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Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

Blast From The Past | Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon

Chris Hyde
Blast From The Past, Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon, Retro
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

Blast From The Past | Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon

When I hark down memory lane to consider the next BFTP addition, there are a few things that run through my mind. There are a plethora of little titbits of games gone by that flood me with waves of nostalgia. These could be a particular section of a game that was unique, the characters or comedy within the game, or indeed the recalling of memories of when I was younger and playing said games – either alone or with friends and family. It is unusual for a game’s music to play so heavily on a fondness for a game, but for me that is one of the things that separates out Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon from other games. And with it celebrating 15 years since its EU release this week, it felt like the right time to highlight to the masses a game that not only had very good, unique music, but was a game that was as mad as a box of frogs as well.

Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon was a 3D platformer / adventure game that was an N64 exclusive way back in 1998. The central protagonist was the titular Goemon, a lad from Zazen Town, who with his friend Ebisumaru set out on an adventure to stop the Peach Mountain Shoguns from travelling across Japan and turning it into some gaudy array of theatres and stages on which they can perform. Throughout the game, they will meet fellow companions Yae – a female ninja – and Sasuke – a mechanical ninja robot – who will join them on their quest. They can even summon the giant robot Impact (who comes complete with his own camp theme tune) to battle against giant bosses. Think of a cross over between 1990s TV series Power Rangers and the Rig fight scenes in the Lost Planet series and you won’t be far from the mark. So yes, completely bonkers.

Blast From The Past | Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon

The source of the craziness is born from the fact that this game is so overtly Japanese, and that’s not just because the story itself is set in the Land of the Rising Sun. The quirky fun that is so often represented in Japanese gaming culture is here in spades, and you just can’t help but fall in love with it. And the quirkiness extends not just in the random and fun nature of the story and characters but in the humour of the game as well. For example the entire point of the game is to prevent Japan from becoming a giant stage, but the game counters this by putting in canned audience laughter after character punch-lines, and cheers at the end of particular series of dialogues between key characters – as though the game itself is one big theatrical performance.

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