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Goemon: Portable Ninja

Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru!
(GAME BOY, 1991)

Goemon is shrunken down to the really small screen, but that doesn't mean that all the fun has been left behind! With gameplay that accurately reflects what you'd expect from the platformers on the Famicom, just in monochrome tones. This time around, Ebisumaru has been kidnapped, so it's your best bet to hunt him down and save him from the wrath of Yagyu Jubei. Nothing really stands out, but it's not horrible either. It was also colourized, translated, and plunked in a Konami game collection many years later, but it was only made available in Europe, so North Americans missed out on yet another Goemon title. When will this anti-Goemon sentiment end at the American branch of Konami?

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
(GAME BOY, 1997)

Not exactly sure what it is about this game, but it pisses me off, if only because of its mundane gameplay. Your goal this time is to recapture Yae, who has been kidnapped by the Black Ship Gang. Yet another kidnapping plot... that's exactly what the Goemon series needed. The game isn't very funny, either; sadly, someone left the good-natured humour of the series back at the office. It plays kind of like a 2D Zelda game, if it was less interesting and you were forced to complete mini-games requiring the thumb speed of an uptight heroin addict. The only saving grace is that it IS Goemon on the go. But avoid it if you can.

Check out our Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon review for a more in-depth look!

Ganbare Goemon: Tengu-tou no Gyakushuu!
(GAME BOY COLOR, 1999)

In the same vein as the Ganbare Goemon Gaiden games on the Famicom, this is also an RPG set in Goemon's universe, requiring you to go around fighting enemies and conversing with goofy townsfolk. But the main character is NOT Goemon this time -- it's actually a boy named Hajime who gets sucked into Goemon's world via an enchanted tree and teams up with his crew to save Japan from evildoers. George W. Bush would give them medals if he could. Sadly, you'll need a good knowledge of the Japanese language to function in this one, but if you know about typical menu selections of the average RPG, you might be able to get around in this game.

Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Douchuu Tobidase Nabe-Bugyou!
(GAME BOY COLOR, 1999)

Suddenly, Goemon gave into the craze. This is another RPG, but it borrows a concept from other, more popular titles: you can now collect monsters and have them fight with you. They can also be transferred between the N64 game Goemon Mononoke Sugoroku, à la Pokemon Stadium. I wonder where they picked up THAT concept. But Goemon's got other problems than just renegade creatures: the castle of the Feudal Lord has disappeared! He'd better get that back too.


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