Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

aka: Ganbare Goemon: Neo Momoyama Bakufu no Odori

Just a fun game

The Good
The Goemon games are always fun, and this one is no exception. You run around Edo-period cartoony Japan with a pipe and bash enemies. Who couldn't like that? Well, I suppose a lot of people considering the un-popularity of this game in places other than Japan but that's beside my point. Goemon has a lot of spark and character missing from many games in any generation. The graphics are bright, fun, and it's clear what's going on at all times (visually, anyway).

This addition to the series in particular has really great music. Of course, it's all very asian-melodies but that's really the great thing about it is that they take the general asian chord structure and turn it into something really hum-worthy.

The story is great. If you want to learn more about japanese culture, history, or legends, just take the name of a character, place, or food mentioned in this game, insert it into Google or Wikipedia and you'll get a slew of articles that will explain something very interesting and will really make the game more enjoyable as well. But, even if you don't want to take the time, the game is still fun.

The Bad
While the graphics are good for it's time, it seems that Konami really should have spent more time tweaking because there are some very prominent issues that should have been taken care of before the release.

  1. Camera is very buggy. This game was released early in the Nintendo 64's lifetime, but it still shouldn't excuse some of the terrible camera behavior going on in this game. Camera will usually freak out if brought too close to a wall or part of scenery. Also, you have to be careful when changing camera angles because it has a tendency to start trailing in the same direction you were rotating it, but long after you stopped pressing the left or right C buttons.

  2. Framerate issues. the beginning of the game is fine, but certain parts in mainly the overworld but also some castle areas seem to get some terrible framerates. I haven't formally checked, but in certain parts of the game, it's normal to be have a constant 10-15 FPS.

Lastly, the translation of this game is especially terrible. They replace certain words that originally describe the villains as homosexuals (due to their love for theater) with the word "weirdo" which I'm sure you can imagine how quickly that deteriorates into nonsense. But while they changed that word, they forgot to change some words that are very culturally significant which can really confuse even some of the more knowledgeable.

The Bottom Line
A very fun game. Some will like it, and some won't. If you're interested in the Japanese language or culture then it'll definitely be more fun. But those who grew up with the videogames in the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox generation may find the graphics, camera, and overall presentation annoying. But for those who aren't necessarily interested in either will find an enjoyable game experience and even may want to check out the other titles in the series.

Personally, I love the game for the characters, obscure references, music, and atmosphere. They're all right up my alley but I also realize that it's not for everyone.

by Calpis (65) on January 11th, 2008

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