Goemon's Great Adventure

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N64 Game Cartridge. Review Konami's Goemon is back, and this time he's returned to his 2D side-scrolling roots. Goemon's Great Adventure is more of a Tomba-styled side-scroller that marries classic platform action with minor role-playing elements. While the game seems a little quirky and very Japanese, traditional side-scrolling-platform game fans will undoubtedly enjoy this Goemon. The premise is that the all-knowing ancient has built a machine that brings people from the past into the present. Unfortunately, this invention is stolen by a thief who uses it to unleash a torrent of ghosts and goblins on the unknowing world, leaving it up to Goemon and his crew to retrieve the machine and put a stop to the bad spirits. You can select two characters at the game's outset. Goemon, Ebisumaru, and two more characters become playable farther in. The first character you'll meet up with is a male ninja by the name of Sasuke, while the second is a female ninja named Yae, who can transform into a mermaid. Each character has his own type of striking weapon, projectile, and special attack. The gameplay mostly consists of traditional 2D run-to-the right/hit-the-enemy/platform-jumping action. Once you complete a level, you can progress to the next one, although to gain access to the final level in each stage you must have enough entry passes, which you gain by beating levels and completing side quests. The characters in the various towns you come across will set you on the side quests, which are often made up of simple tasks like going back to the level you just cleared and finding a few items before the timer runs out. The towns also let you swap characters, visit a general store to replenish supplies, check into an inn where you can rest, or see a fortune-teller from whom you can obtain secret info. The towns are filled with people who have something to tell you - most of what they say is inconsequential, but some shed light on the game story. One of the best parts of the game is its two-player cooperative-play mode. You can play the game with two people on the screen at the same time. More experienced players can actually help out others by piggybacking them through the course of the more difficult jump stages. When piggybacking, the player who isn't jumping and controlling the action gets to shoot projectiles. Some of the game's bosses are incredibly easy to beat but look rather impressive. In fact, in the final level of a stage, Goemon's Great Adventure transforms into a first-person giant-robot fighting game. You can shoot, punch, kick, and block the enemy robot's attack. When the action gets too hot, you can tag out with another robot; when playing a two-player game the second player controls this robot. In the end, Goemon's Great Adventure isn't a visually stunning game that will wow anyone, but it is incredibly fun. Goemon fans will particularly like the characters and story, and platform game aficionados will just plain enjoy it. --Ryan Mac Donald --Copyright ©1999 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. GameSpot and the GameSpot logo are trademarks of GameSpot Inc. -- GameSpot Review