Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon is an action-adventure game that was published by Konami for the Nintendo 64. The game starts off with a cutscene of two Japenese heroes, Goemon and Ebisimaru, witnessing the transformation of their beloved Edo Castle. They soon go on a quest, to stop the Peach Mountain Shoguns, and save Kyushu from disappearing into the sky. Along the way, Yae and Sasuke become accessible characters.
The game starts in the peaceful town of Oedo. Goemon and Ebisumaru, two of the main characters, were recently thrown out of a restaurant, due to Ebisumaru stripping naked, hoping to score a discount. While they stroll through the street, they notice a large, peach-shaped UFO hovering over the town; it's heading directly towards Oedo Castle. The UFO sends out a laser beam, which transforms the castle. They check to make sure the Lord and Princess Yuki are ok, and meet up with a member of the Peach Mountain Shoguns who gives them a rude welcoming. The Lord and Princess, they divulge that the UFO transformed Oedo Castle into a "stage" using the "instant stage beam".
After leaving Oedo Town, the heroes travel west towards Zazen town, where they witness the explosion of the Wise Man's house, all that remains is the Triton Shell. Using the power of the Triton Shell, the heroes summon Impact to fight against the Peach Mountain Shogun's warbot.
After reaching Zazen Town, the heroes find their beautiful secret agent friend, Yae, who was also following the trail of the UFO. She confirms that the Peach Mountain Shoguns are travelling throughout Japan, turning places they see fit, into their own personal stages.
The graphics of the game are comparable to earlier action-adventure games like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The game is set in olden day Japan, in the small town of Edo (also known as Tokyo, the capital, at the time). The game adapts the heart system off the Legend of Zelda games, where when you are attacked you lose a fraction of a heart. Players can collect Fortune Dolls to increase their life. 4 White Fortune Dolls, or 1 Golden Fortune Doll increases maximum hearts by one. Also, to get health back, players can collect dumplings, eat at a restaurant, or take a rest at the inn.
Combat is quite simple. The basic enemies are robots, they act off of artificial intelligence. One hit will kill the weaker enemies such at the robot dolls and dog heads.
To switch between the heroes, press the down button on the C-pad. You can also toggle the map, use the special abilities, and switch between weapons using the C-pad, also.
There are multiple castles to visit in the game, each providing their own unique challenges. At the end of a castle, there is a boss to defeat. Throughout the game, there are instances where Impact will need to be summoned (using the Triton shell) and fight giant mechanical robots.
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon was first titled Ganbare Goemon 5, then Legend of the Mystical Ninja. The Japanese producers wished to break the series' numerical naming pattern to stress that Mystical Ninja differed from its forefathers.Originally made with a two-player mode, this feature was scrapped months before the Japanese release. Early development pictures showed Impact battling in a modern city against a handgun-wielding foe. Later images touted the battle against the Wartime Kabuki Robot Kashiwagi taking place over a forest and village. Konami released many renders of Goemon posing and making faces for magazine previews. A 60–70% complete build of the game was featured at E3 in June 1997, suffering from graphical clipping and camera issues. Konami later presented a mostly-finished build at the Tokyo Game Show in September 1997. Developers aimed to make the game "very visual" with new content, and the game's marketers echoed this by using large, colorful advertisements. Konami targeted children, among whom the series is popular in Japan, by scheduling appearances of a Goemon mascot at some elementary school gymnastics sessions.The game's later success prompted the production of an animated television show. The series followed Goemon as he struggled against evil after being transported to modern society, where he befriended an elementary school student.Its release in the United States was planned for winter 1997, then February 1998, but was ultimately delayed two more months.
Mystical Ninja featured a cartridge size of 128 megabits, designed much larger than most of its peers and predecessor games to allow high quality musical numbers and voice samples. In total, there are three musical numbers—Theme of Ganbare Goemon, I Am Impact, and Gorgeous My Stage. They feature the talents of Hironobu Kageyama, Ichirou Mizuki, and Toshihiro Tachibana & Etsuyo Ota respectively. The song's main soundtrack is composed of a mix of traditional Japanese and modern instruments integrated in original arrangements. The dungeons feature minimalistic songs which grow in complexity and length as the player proceeds deeper into the lair. The soundtrack on whole is a collaborative effort by four composers. The musical numbers, with forty tunes from the game and one remix of I Am Impact, were released October 3, 1997 on CD. The soundtrack was later extracted from Read-only memory and presented in Nintendo Ultra 64 Sound Format on May 9, 2005; it is one of the most downloaded releases at USF Central.
The game has received generally good reviews, praising the game for following in Super Mario 64's footsteps. The robot-bashing was also noted to be fun. The musical score was praised very highly, combining techno with modern-Japanese, as well as traditional Japanese music with the use of authentic instruments.