Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
Game title:
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
Nintendo 64
Action, Adventure
Etsunobu Ebisu, Shigeharu Umezaki, Keita Kawaminami
Shigeru Araki, Yusuke Kato, Saiko Miki, ...
Game manual:
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Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon is a platform action-adventure video game released by Konami for the Nintendo 64 on August 7, 1997 in Japan and April 16, 1998 in North America as the fifth entry in the Ganbare Goemon series. The second Goemon game released in North America, it follows The Legend of the Mystical Ninja and features hybrid elements of platform games and action-adventure games. The story follows Goemon's struggles to prevent the Peach Mountain Shoguns gang from turning Japan into a Westernized fine arts theater. The plot calls for three cinematic musical features and battles between giant robots; like other Ganbare Goemon games, it is peppered with surrealist humor and anachronisms.

Players navigate Goemon through forests, fields, dungeons, and other three-dimensional models of feudal Japanese places. Goemon and his friends can walk or run, jump, attack, and use special abilities to cross terrain, pick up money, and defeat adversaries. Players control only one of four characters at a time but can cycle through them with the press of a button. Hearts at the bottom of the screen show a character's health. If hit by an enemy and damage is taken, a character loses a heart. Some items and acts replenish strength, and a Maneki-neko (Luck Cat) adds a heart to the overall health. If all hearts are lost, the player restarts at the entrance to the field map they died in and the player's number of lives declines by one. If the player loses all lives, the game restarts at the last point saved or at the beginning of the game if a Controller Pak is not used.

Traveling through Japan, players visit towns and coffeehouses safe from enemies, where they can eat in restaurants or sleep in inns to refill strength and buy armor or riceballs—a self-acting item that refills health by itself. Many interactive non-player characters populate cities and talk with other characters to uncover plot devices or idle gossip. Players save their progress in towns with a Controller Pak at the inns or at the entrance to some dungeons. Some places are impassable barring the use of special abilities unlocked by completing minigames. For example, Ebisumaru must hide in a giant's cupboard to learn self-shrinking magic, an art that allows passing through small holes. The player has two wayfaring tools: a status screen shows found items, weapons, and player characters and a map screen shows where they are in Japan. In dungeons, the map screen shows the building's floorplan if they have the item Mr. Elly Fant. At the end of each dungeon is a boss, a more difficult than normal enemy with hearts of its own.

Beating a boss can trigger a cutscene, after which Goemon appears outside the dungeon or helms his giant robot friend Impact to thwart an enemy robot (although not mentioned in the manual, these segments of gameplay support the Rumble Pak accessory). These sequences begin with a music video and a high-speed minigame in which Impact must smash structures and avoid hazards while racing across the countryside. The points gained by destroying buildings determine how many health points (measured in oil) Impact will have in the coming battle. Players control Impact from a cockpit behind his eyes where gauges show enemy and player health and ammunition. Impact can punch, kick, defend, reel in opponents with the chain pipe, and use projectile weaponry, including nasal bullets and a laser. Once a boss is defeated, a cutscene of the enemy exploding shows, and the game returns to normal exploration-based play. At the very end is the last boss whose defeat unlocks the ending. Collecting all the fortune cats and beating the game enables an Impact tournament mode with a special image of the robots as the prize for winning.

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