The second sequel to the wonderful Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijyūrokubei no Karakuri Manji Katame was again only ever released in Japan and was recently given a fan translation, allowing English-speaking audiences to finally enjoy it.
It again follows the same kind of one or two-player side-scrolling, platform action DNA of its predecessors, all joined together with a variety of differing gameplay sections, plus the usual minigames. As with all the SNES Goemon games: ‘variety’ is the key word, with Konami‘s designers and programmers constantly trying to come up with new ways to thrill games-players with new ideas and visual treats. And again: they succeed in spectacular fashion.
Enhancements this time include: four playable characters (aka team members); pressing Select allows you to instantly change between team members in-game; a powered-up coin throw (which is useful in a few different situations); the ability to boost your run (and therefore your jumps); different outfits (and the ability to change their colours); pushing things; switches; towns are more expansive, with bridges and waterways than can be swum; and longer action levels.
There are no map sections, like those seen in the first sequel, and level progression is mostly linear. You can teleport back to a previous level from a travel shop, though.
What I particularly liked about this third SNES game is that fact that – although it does go all-out to provide new thrills and spills – it also often makes reference to the first SNES game, with recognisable bosses, characters and enemies coming back, although not necessarily as you might expect them to.
Ganbare Goemon 3 is full of surprises and is a huge amount of fun to play!