Despite very few and far between official Western releases, Konami’s “Ganbare Goemon” series has quite a following outside of Japan, a deserved status considering that despite a few ninja duds it is a strong and solid series that made its way across several generations of Nintendo hardware, gathering fans along with each new entry.
Konami wasn’t shy to try new ways to get Goemon in trouble, and one such title was the Famicom exclusive “Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Kieta Ōgon Kiseru” (literally translated as “Go for it, Goemon! Side Story: The Missing Golden Pipe”), a game that saw the Tokyo-based company trade in the series' platforming antics for traditional JPRG turn-based combat and exploration, a genre made popular in both domestic and international markets by pioneers Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. Unlike those two, Goemon’s Japanese-themed JRPG antics had no chance of ever being released in the West.
As you might have figured from the game’s title, the plot of this game picks up as Goemon goes back home from a previous adventure to find that his sacred Golden Pipe has been stolen, which is rather ironic since Goemon himself is a notorious thief. While preparing to embark on a new quest for the missing Pipe, ninja extraordinaire and series regular Ebisumaru decides to tag along. Both men set off from Goemon’s home village into Konami’s very own 8-bit representation of Feudal Japan.
For an 8-bit Famicom JRPG, the game clearly shows that it was made in 1990, with rich music and graphics showing what the humble hardware can do. As a game driven by so much text it would be quite tricky for gamers not fluent in Japanese to enjoy… until yesterday when translation group Adventurous Translations released a complete English translation patch, making this forgotten gem playable for English-speaking gamers. This is quite a feat since the game is well known among the hacking community as a very tricky client to deal with, with the original's compression techniques and even the original coding bugs making a hard job of replacing text. You can sample the final results below.
You can download the translation patch from here, and if you happen to own the original Famicom cartridge you can use it along with your RetroN 5 or Retro Freak consoles. Time will tell if this is all the Goemon translation news we will get during the Summer of 2017…
Konami certainly seems positively surprised with the current retail results of Super Bomberman R and is considering the revival of other popular franchises on the Switch. Of course we are all thinking about the usual suspects (Castlevania, Contra) but why not give this mischievous Japanese thief and his quirky band of companions another shot at the spotlight? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!