in this level is really cool.

So is this castle entirely underground or what? That seems to be the case. The map system in this castle is really weird too. Instead of having floors like all the other levels, this one is split into N/S/E/W areas, it hardly makes any sense and doesn't help at all with figuring out where to go. Also I forgot to mention that you don't have a minimap or even a thing on the map showing your relative location in the current room... This is definitely where the game starts getting more complex and confusing to navigate.

The platforming here can be pretty stressful. Although this level doesn't have "floors", most of the rooms themselves are multi-floored rooms, and sometimes falling off an upper section of a room forces you to go back through several rooms to get back to the upper section of where you were. Also this level is the first place to have enemies that take more than one hit to kill, and later on it has these annoying floating cat head enemies that breath fire, and you can't kill them, you can only freeze them with Sasuke's ice kunai attack (if you can manage to even land a hit, it doesn't auto-aim like the chain pipe does). This level also has Ebisumaru's "Meat Saw Hammer", an optional weapon that's the same as the normal hammer, except it makes all enemy drops into food.

The last room in this level is really weird/cool. There's these giant fish platforms that spin around a pole in the center, and riding them takes you up to higher ledges. Falling off just lands you in the water at the bottom so you have to start the room over, but nothing can really kill you hear. Normally I'd expect to have camera issues in a room like this, but surprisingly the default camera works fine here and doesn't need to be changed... then there's the boss of this level, a ghost that throws plates at you, and the plates that glow red can be hit back at him. Again this boss has the same strategy of running in circles around him and attacking when you can.. but his last phase can actually do some damage to you even if you're constantly running.

After beating this boss, the bad guy here explains that this somehow removes the barrier they had set up at Kyushu bridge. Then the other main villain shows up in a hologram and introduces herself.

"Who are you calling a weirdo?! I don't blame you for calling Dancin' a weirdo, but me?! I guess you need to get to know me better."
Goemon: "No... err... not really..." (laughtrack)
"As cute as a kitty cat... la, la...
Yet as dignified and beautiful as a lily... la, la...
Yes, I am none other than...
Kitty Lily!
You guys must be the circus clowns Dancin' was talking about!"
Sasuke: "You've got that wrong! We're no clowns!" (laughtrack)
Goemon: "You guys are illusions but are never actually here... Stop being so chicken and come out!"
Lily: "Oh my! I'm surprised you don't know... A big star like me...
will be swamped with fans, making things unsafe, la, la..."
Goemon: "I've never heard of you!" (laughtrack)

Then we head to Kyushu bridge, and find Omitsu there on her way to deliver dumplings to Kyushu..
Ebisumaru: "We went through all that trouble to get this far... Did Omitsu come all this way with those dumplings?" (laughtrack)

Then suddenly, as Omitsu arrives on the island, the island floats up into the air and gets sucked into a black hole.

Plasma tells us that there's a woman at Mt. Fear in the north region who can help us figure out what to do... Back at Edo Town, now most villagers here have something different to say again. The people in the coffee shop are all sad that Omitsu has gone away... and the empty house that was alluded to in the beginning now has been turned into a training gym.

- some old guy: "I've been thinking for some time... The lantern at the Thunder Gate is way too big. It's impossible to pass under it!"
Am I the only one who originally though this was a hint that you were supposed to use mini-Ebisu to get under that gate? I found it really weird that the Thunder Gate turned out to be a red herring for the whole game.

- if you talk to the lord of Edo again: "I hear Kyushu's also having some problems. I'm glad I'm not the Lord of Kyushu..."
- Yuki: "I heard about Kyushu... If other areas of Japan start flying around, there won't be any Japan left."

Most of the villagers are being as unsubtle as possible about the metal chest in [Musashi] that needs extra muscles to be moved... The training gym has a minigame where you throw boxes at giant rising balloon heads (called [Oyakata], whatever that is) to keep them from getting too big. This gets you Goemon's Sudden Impact ability, which doubles both your strength and the damage you take.

The path behind the metal chest leads to a series of caves with moving platforms.. then you get to the snowy region [Mutsu]. There's another cave that leads to the [Waterfall of Kegon] where Yae can learn the mermaid ability after an easy minigame where you just have to swim up a waterfall.. and then a you get to a snowy a town called Festival Village that has the most relaxing music ever.

One thing that's always bothered me about this town... you know the first section with the stairs, where there's an old guy walking around.. there's an invisible bump in the ground in this area. Like it's a really obvious glitch that seems impossible to miss if you walk anywhere near that part.

There's an underwater tunnel in this town leading to a hidden store that sells 1ups and gold armor/helmets and a fortune doll... Also even if you don't go to the waterfall right away to get the mermaid ability, the woman near this water area tells you about it. Other villagers are talking about the witch who lives on Mt. Fear and can call spirits.. and that she called an alien spirit the other day which caused a huge problem. Wait... did this witch's spirit channeling cause the Peach Mountain guys to come to Japan? Is that what they're implying?

Mt. Fear has the ghost enemies from Ghost Toys Castle, which is a nice touch. I like how the ghosts don't hurt you at all if you don't use your camera, so it's like they're just there to give Mt. Fear a spooky atmosphere.. There's a giant rock in the way that can only be destroyed by powered up weapons, and if you go back to Mokubei on Mt. Fuji now he'll give you the level 2 weapons for every character.. the witch on Mt. Fear channels wise man, who says that Kyushu is now floating in outer space, and in order to get there, we need to gather the 4 Miracle Items and take them to the Stone Circle at [Ugo].

Goemon: "But Wise Man! How do you know?!"
Wise Man: "Ahem! That's because I'm...

So that leaves us with one miracle item to find... again you don't need Plasma here if you're playing for the first time. Some people in town are talking about how food is being stolen.. and there's a dog that says "As of late I've noticed this nice scent coming from the Ocean, arf."

Past Mt. Fear is the [Mutsu] Shoreline, and past that is the Stone Circle of [Ugo] that the wise man talked about. Exploring the ocean here leads to a fortune doll and also submarine that is actually the 4th level, Gourmet Submarine Castle. (Is everything in this game a castle?).. and I'm pretty sure if you tried to come here before channelling the wise man, the submarine entrance won't be open yet, so that cutscene isn't optional.

This level also has one of my favorite music tracks:

This level is almost as confusing as the 3rd level, except it doesn't have N/W/E/S shenanigans and instead goes back to normal floors. There are some linear swimming sections where you just have to avoid enemies (or tank all the hits if you bought the armor from that secret shop). It has some fairly tricky platforming with food-based platforms, and failing a jump usually costs a lot of health. There's some really cool settings in this level, like a weird room that just has a countertop with some giant bowls of noodles and nothing else in it.. There's an alternate path that leads to a giant plate of pudding surrounded by health pickups.. And the enemies here are pretty fierce. The doll enemies from the beginning of the game are now upgraded with explosive weapons, and there's these lobster bowl enemies that act like swordsmen.

At the end of the level, the bad guy explains that he dropped his Miracle Item when he was in Zazen Town, then he activates the self-destruct, and the 2nd Impact battle starts. This submarine level disappears after you complete it, but the game designers were nice enough to not put any fortune dolls in this level, but just health and 1ups instead. Although I think it IS possible to miss Yae's bazooka upgrade in this level.

I remember this Impact battle was pretty hard the first time I got here, but then after learning about the combo moves, including the mouth laser (up left down right Z), this boss became trivial.
Impact: "Well, I've got a movie to complete... so I must head back to France! If you need me again, Au Revoir!"

Plasma tells you to talk to the "collector" in Zazen town to find the Miracle Item, which should clue you in that you have to talk to Benkei, but it's the only part of the game where it's not super obvious about what you need to do next. Benkei tells you that he doesn't have it, but there's a collector who lives in the center pond of Zazen town with an even greater collection than his. At this indoor pond, which previously had nothing in it other than a fortune doll, you meet the kappa Kihachi. He refuses to give you the Miracle Item unless you can get him his favorite food, cucumber.

Kihachi: "Try carving the word "WORLD" in that piece of rock... And tell me out loud what you have..."
Ebisumaru: "Hey, that's pretty tough, it's no easy task to carve "WORLD" on here!"
Goemon: "It's a tough world!" (laughtrack)
what a weird joke...

All the villagers in Zazen town are talking about Kihachi's favorite food now, and giving you hints about where to find it. although some aren't very helpful.

- woman: "Kihachi's not my type! Oh, you're not asking if I like Kihachi? You're asking me what Kihachi likes? Um, ah, wait! I had no idea you were...
...uh, anyway,
I've got no idea!"
- the creek dog: "Kihachi would often come to this Creek and... force me to eat some cucumbers..."
- if you ask this kid who Kihachi is: "Well, it's a bit complicated... He was saying something about popping up at the end of the game and running off with the best part!"

These hints lead to a platforming minigame with Sasuke to learn the high jump ability. This game isn't really as hard as I remembered it being. I guess I've just gotten better at platformers since then.. anyway this finally lets you access that "Big Sacred Fire" area that has probably taunted anyone who played this for their whole first playthrough. The guy there sells you a cucumber for 800 ryo, and then you FINALLY get the [Miracle Snow]

Also there's a hidden bonus thing at this point that you can get, that I either never knew about or completely forgot existed. If you talk to the old woman in one of the rooms in Zazen Town, she'll give you full gold armor, gold helmet, and fish rice ball in preparation for the last level. That's pretty nice, since you'll likely be broke after buying that cucumber.

I did a quick run through all the previous areas where there were fortune dolls that I couldn't get before... I'm surprised that I actually remembered where all of them were, and didn't need to look in a guide for any of them.

Now we take the 4 miracle items to the stone circle... it never really explains how this works or why it's even necessary. Can't they just get Impact to give them a ride into outer space like they did in Goemon 4? Anyway, I actually recognize the rock in the center of that stone circle now. That's PemoPemo, the alien from Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2 who joins your party for a while. He tells you that you won't be able to return from this point on, and then teleports you to the Kyushu, which is the start of the final level, Gorgeous Musical Castle.

Again, some of the best music in the game right here..

This level is more straightforward than the last 2, and it has the trickiest platforming challenges in the whole game. Sasuke's high jump does help out a lot though (in fact sometimes high jumps are required now).

Then we get to Sogen Town.. which is actually still part of the dungeon. It's just one big room with a maze of hedges, some annoying enemies that throw roses at you, and some shops and restaurants that have NPCs in them. Everyone here are fans of Dancin and Lily. You also meet Omitsu and Wise Man here.

Wise Man reveals that he gave the Peach Mountain guys giant robots and an Instant Stage Beam in exchange for a muscle car poster and five car magazines...
"Oh, ah, I mean I strongly resisted but they forced me to make them." (laughtrack)
Goemon: "But that's strange. If they kidnapped you, what reason did they have to blow up your home?"
Wise Man: "What did you just say?! My house has been blown up?!
Grrrr! All those car magazines I collected over the years!"

he then upgrades our weapons to level 3 and tells us to go get revenge for his "car magazines"... uh okay, the dude really likes his cars I guess?

At the end of the level, Dancin and Lily show up for real this time, and say that they'll make us into their die hard fans, and then put on a musical show. This makes Dancin and Lily by far the best villains in the series.

Then the 2-part Impact battle... (again, if Impact could've gotten here this whole time, why did we need those miracle items?)
I don't have much trouble with this battle anymore, but I used to die on it a lot. The giant peach usually took all of my ryo and then I'd get hit while trying to punch for more ryo.. and the 2nd form with Dancin and Lily's combined robot had some pretty crazy moves that were hard to block. By now I've played this so much that it just feels like 2nd nature to me.

The ending is great. Everyone's pissed that we got rid of Dancin and Lily, and treating us like the bad guys. It's the perfect ending to such a weird game.

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