Feb 122014


This look at the Mystical Ninja series summarizes over 30 years of historical hi jinks, from the arcade to the N64.

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0:00:00 – Title Screen (Legend of the Mystical Ninja)

0:07:46 – Area 1 (Mr Goemon)

0:09:06 – Theme 1 (Ganbare Goemon)

0:10:19 – Theme 2 (Ganbare Goemon)

0:14:20 – Theme 1 (Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2)

0:15:07 – Theme 2 (Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2)

0:16:10 – Theme 3 (Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2)

0:25:54 – Oedo (Legend of the Mystical Ninja)

0:27:27 – Its a Monster (Legend of the Mystical Ninja)

0:28:01 – Kyoto (Legend of the Mystical Ninja)

0:29:11 – Road to the Flying Castle (Legend of the Mystical Ninja)

0:41:43 – Opening Theme (Mystical Ninja 64)

0:42:52 – Pathway to Oedo Castle (Mystical Ninja 64)

0:44:03 – Mt Fear (Mystical Ninja 64)

0:46:21 – Gorgeous Musical Castle 2 (Mystical Ninja 64)

0:52:50 – SMILE AGAIN (Goemon’s Great Adventure)

0:54:14 – Flaming Edo Castle (Goemon’s Great Adventure)

0:56:55 – Majin Castle (Goemon’s Great Adventure)

1:04:48 – I am Impact (Mystical Ninja 64)

  20 Responses to “VGMpire Episode 63 – Mystical Music Starring Goemon”

  1. Oh sir, you are the bees’ knees(yes, all of them)! The cat’s meow! Of all the series I could think to suggest for a VGMpire, this is up there, yes waaay up there near the top, with Phantasy Star and Techno Soft. Thank you so much, I am not going to get any work done today and I owe it all to you!


  2. Wow. Not an episode I was expecting but a good episode nonetheless.

    I am like you Bret in that I had some exposure to the SNES game and N64 game. I can’t remember much of either game but I did remember the music more than anything else. I was hoping to hear a track off the N64 game that was vocalized—but not the main theme. It played whenever you (spoilers?) piloted the giant robot. The lyrics are Japanese except in the beginning when the singer exuberantly shouts

    “Dash! Dash! Dash!”

    Anyways, that’s fine. I liked your picks anyway, particularly the final level one. Good show.

  3. I got Mystical Ninja on vacation at the Mall of America shortly after it opened. It introduced me to things like maneki neko (those cats that power you up.) I grew up in Iowa, where there’s no bamboo, but I live in Hawaii now, and it’s still cool seeing bamboo after all these years. The music is so stereotypically Japanese, it’s great to hear such perfect music for that stylized version of Japan. I’ve been to Japan since playing the game, though I haven’t played the game in a long time, and it really isn’t that great a stretch from reality.

    I was just wondering if it’s possible to hear 8 or 16 bit music and not enjoy it, at least a little. It can’t just be growing up with it that makes it so great, can it?

  4. Yes! I love Mystical Ninja’s music so much! I have many fond memories of The Legend of Mystical Ninja on SNES and Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon on N64. To this day I have yet to beat the former. Stage 5 and onward gets ridiculously hard, even with two players. I hope to beat that SNES cart someday…

    I loved all the wackiness in the SNES game. Level 2 had a secret arcade area where you could play Breakout, Level 3 was an amusement park where you could do quiz shows, bet on horse racing, and even play an SNES-ified version of Gradius.

    “Headquarters of the Otafu Army” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iJxqQNXkgo

    You could do a whole episode dedicated just to Mystical Ninja 64 music…that game had over 80 tracks! Some good selections here. The vocal tracks are obviously a given, I still sing them to this day. “Mt. Fear” is really mesmerizing, a great snowy level track. Glad you picked “Gorgeous Musical Castle Part 2,” the music gets you so pumped up in the final area. Plus it mixes distorted N64 guitar with shamisen, which is just plain badass.

    Definitely one of my favorites would have to be “Kai Highway” right after you leave Oedo Town…that melody is infectious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZQzuxEJl-4

    A lot of the brilliance of Mystical Ninja 64’s music comes from its dungeons. Their music starts out pretty minimalist and then gets several instruments layered on as you delve further into the dungeon. This Youtube link shows the three forms of the “Ghost Toys Castle” dungeon music and how it changes as you get closer to the boss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ify8Dg58auM

    Speaking of bosses, here’s a great boss track from the game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxcmnTPOJIY

    If you really dig Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon’s music, I wholely encourage you to read my analysis of the soundtrack: http://www.pixelitis.net/features/liner-notes-xv-a-breakdown-of-goemons-musical-genius

    In regards to how MN64 aged…I don’t think it’s fair to knock it. I think it’s still a really fun game to play, with the camera being its only big flaw for being a little wonky during some platforming sections. The game’s world is still surprisingly big given the year it released. The four playable characters are all varied and useful in some way, and the quirky, humorous dialogue holds up really well. And the graphics aren’t as chunky as some earlier N64 platformers. Bottom line: there’s no need to downplay the series’ brilliance! Get that game on the Virtual Console already, Konami.

    Even though I own Goemon’s Great Adventure I didn’t get really far. It’s a really hard game, much like Legend of the Mystical Ninja on SNES. I can clearly see that I’ve been missing out on a stellar soundtrack.

  5. Thanks Brelston,

    Never heard of this series, but I’m looking forward to it anyway!

  6. Oh VGMpire, the things you do to me! SO many memories. Videogames played a huge role in my love of all things Japanese, and Legend of the Mystical Ninja was definitely a part of it. I’m also glad you guys made the connection between MN and River City Ransom, because they definitely had a similar feel when grinding. But the music! One of the things that sticks with me most about the music in Mystical Ninja is that the samples sound distorted, as if the levels were too hot when they were recorded. It was definitely intentional, and it gave the music a more earthy feel than the SNES’s typically squeaky-clean sound.
    As to the question about old-school game music being inherently good versus just enjoyable for nostalgic reasons, why can’t it be both? Any style of music, game or otherwise, carries with it a method of expression. With 90’s rap, it was gritty samples or crisp synthesizers(now it’s both). With old country, it was twangy singing and lap steel guitars(now it’s twangy singing and 90’s electric guitars). With old games, it was primitive sound chips. People who grew up loving games hear that sound and it’s like fresh air. People who didn’t grow up liking games hear that sound and it’s a barrier. The composition of a game track may be brilliant, but if the method of expression doesn’t vibe with the listener, they’re going to have to either work past their prejudices or hear the composition in a different format. That’s why game music orchestras are so great; they appeal to the nostalgia of those who are familiar with the music and they sidestep the preconceived notions of those who aren’t.

  7. This game, the SNES one at least, was so sweet. They should get that ish out on iOS if they haven’t already

  8. Brett, have you ever thought of doing a Pinball episode? I’m only familiar with Black Knight but surely there is some gold to be mined there!

  9. Loved all this music this ep. I’ve never played any of the games (even though I have the snes release on wii u) but now having heard the music, I’ma have to see if I can get my grubby hands on them

  10. I Am Impact is the most 70s mecha show opening song I’ve ever heard in a game that takes place in weird wacky feudal Japan. Pretty sure I heard some sly references to Mazinger Z and Tetsujin 28 as well. Thanks for the episode as always, guys!

  11. Dig It

  12. Hey guys! Long time listener, first time commenter.

    As a kid, one of my neighbors had Mystical Ninja, but the label on it had been removed and instead had LUISA written on it with liquid paper corrector fluid, so I assume that used to be the original owner.

    Needless to say, I love this game and it’s music. It’s so fun and charming.

    I wanna take the chance to say you guys do awesome work, here and in the Laser Time network in general. I have good memories of listening to the Animal Crossing, Streets of Rage and the SNES shooters episodes on long drives. I’m from and have lived all my life in Puerto Rico, so just know that you have fan over here!

    Hope this message gets to you guys. Keep up the great work!

  13. Mystical Ninja (SNES) magically made it’s way to my local video store. It was one out of a dozen games that you could rent there (I grew up in a small Louisiana town). My mom rented it on a whim one day and it quickly became a favorite title of mine. Besides being a fun game, I consider it my first foray into anime. The art style and cutscenes were radically different from anything I’d seen before and I became a lifelong fan. Thanks for another stellar episode Brett! Take me back.

  14. I only ever properly played the SNES Legend of the Mystical Ninja, but this episode reminded me of how big-a-part of my childhood this game really was and got me all nostalgic.

    It was great hearing other music in the series I’d never come across – strangely familiar and something I’d probably never have listened to if not for this podcast! The choices of tracks are (as always) awesome, and the chatter in between is like waxing nostalgically about old game favourites with friends!

    Been digging through the archives and as the episodes go on and it sounds like you guys read and appreciate all the comments, I wanted to leave one to say keep up the awesome work! VGMpire is pretty much perfect for my interests – definitely one of my favourite podcast discoveries to date 😀

  15. I have never played these games, but I always kinda had this passing interest in them. Fun music, though!

  16. I know this is an older episode but I still wanted to comment. Just started listening 4 months ago and I Dig your show. Wanted to say that last goemon track kinda sounded like music from a 70s anime to me. Like the theme from neo cyborg cashern or getter robo. Cool stuff!

  17. Mystical Ninja is the secret best SNES OST! This whole series has great music and the games themselves are super underrated!!!

  18. Very late comment but here goes: great episode on a series with great music, especially the N64 game.

    The Peach Mountain Shoguns in Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon are a reference to the Takarazuka Revue all-female theatre troupe. Compare photos of their typical staging with a large wide staircase and spangly costumes to the “Gorgeous My Stage” musical number in the game and the similarities are laid bare!

    Also, a localisation note. The four “weirdo” bosses are referred to as “okama” in the Japanese version. This word could charitably be translated as “queen” in its gay context, or if used in spite, as “queer” or “fag”. It was a bit shocking to see this in the Japanese version years after playing the English one, and it’s easy to understand why they changed it.

  19. PS also, the singer of the Impact theme in the N64 game is none other than Mizuki Ichiro, who sang many famous anime theme songs such as Mazinger Z and Kamen Rider X.

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