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Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru! (がんばれゴエモンさわれたエビス丸!) / Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon - Game Boy, 3DS (1991)

Japanese Cover

The first Goemon for the Game Boy is just like the Famicom games. The levels are a little more straightforward, and you no longer need to worry about finding passes - instead, you do little subquests for other characters. As a result, it's much more involving and less tedious than the Famicom titles. The gameplay makes the transition to the Game Boy perfectly, with large, detailed sprites that actually look better than the original. The story is simple - Ebisumaru has been kidnapped by Yagyu Jubei, and Goemon must go save him.

This title was also released in the Konami Game Boy Collection Volume 3. The collection was also colorized, translated into English and released in Europe as Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon.

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Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru!

Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru!


Additional Screenshots


Ganbare Goemon: Kurofune Tō no Nazo (がんばれゴエモン黒船党の謎) / Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon - Game Boy (1997)

American Cover

Japanese Cover

Kurofune Tō no Nazo - released in America simply as Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon tries to be like the original Zelda game. Your movement is limited, so you can't move diagonally, and the hit detection is pretty bad, making the simple act of killing bad guys unnecessarily difficult. Each stage is huge, but that's only because they keep reusing the same five or so screens over and over.

If you somehow can muster up the patience to make it to a level boss, be prepared for impossibly frustrating button mashing mini-games. God forbid you lose, because then you have to start the whole level from scratch. You don't get any extra lives, and enemies don't drop health power-ups, making for a game that is not only awkward and repetitious but tremendously frustrating, too. It's a shame that Konami chose to localize what is undoubtedly one of the worst games in the series, because there's absolutely nothing positive about it.

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Ganbare Goemon: Kurofune Tō no Nazo

Ganbare Goemon: Kurofune Tō no Nazo


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Ganbare Goemon: Tengu-tō no Gyuakushū! (がんばれゴエモン天狗党の逆襲) - Game Boy Color (1999)

Cover

The first real RPG in the Goemon series since the Gaiden games for the Famicom, Tengu-tou no Gyuakushuu borrows from the concept of the Goemon TV series. You are a young Japanese boy named Hajime who is transported into the video game world of Ancient Japan, and eventually joins up with Goemon and friends to fight evil and whatnot. You also jump back between the game world and modern Japan. It's pretty much your typical Japanese RPG with a turn based battle system. The game allows three characters on the field at once, with one as the leader and the rest supplying backup attacks. You can also switch other characters in and out at any time. Like many early Game Boy Color games, the graphic artists had no idea how to properly take advantage of color and it looks frighteningly awful. The music is ear scratchingly bad, too. Like many Game Boy RPGs, it's a pretty pedestrian effort.

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Ganbare Goemon: Tengu-tō no Gyuakushū!


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Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū Tobidase Nabe-Bugyō! (がんばれゴエモンもののけ道中飛び出せ鍋奉行!) - Game Boy Color (1999)

Cover

Mononoke Douchuu is yet another traditional RPG for the Game Boy Color, but it's far better than its predecessor. Edo Castle has disappeared yet again, and Goemon is up to solve the mystery. The graphics this time around are much improved, with some decent looking cutscenes, and the music is comprised of tunes from other Goemon games, including a few from the N64 game. The battle songs are surprisingly catchy too. In addition to the usual cast of characters, you're stalked by a trio of goofy ninjas:

Taking a big page from Pokemon, Mononoke Dochuu lets you capture monsters to add to your party. You can attach these monsters to your characters, so they fight alonside them. Like Pokemon, each monster has a certain element assigned to it, and choosing the right monster for certain enemies is the key to winning the battles. You can even fuse them to create new monsters a la Shin Megami Tensei. The battles have moved to a first-person Dragon Warrior-esque viewpoint. Only one character and their familiar can attack at a time, although you can switch between any party members at any momemt. If you have a transfer pack and the N64 game Goemon: Mononoke Sugoroku, you can transfer captured monsters. While it's clearly capitalizing on Nintendo's monster collecting fad, it's a good game and the best of the RPG Goemon games.

Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū

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Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū

Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū

Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū


Ganbare Goemon: Hoshizorashi Dynamites Arawaru!! (がんばれゴエモン星空士ダイナマイッツあらわる!!) - Game Boy Color (2000)

Cover

In between all those RPGs, Dynamites Arawaru is the only side-scrolling series entry to make it out to the Game Boy Color systems. The gameplay is pretty much like Goemon 2 for the SFC, although goofy cat enemies litter the game as opposed to rabbits. Goemon and Ebisumaru have been separated, and each has their own set of levels. While Goemon's levels are your traditional "left-to-right" scrolling stages, Ebisumaru's mix it up a bit by scrolling from "right-to-left". It's a little odd, but it keeps things fresh. The ultimate enemy is the flexing guy you see below:

Sasuke and Yae show up for some minigames, but are otherwise unplayable. The graphics are excellent, with huge character sprites, and the music is a collection of songs from various Super Famicom Goemon games. Another solid entry in the series.

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Ganbare Goemon: Hoshizorashi Dynamites

Ganbare Goemon: Hoshizorashi Dynamites


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Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Douchū Daiedo Tenguri Kaeshi no Maki (がんばれゴエモン東海道中大江戸天狗り返しのい巻) - Nintendo DS (2005)

Japanese Cover

After the awful PlayStation 2 game and the xtremely awful reimaginging, Goemon stayed quiet until the release of his DS adventure in 2005. The character designs have returned to the traditional style, with pleasant sumi-e ink illustrations. Goemon and friends first run into the evil Mr. Goemon Gang, a troop of poorly-dressed imposters who wish to sully the names of our heroes. However, the real enemy is Tengu Beruri, a demon who's dressed like an 18th century British sea captain for some reason. Much of the usual Goemon humor returns - you run into the "Shin Sedai" Goemom in a jail cell (he's all beaten up), Yae dons a silly fish suit instead of turning into a mermaid, and Ebisumaru gets a farting jitsu.

Most of the action is presented from an overhead perspective with a slightly skewed angle. While all of the characters are made of polygons, each and every single background is a gorgeous painting. The intro has voices, and the beginning of each chapter is narrated by a polite Japanese fellow. While quality of the music is excellent, there's very little new material - most of it is a collection of songs from older games. The game is divided up into several chapters, usually featuring an annoying fetch quest or two - which naturally spells out problems if you're not Japanese literate. As usual, each character builds up new skills as the game goes on - Sasuke gets balloons to make long jumps (required for the few side-scrolling segments), while Ebisumaru can turn into a ballerina to burrow into the ground.

The action takes places on the bottom screen, while the top screen displays a map of the immediate area. (Click on most of the pictures to see what both screens look like together.) This being a DS title, there are plenty of interesting uses of the touch screen. Some enemies can only be toppled with a tap of the stylus. You'll also use the pointer to flip see-saws or pull down ropes, flinging your hero into the air. Many bosses require use of the touch screen as well - in order to defeat one of them, you need to spin the stylus in circles around his eyes, making him dizzy. There are also hidden elephant dolls that you can find by tapping random places (or getting hints from the "plasma" fortune telling guy.)

There are also several other minigames that require the stylus - amongst them, a clay pot sculpting simulator, a test of Japanese calligraphy, and Mr. Potato Head-style matching game. Unfortunately, the game is very strict about your performance in these segments, which causes untold amounts of frustration. It's particularly annoying because the game as a whole isn't very hard. Other than the stylus minigames, the only other really difficult section is an area where Ebisumaru is blown up like a balloon, and you need to roll him through several screens. It's far too easy for him to fall off the edge, and the whole section is frustratingly sloppy. The Impact sections also use touch screen, which functions as a control panel for your gigantic friend. Unlike all of the other games, you watch Impact from a third person perspective, and give commands via remote control to walk forward, backward, punch, or use special attacks. It's an innovative idea, but Impact is slow to react and rather hard to control.

Goemon DS also includes the old Konami puzzle shooter Quarth, although the ship has been replaced with a mini Goemon Impact. If you own the Goemon 1 & 2 GBA cart, you can also unlock the first level of the long forgotten MSX classic shooter Space Manbow. The GBA game also opens up several other features - characters from the old Super Famicom games pop up at points in the game, and apparently you can fight one of the editors from the Japanese game magazine Famitsu.

Other than the bumps in the road concerning the mini games, Goemon DS is otherwise a pretty fun game, although the side scrolling games are still better.

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Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Douchū (NDS)

Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Douchū (NDS)

Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Douchū (NDS)

Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Douchū (NDS)

Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Douchū (NDS)



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