Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mystical Ninja starring Goemon





Konami has been around for 40 years. That’s quite a commitment to stay in business for that long. From a jukebox repair/rental company to making video games, they have made some quite popular franchises. Castlevania, Metal Gear, Gradius, and Silent Hill are some of the great franchises they have. There is one franchise I always have always enjoyed, but have always wondered what has happened to it. This franchise is called Mystical Ninja, and the game I will be talking about today is the wonderful Nintendo 64 game, Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon. Before I start this review, I want to thank my mother for getting me this game for an Easter gift.

The setting of this story sets us up with the blue spiky-haired hero, Goemon, with his best friend Ebisimaru. They are shopping on a beautiful day in Oedo Town. A few minutes later, they feel the earth shake as a giant peach-shaped spaceship appears out of the sky and go towards Oedo Castle, shooting a laser at it, turning it into a huge theatre stage-like castle, in the style of an European castle. They turn out to be the Peach Mountain Shoguns who want to turn the whole world into a huge theatre stag, and it is up to Goemon and his friends to save Japan from this evil, yet odd group of villains. The first thing you would realize is that there is a high tech space ship in old time Oedo Japan. I kind of question the timeline in which this game takes place, but who cares, right?

The game play is in the form of an action adventure plat-forming game. It’s kind of like one of Konami’s answer to Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series. You can play as four different characters in the series. The first character is, of course, Goemon who uses a Japanese Pipe as a weapon, Ebisimaru who can shrink and wields a mallet, Sasuke who is a robot ninja with freezing kunai and bombs, and finally the only female character, Yae who can use a katana and can transform into a mermaid. During the game, you basically go from place to place helping people out and stopping robot-like bosses through most of the game. In only three times in the game, you can pilot Goemon’s giant robot, Impact, and fight in a rail-shooting-like boss fight where you can use punches and such to fight the boss. It’s hard to explain, but once you play it, it’s really fun. You also collect those little cat statues to gain heart pieces, and you can gain secondary weapons, and upgrade your default weapons.

The graphics are just awesome. They are detailed, and have shading and light detail, and that is pretty hard for most Nintendo 64 games. The only other games that push the limit of the console is Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Banjo Kazooie, and Conker’s Bad Furday. The music is also very impressive. The Mystical Ninja series always has a great soundtrack to come with it. The best thing about one of the songs is that it is sung by Ichiro Mizuki who is famous for doing most of the giant robot anime series, like Getter Robo. The humor in the game is quite hilarious. It ranges from stupid humor to the game making jokes of itself. What I mean by that is that the game knows it is a game. Everyone in the villages always has something different to say and it’s just fun to listen to what they have to say.

I love this game and there is nothing but great things to say about it, though there are some things with it that didn’t age well. The boss fights with the giant robot are very scarce. There are only three times you fight with Impact, and I just think that’s wrong. There should have been more giant robot boss battles. Though the small robot boss fights are just as fun, so there isn’t much to complain about. From a graphics standpoint, you can kind of tell the game hasn’t aged well. The enemy roster could have been increased, since you only fight a certain number of enemies. The camera can be a little awkward since you can control it to a point, but when you stop and the camera is in front of you, it just revolves around you until it’s behind you, and it’s just awkward sometimes when it doesn’t spin all the way around.

Like I said above, I just love this game, and I love the franchise. I just wish there were more games being made from this series, and coming over here in the states. The only Mystical Ninja games that have made it over here are a Super Nintendo game, two Nintendo 64 games, and one Gameboy game. I highly recommend you pick this game up. Make sure it’s the right price though. I saw a copy at my local game store for about 15 bucks. So yeah go get it already!

This game gets an 8 out of 10

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