We all deal with hard times in our own way. But when stress got the better of me a few years ago I turned to the Nintendo Famicom for help and my request for salvation was met by a game that has never made its way outside of Japan called Getsu Fuma Den.
Released in 1987 by Konami, I had heard that much of the gameplay would be used in the yet to be released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that we would receive in North America on the NES in 1989. Since I’m extremely fond of that game in particular I figured I would be in for a treat. I was however, not quite ready for just how great an amount of joy this game had in store for me.
The Demon Lord Ryukotsuki has hidden your spiritual blade along with the blades of your two slain brothers and it falls now to you to recover all three and send him packing back to hell. Sounds good right? I thought so.
The game’s many areas are accessible by way of an overhead map. When you reach certain points along your journey through the three islands that make up the kingdom the action switches to that of a 2D platformer. These are the portions that the TMNT game would borrow from. On each island is a dungeon which is now not only home to one of the hidden blades, but also to a boss monster that you must vanquish in order to take it back into your possession. The dungeons are explored from a first-person perspective in a pseudo 3D style. They are maze like and dangerous. I found these to be some of the game’s most exciting portions.
Ultimately, what I expected was a fun platformer that had great style. That aspect is there, but the title also blends in so many other elements and does them really well. The innovation, uniqueness, and slick way that everything is presented was just the jolt I needed to help me through my stress fueled depression and to rekindle the passion I once had for gaming.
I wish this was a game that everyone could easily own and play, but at this time it’s relegated to the Famicom, and the Japanese Wii, Wii U, and 3DS Virtual Console. If you have the ability to, I urge you to give Getsu Fuma Den a try. Who knows, maybe the game will spark something for you as well.