Famicom Mukashi Banashi: Shin Onigashima
Adventure games were extremely popular on the Famicom, thanks to the port of Yuji Horii's Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken ("The Portopia Serial Murder Case"), released in 1985. As an early cartridge game, there was no ability to record your progress, so every time you stopped playing, you had to restart from scratch (or just leave the system on). The save capability of the FDS alleviated this problem, so Nintendo released their own adventure games for the hardware. The first, Shin Onigashima ("New Island of Ogres", named after an island visited by Momotarou in Japanese myths), was the first of two games in their Famicom Mukashi Banashi ("Famicom Fairytales") series, which takes all sorts of characters from various Japanese folk tales and mishmashes them in a humorous setting. It’s also a very Japanese game – the text is displayed vertically, read right to left, and even the numbers are displayed in kanji. The story initially focuses on an old woodcutter and his wife, who discover two children in the forest. Donbe is a young boy with blue hair, who looks a little like a caveman. His character is based on the story of Momotarou ("Peach Boy"), except he's born from a bowl of noodles rather than a peach. Hikari is a girl born from bamboo, and based on the story of Princess Kaguya. Their village is attacked by demons who steal the souls of the old couple, so the two children set off on a journey to both save their adoptive parents and discover their secret origins. You can switch between the duo, with Donbe best suited for physical tasks, while Hikari is the smarter of the two. Be mindful, though, as “game over” sequences can be triggered if you make the wrong choices. Shin Onigashima excels thanks to its comedic setting. One of the recurring characters is Kintarou (the super strong "golden boy"), except he wears sunglasses and speaks in broken English. At one point you sneak into a demon fortress with a tengu, who has a rather silly crush on Hikari. The duo is joined by three companions – Ringo, a dog; Matsunosuke, a monkey; and Ohana, a pheasant, who later went to star in Heisei Shin Onigashima for the SFC. This was the first FDS game spread across two releases that needed to be bought separately. The second is the latter half of the game – you can't start the second disk without beating the first one.