It wasn’t long after I had described Konami as collection adverse that it hit us with a trio of pretty awesome compilations. The Arcade, Castlevania, and Contra collection are all stacked with solid games. It’s actually an impressive effort for a company that, not too long ago, seemed intent on showing its fans how much vitriol it has for them.
What struck me as most impressive about the Castlevania Collection was the inclusion of the Famicom version of Kid Dracula, a game which was previously locked up in its native country of Japan as Akumajou Special! Boku Dracula-Kun. It’s perhaps not the most sterling spin-off of the Castlevania series, but the fact that Konami went to the extra effort to localize it for the collection is strongly appreciated.
The fact that it went to the effort of translating a game that was never released in the west sets my mind off to dreaming about what other collections of Japanese treasures could grace the west. Konami is, after all, sitting on a backlog of treasures that we never got to see over here. Could we finally see a translation of obese penguin simulator Yume Penguin Monogatari? What about a gathering of Parodius games?
No possibility gets me drooling as copiously as a Ganbare Goemon collection. The series is relatively unknown over here, with only a scant handful of games receiving a localization. It’s perhaps better known as the Mystical Ninja series to English audiences; nomenclature that three of the games received. Over in Japan, however, it was quite prolific. It spanned multiple consoles with over 20 titles. In them, you play as an increasingly more cartoonish portrayal of Japanese folk hero, Ishikawa Goemon. It’s a series of bizarre villains, offbeat humor, and a restless inability to adhere to a single formula. I can think of no better set of games to cram into a single collection.
It’s unlikely that Konami would be willing to give us every game in a single collection. If it follows the trend set by its current collections, we’d be looking at eight-ish games from the series. Out of over 20 games, it’s a difficult decision to figure out which ones should be included and which can be set aside. I’m going to try anyway, so let’s take a look at what I think are the eight most essential games in the Ganbare Goemon series.