It Came From Japan: JaJaMaru-kun
Happy New Year everyone! This is the first It Came From Japan post of the year, and I think I have some really cool stuff in store for you! I don’t think I’ve shared this on here but I am a HUGE fan of Game Center CX. So much so that as soon as a game was announced for the Nintendo DS I knew I had to have it. The game known as Retro Game Challenge was a collection of game challenges for retro inspired games. One of the game series you get to challenge is called Robot Ninja Haggleman. As per usual the princess is kidnapped and it’s up to you to save her. Haggleman had the ability to pick up scrolls, and ninja stars to attack the enemies, but you were also able to slam doors on them to attack.
My post today isn’t about Haggleman, but it’s about the game that inspired it, Jaleco’s JaJaMaru-kun.
By looking at the games side by side you can definitely see the similarities between the two and it’s obvious that Haggleman was inspired by JaJaMaru-kun.
JaJaMaru-kun is the second in the Ninja JaJaMaru-kun series and was released in 1985 for the Famicom by Jaleco (Japan Leisure Company in case you were curious ). The first game was called Ninja-kun Majo no Boken which was originally an arcade game but was ported into a version for the home console.
In this game you play as the younger brother of Ninja-kid in the first game. When your brother is away from home Princess Sakura is kidnapped so it is up to you to save her from Damazu-Dayuu.
You will start the game with the usual 3 lives and the young ninja can only run, jump and throw shurikens. To progress in the game you need to defeat all the enemies in the stage which is divided into 4 “floors” or sections that you can reach and it’s about 3 screens wide. The floors have sections that are made of brick and can be broken by jumping into them. When you break the bricks items will appear out of some like lives, coins which are worth points, a potion that makes you invisible (temporarily), a red ball that makes you faster, and a cart that makes you invincible and faster. There is also an item that you have to avoid: some of the blocks are booby trapped with bombs which will cause death if touched. If you manage to grab one of each kind of power up you will summon a giant frog named Gamapa-kun who is completely invincible and able to eat all the enemies on the screen. Once the brick areas are cleared out you can go through them but keep in mind your enemies can too, but if they are used right they can make a good trap to clear out enemies with.
At the top of the screen on the fifth floor you will see Princess Sakura and the Damazu, who will be unattainable to you. Reminds me of Donkey Kong or Popeye where you can get so close but can’t go right up to the Princess.
The only way Jajamaru can be killed by the enemies is by projectiles, which if you time it right can be blocked by throwing your own shurikens at the right time. You can also go Mario style and try to squish your enemies like a Goomba by jumping on their head which will just stun them for a moment, but should give you enough time to get away or attack. Once you destroy a bad guy they will become a spirit which you can collect for bonus points at the end of the stage, so try to grab as many as you can.
Besides enemies, you will also have to keep your time limit in mind, but if you are in the stage long enough the Princess will help you out and throw down cherry blossoms; if you can collect 3 of them, you will be taken to a bonus stage where you battle the Catfish Pirate. Sounds daunting but he is easy to defeat if you can avoid the bombs and throw shurikens up at him.
The game may seem very short with only three stages, but just like Donkey Kong and other arcade games, they will loop continuously but will become more difficult as the enemies become harder. Just like the stages the music also loops continuously, but it’s catchy enough that it won’t bug you. Looking at the graphics, they are anything but spectacular yet they are very cute and vibrant. Plus the main character is a mini ninja so you can’t get much cuter than that!
All in all this is a very addictive game that has kept me busy for many hours! I can see why the guys who made Retro Game Challenge looked at this game for inspiration. So if you have a chance make sure you check out this game and Haggleman on Retro Game Challenge for the DS!
こんばんは! Hope you have an excellent evening and see you soon!