Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shogun McGuiness

Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shogun McGuiness

released on Dec 22, 1993
by Konami

Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shogun McGuiness

released on Dec 22, 1993
by Konami

As you may have guessed from the number 2 in the title, this is the second SNES game in the popular blend of the adventure and jump and run genres which is the Goemon series. Again, you (and your partner, in 2 player mode) control Goemon, his friend Ebisu-Maru and, new to the bunch, robot Sasuke, through loads of action stages and villages. Another new feature comes with 3D boss fights, featuring the giant mech type robot called "Goemon Impact".


Also in series

Soreyuke Ebisumaru: Karakuri Meiro - Kieta Goemon no Nazo
Soreyuke Ebisumaru: Karakuri Meiro - Kieta Goemon no Nazo
Ganbare Goemon: Kira-kira Douchuu - Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake
Ganbare Goemon: Kira-kira Douchuu - Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake
Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijuurokubee no Karakuri Manjigatame
Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijuurokubee no Karakuri Manjigatame
Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru!
Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru!
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja

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Continuing on from beating Mystical Ninja, I moved onto its immediate Super Famicom sequel to stream the following week. While the first SNES Goemon was a game I'd played nearly to completion before, I'd never played the second or third SNES games, so this was a pretty exciting look into how the series progressed from there. I was not let down, as while this isn't exactly a perfect fix, it's a huge step forward for the series to finally bring it out of the 8-bit era that the first SNES entry is still so rife with. It took me almost spot on 3 hours to beat the game via the Wii U virtual console with limited save state usage.

Goemon and Ebisumaru are enjoying a vacation on Okinawa when suddenly Sasuke appears and informs them that not only have the emperor and Princess Yuki been kidnapped, so has all of Oedo Castle! It's all the work of the evil general Magnus, and it's up to Goemon and friends to go across Japan (once again) and save it from the clutches of a vile interloper! There's a fair bit more story in this one than the last one, but it's still just all silly gags (and thankfully no homophobic or transphobic ones, at least not explicitly, as Ebisumaru himself is basically a walking gay joke). The silly stuff is good fun and the story does just as much legwork as it needs to to stich the gameplay together.

That gameplay, while feeling very familiar, has changed a LOT since the first Super Goemon game (which I will call them from here on out, because it's a useful shorthand and the only actual difference between the Famicom and Super Famicom games' titles are long subtitles that I don't wanna type out entirely :b). First of all, joining the team of Goemon and Ebisumaru is now Sasuke, the clockwork ninja! Yae is in the story, but she's sadly not playable yet. However, I played through as Sasuke, and he brings a whole new assortment of weaponry to the team via his throwing kunai (which he can throw infinitely but are weaker than his normal slashes) and throwing bombs (which cost money). The game is still only two player co-op, but it's neat to have more options for playable characters.

The old games' style of 2D platforming segments intermixed with town segments are still here, but that's been refined to what would become a standard for the series. No longer are you being attacked constantly in towns, and they now serve entirely as hubs for you to buy equipment at and ask around for information. This is made a lot easier as the game now has a Super Mario World-style world map (complete with castles that get destroyed once you beat them) that you walk around in from stage to stage. It's ultimately not that complex, save for a few extra stages unlocked by taking different routes/finding secrets in towns, but it's really welcome as a quality of life feature to replay stages and gear up safely in towns.

The 2D platforming stages are largely the same in quality and caliber. There are technically more of them than in the last game (particularly due to the branching paths), but there are also less worlds in total, so there isn't thaaat much of a different in overall "CONTENT", if we're gonna weigh it that way. The quality of life features cannot go unstated though. Where a big problem in prior Goemon games is that they're just a bit too unforgiving with checkpoints, this game really goes the distance to improve that problem. Levels are overall smaller, tighter experiences based around one idea instead of one longer, drawn out thing. Even longer stages, such as the end of the game, that seem to be one long stage are actually subdivided on the world map. This means that even if you die midway through the final boss fight, for example, that you can pick up right from that phase shift, as each large stage of the final stage and even the boss fight's stages itself are split up into manageable pieces. This game even has a save battery in it to save your progress. I really never expected this level of QOL improvements from a Konami SNES game after how unforgiving the first Super Goemon game is, so this was a big plus for me.

Another new thing is another new character: Goemon's own mecha, Goemon Impact! Following a formula a lot like the first N64 game (although not entirely like the rest of the SNES games), many boss fights are followed by a Goemon Impact segment where you first bash through a bunch of buildings and enemies to build up ammo and health for a first-person cockpit-view boss fight. Despite the rest of the game's boss fights and level design being top notch and really good, these Impact fights are honestly one of the lowest points of the game. Your health ticks down mid-fight, Adventure Island-style, so you not only need to avoid getting hit, but you also need to beat these fights quickly. It never feels like your cursor can aim quite fast enough, and some boss attacks I was never able to really figure out how to dodge correctly. They aren't absolute garbage, and they don't ruin the game as they're not super duper hard, but it's clear that Konami is still experimenting with how to make these actually enjoyable to play.

The presentation is as excellent as ever. That reliable Konami musical score is bangin', and the graphics have been prettied up quite a fair bit since the last game. It's still very much Goemon, but the colors really pop, and the game has a ton of different music tracks and there wasn't a single miss among them, for my money.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is a really solid Japan-exclusive action/adventure game. If I had to hazard a guess as to why it never came out in English, I'd reckon it has to do with the several decade-long idea among Japanese devs that certain games were just "too Japanese" for Westerners to be interested in. It's not a perfect game, as I've already said, but it's a really solid entry and the quality of life improvements and generally better difficulty curve make it an easy game to recommend. The Goemon Impact segments do drag it all down, but not unforgivably so, by any means. Where Super Goemon 1 was more or less a 16-bit version of the formula of the 8-bit games, its sequel really takes leaps and bounds into the 16-bit era and the design improvements that went with it. It's a pretty easy game to play without knowing Japanese as well, and some fan translations recently came out for it as well. If you like action games, this is one you shouldn't let pass you by.

Slooow and floaty platformer. The sprites are lovely, the adventure-exploration elements are cute, and the mech boss battles are great fun, but the whole package is unconvincing. It is very short, though.

Japanese ethnocultural commentary on westernization and colonization

Played the English Translation Patch.

My favorite of the SNES Goemon titles and its one I first played a chunk of when I got into emulation when I was a teen (it was also before the game got a translation patch). Never beat it until now and I'm so glad I did.

Goemon 2's level design is super satisfying & imaginative with the Food Castle being my favorite theme having enemies & hazards based off Japanese cuisine and utensils. The humor is solid, alongside the music and presentation blowing the first SNES game out of the water. Goemon 2 is an absolute must play on the SNES library and I'd consider it somewhere in my Top 10 SNES games.

Only nitpick is the mech fights definitely being a difficulty spike later on, but considering how generous the game is with continues & game overs, you'll be zipping back in action in no-time flat.

It's great! No idea why they didn't localise this one. I think it would have been regarded as an alltime classic if it was. It's a very zany game, there's plenty of creative level themes and designs, and the mecha fights are awesome and satisfying. Probably the best SNES Goemon game.

Don't know why this game's as gassed up as it is with its autoscrollers and leaps of faith and borderline nonfunctioning sections (in co-op)

It's cute, but it quickly wears its jokes thin and the shameless meta advertising gets old and leans into gross.

All said it controls well otherwise and is still a bit removed from awful territory, and the minigames help mix up the pacing slightly. The mech fights are bad tho. Surprisingly high quality samples for SNES too.

Beaten with @Nowhere.