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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bouken Jidai Katsugeki: Goemon (PS2) playthrough log

Bouken Jidai Katsugeki: Goemon screenshot Ugh... this game is so boring. I could hardly get through it. I think it took like close to 10 hours to beat, and that's with ignoring all of the untranslated story.

This is the 3rd (and last) fully 3D Goemon game. Goemon is a teenager in this, and he doesn't yet have his trademark pipe weapon, instead he has various swords and magic spells that can be equipped.. The combat system is kinda like a worse version of Zelda OoT's combat, with lockon targetting and simple sword swing attacks, but there's no way to block or dodge. There's a leveling up system where you can choose which stats you want to focus on.. The platforming in this game is very awkward, ranging from easy to annoying.. Goemon has a double jump and can grab onto ledges, but the mechanics are very unpolished, sometimes it's very picky about when you can grab onto something.

It's basically a hacknslash action RPG with really poorly designed platforming and puzzle elements. At least graphics are nice, it kinda reminds me of Wind Waker with more of a Japanese look to it. The best thing about this game is the towns, they really nailed the whole fuedal Japan atmosphere here.. it's really too bad the game is untranslated, I think I really would have enjoyed exploring the towns and taking in the story. The game feels really barebones and empty without knowing what's going on.

The field areas in this game are just generic landscapes with enemies littered all over them. Some places have a teahouse where you can heal.. The overworld seems much bigger and more maze-like than Mystical Ninja 64's world, but it's not nearly as interesting. The enemies infinitely respawn, and get easier as you kill them because of the experience/leveling system.. This first area has easy watermelon enemies, so you can just sit there and smash watermelons to level up like crazy... Later fields have tougher enemies, like rocket launcher-wielding ninjas and stuff.. and some fields have platforming sections with a lower area underneath.. bottomless pits are almost non-existent in this game, instead the punishment for falling is losing a bit of health and possibly doing some backtracking. Also there's a walljump ability, it's kind of tricky to pull off, and there's a lot of parts that require this ability, especially in dungeons.

Field areas have a minimap, which is good because the areas get so huge and have so many different ways to go, it'd be insane with out... Dungeons, however, don't have any map system at all... And the dungeons in this game are not at all linear, they're very maze-like, so a lot of times I'm just wandering around not sure if I'm supposed to be looking for a way to go or if there's a puzzle I need to solve first.

The first dungeon is mainly just a bunch of corridors wind-pased puzzles and some bits of platforming. There's actually a wall jump mechanic in the game that you have to start using here, it's kind of annoying to pull off. Then there's a generic boss battle against some armored knight with a sword and shield.. his attacks are very easy to dodge and you just have to keep hitting his head over and over.

The 2nd dungeon is an ice cave. This place has a lot of swimming sections with really bad camera issues, and it's kind of hard to figure out where to go despite it being mostly linear... The whole dungeon pretty much just involves exploring and finding the switches needed to raise the water level or open the way forward. This boss is a giant rock face laying on its side.. the pattern to beating him involves hitting 4 switches to freeze the water, so then you can get up to its face and start hitting it. Meanwhile he drops random stalactites and shoots unavoidable projectiles at you. This was only easy because of the tons of healing items I had stocked up by now.

The 3rd dungeon is more of a maze than the previous ones. It's a generic stony dungeon with boring textures.. There's also warp pads that activate when you get to them. There's a part where Goemon gets chased down a hallway by a giant bull. This place actually has pits you can fall in that send you back to the beginning of the dungeon. Some block pushing puzzles, more samey rooms... Then there's a giant chessboard section with chess pieces hopping around, and a puzzle where you have to make the knight piece move to a certain spot to open the way forward... and then there's some puzzles where you have to step on all the right dice block platforms so that every 2 numbers you step on always you always add up to 7. Finally, at the end of that dungeon Goemon meets a turtle with a really bug mustache and a tree growing out of its back. Goemon tries to talk to him, but he gets mad and attacks.. All this boss does is is spin in circles and breath some toxic fumes at you.. after you beat him, he becomes friendly and turns out to be the spirit of that area.

The 4th dungeon is a ninja castle. it has more platforming than the rest of the game so far, with black pits that do damage if you fall in them, and these wallmaster-esque shadow hand enemies that try and grab you.. There's a few rooms with a giant lobster miniboss, he sends out shockwaves that seem impossible to dodge, and gives you bombs that you have to pick up and throw into his face... again this dungeon goes on way too long, with a seemingly endless maze of rooms and hidden doors.. this castle is seriously like 10x as big on the inside as it looks on the outside. The boss is a 6-armed samurai with a mace, and instead of fighting him, he chases you through a bunch of hallways and across the roof of the castle, with various obstacles in the way, all while the building is on fire. After you get to the top of the roof, the boss just flees, and the path to the next deity animal opens up.

There's a giant kappa boss in between the 4th and 5th dungeon. He's really easy, beating him just involves swimming down to the bottom and grabbing a sleep berry, and then letting the kappa eat you and make it fall asleep, then attack it. Then there's a canyon area which eventually leads to a town on the side of a volcanic mountain. The 5th dungeon is inside that volcano. This dungeon has various friendly creatures that help you get across bone platforms and lava streams... The platforming here gets really tricky/annoying in a few places.. again it's just really long and samey... Eventually you get to a big room with a spiral ramp going down it.. at the bottom is this dungeon's boss, a shogun who shoots energy balls at you, and it's basically a Ganon fight where you have to hit his attacks back at him a number of times.

The final dungeon is this huge militaristic-looking space fortress. The platforming here is ridiculous. platforming over a floor of lasers.. platforms that sometimes turn hot and damage you..annoying backtracking if you miss a jump... and like all dungeons in this game it repeats itself and goes on way too long. A few times I wasn't even sure if I was doing the right thing, because the jumps are just barely possible and it makes me think I'm sequence breaking or something.. but no it's actually intended that way.. It's not like, the fun kind of hard. It's hard because the mechanics aren't good enough for the kind of precision it requires of you.. There's 2 final boss battles here that are both ridiculously hard even with a ton of healing items stocked up and taking advantage of spells.

I guess I'll try to sum up what I was able to gleen from the story... This game has a LOT of cutscenes though, it feels like many hours of the game involved just talking to people and moving the plot forward.


As usual, it starts out in Edo Town.. It's a really huge town this time, and you can get an overhead view of the town from up on a big hill... Goemon still lives with his parents in this, and the Wise Man is also here.. you have to talk to the parents and a few other characters before a white cat will appear laying on the road. It says its hungry, and when you buy some fish for it, then it starts following you around. This cat is named Kotora, and he follows Goemon around for the entire game. Later, Goemon's dad is in front of Edo Castle, and he gives you the trademark red clothes that Goemon wears for the rest of the series... It seems like each of the dungeons have one of these animal deity spirits that you have to save..

The first dungeon's spirit is a giant white tiger, who is also the father of Kotora, and Kotora seems to be central to this plot somehow. The enemies are an army of samurai/shogun-looking people and they are trying to control or kill these spirits or whatever. The 2nd dungeon's spirit is an "Earth Dragon", as in he is literally made of earth, and the island of Japan is his body. You meet him by diving underwater and seeing a giant eyeball pop out of the ground. The 3rd dungeon's spirit is the tree turtle thing that was also the boss of that dungeon. The 4th spirit is a giant warthog. The 5th dungeon didn't have an animal spirit at the end, but just more plot devices and stuff..

Yae, Ebisumaru, and Sasuke all make appearances throughout this game, but you can only play as Goemon. Yae has a gang of ninjas working for her, and they think Goemon is a bad guy at first and put him in jail.. there's a breakout/stealth sequence similar to in Wind Waker. Later Yae helps you out at various other cutscenes throughout the game.. Sasuke is just kind of there in a few cutscenes, and he helps you find the Wise Man's space ship to get to the enemy's base.. You first meet Ebisumaru in a restaurant, and he helps you progress to the next dungeon in exchange for giving him ALL of your money. At the last part of the game, Yae, Sasuke, and Goemon are now working together for the first time and figuring out where to go next, and they help you get to the final dungeon. The characters that Goemon helped bust out of jail earlier, they also show up again near the end, and they give Goemon his first pipe weapon, which is the strongest weapon in the game so that you don't have to use swords anymore. The final boss reveals his true form after being defeated, and turns out to be a giant floating lion head... I guess he's the 5th of the animal deity spirits?

Yeah, that's about all I can care to remember from the story of this game. Obviously and I wasn't able to keep up with most of it so I'm probably missing like 99% of what went on here.

This game felt very... Final Fantasy-esque, like it felt more realistic and grander in scale than the more cartoony, less serious tone of the other Goemon games. It's not terrible, but the gameplay and dungeon design is just unpolished. The puzzles in this game aren't very fun either. I wouldn't recommend playing this unless you know Japanese in order to properly enjoy the story, because the gameplay by itself doesn't hold up.

Some of the music in this game that I really liked:
Opening sequence:
Edo town:
Boss battle theme:
Izumo town:

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