Recommended by Shinkiro as part of this list.
My only experience with the Goemon games before playing this were the N64 titles, so I have no idea if this game's story pickups immediately after its predecessor. Here's the story; a weeb general of an unspecified nationality wants to westernize Japan with his army of bunny men. Go to his castle and put a stop to his antics.
The game is an action sidescroller and my initial thoughts were that it felt great to play. Your attacks are quick and snappy. You can select from three different characters. They all have a standard melee attack which can be upgraded and a projectile attack. Goemon is your all-rounder. He swings around a pipe and tosses coins. Ebisumaru is the slowest of the group but hits the hardest and throws shurikens. Sasuke, as you can probably predict, is the most agile of the three but is also the weakest and has a bomb projectile. I honestly stuck with Goemon for my playthrough. It's not like I didn't want to try out the others, but you can only switch characters by saving your game, resetting, selecting your file and then you can choose another character. The other characters are not upgraded and have no money at all, you have to start from scratch, so I just stuck with Goemon.
In a few stages you'll find rideable mechs and, honestly, they're fine! I feel like they slow the pace of the game down but never to a point that they harm my overall enjoyment. At least they were optional for the most part and few and far between. Some levels have alternate exits but I'm not sure if I found any of them. I do know there is a secret boss fight with Dracula I didn't find. In-between a few of the platforming stages, you'll arrive in towns where you can save your game, heal up, buy temporary upgrades, play mini games to earn money or encounter one of the many references to other Konami games. The game is split up into 6 worlds and at the end of every world you get your tried and true boss fight, but every other boss fight you get an Impact boss fight. This is Impact's first appearance and is clearly inspired by Tokusatsu shows and films. In a later game, it even gets its own theme song! These fights are played in first person. You have a fast jab, a straight punch, a projectile attack, you can block with the L and R buttons and a literal pipe bomb with limited uses. During these fights you have an energy meter that's constantly going down, but before every Impact fight you get an auto scrolling destruction sequence. This is where you'll get energy for the boss fights. The energy you get for these boss fights is fully dependent on how much havoc you cause during these sequences, so don't be afraid to go ape shit! Causing enough destruction is also how you get pipe bombs.
There's not much else to say. It's just a very solid action platformer that doesn't overstay its welcome. You can finish this in about 2 hours and it's not too difficult. This and the rest of the Goemon games on Super Famicom got English fan translations in 2020. Even "The Legend of the Mystical Ninja" got a retranslation! I should probably play that before jumping into the other two, huh?
Reviewed on Mar 16, 2023