Nazo no Murasamejou
At first glance, Nazo no Murasamejou looks like a feudal Japan variation on The Legend of Zelda – it uses the same basic graphical style, similar controls, and even the same flip-scrolling. In contrast, however, it forgoes the adventuring and role-playing for a much more typical action- based game. As the samurai Takamaru, you must fight through five castles to defeat Murasame, a stone statue brought to life by alien forces. Each level is divided into halves, with the first serving as the approach towards the castle, and the second being the castle itself. At the outset, Takamaru is armed with throwing knives and a sword, the latter of which is used automatically when within striking distance. It can also be used to deflect certain projectiles. There are many more powerful weapons to find, too, including stronger blades and fireballs. There are also a few magic spells, which can be activated by pressing the B button. These can damage all of the enemies on the screen, or make you temporarily invisible. The levels aren't entirely linear, as there are different rooms to explore outside of the main path to the castle, and it's advised to explore these for extra weapons. This is important, because the game is extremely difficult. Much like Link in The Legend of Zelda, Takamaru can only move and attack in four directions, but the enemies can hit from every possible angle. They're also persistent, quickly respawning new foes as old ones are dispatched. It becomes even harder when dealing with ninjas that explode when they're killed, and other enemies that can block your attacks unless you know how to approach them. It can be frustrating, especially seeing how you can only take three hits before dying. Still, the levels aren't long, and the action just feels fun in spite of the limited controls. The music is also excellent. Unfortunately, the game isn’t particularly well-regarded among Nintendo's early Famicom titles – it was never localized and its only ports were relegated to re-releases on the Game Boy Advance and assorted Virtual Consoles. It did finally reach North America on the 3DS under the title The Mysterious Murasame Castle, untranslated, but outside of the title screen, there's barely any Japanese text anyway. The Wii version of Samurai Warriors 3 has a mode called Murasame Castle Mode, featuring Takamaru as a playable character. Takamaru also appears in the comical Wii game Captain Rainbow. One of the microgames in the Japanese version of WarioWare D.I.Y. for the DS is based on this game, plus the Wii U game Nintendo World (all territories) featured a minigame based on it, as well.