Shadow Land (Video Game)

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Shadow Land
Arcade flyer of Yōkai Dōchūki.
Arcade flyer
Developer(s) Namco
Now Production
Publisher(s) Namco
Platform(s) Arcade, Family Computer, PC Engine, Wii (Virtual Console)
Release date(s) Arcade
  • JP April 1987
PC Engine
  • JP February 5, 1988
Family Computer
  • JP June 24, 1988
Wii Virtual Console
PC Engine
  • JP February 20, 2007
Arcade
  • JP April 28, 2009
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright, cabaret, and cocktail
Arcade system Namco System 1
CPU 2x Motorola M6809 @ 2.048 MHz,
1x Motorola M6809 @ 1.536 MHz,
1x Hitachi HD63701 @ 1.536 MHz
Sound 1x Yamaha YM2151 @ 3.57958 MHz,
1x Namco CUS30 @ 96 kHz,
1x DAC
Display Vertical orientation, Raster, 288 x 224 resolution

Shadow Land (妖怪道中記 Yōkai Dōchūki?, lit. "Phantom Travel Journal") is Namco's first 16-bit arcade game, released in 1987 and running on the company's then-new System 1 (which was initially known as "System 87") hardware. It is a platform game, and was never officially released over the United States, probably due to its slightly questionable content.

Gameplay[edit]

The player controls a boy named Tarosuke, who travels through "Jigoku" (the Japanese concept of Hell) fighting off "yokai" (mythical Japanese monsters) on his way to his final fate, as determined by Buddha. He destroys his enemies by firing small Ki bullets, which can be charged to increase their power; however, if overcharged, he is left unable to move or fight for a few seconds. During boss battles, Tarosuke kneels at a shrine to Buddha and prays, summoning "Monmotaro" (not to be confused with "Momotarō"), a spirit which floats in the air and drops energy balls on the boss and any lackeys he has. Once the boss is defeated, Tarosuke goes to the next stage.

Like Clovis from Dragon Buster, Taira no Kagekiyo from Genpei Tōma Den, and Momo Chan from Wonder Momo, Tarosuke has a life bar (labeled as "POWER") but only one life; if the meter is empty, the game is over (unless he has a certain item). There are no scoring systems present, but the game utilizes currency (only referred to as "MONEY") which is used to buy items, among other things.

There are five stages: Jigoku Iriguchi (Gateway to Hell), Kugyou no Michi (Path of Penance), Yuukai (Ghost Sea), Sabaki no Tani (Valley of Judgment) and Rinnekai (Land of Transmigration). There are multiple paths which can be taken in many stages, which may influence which of the five endings the player gets. One of the paths leads the player to a fairly racy dance hall show, after which he is given a box. If he opens the box, he might get 10,000 in money, or might be turned into an old man until he buys a particular item in a shop (this is based on the tale of Urashima Tarō). There are five different endings depending on what Tarosuke did in the game:

  1. he goes to Hell
  2. he goes to Slave World
  3. he goes to Beast World
  4. he returns to Human World
  5. he goes to Heaven

The endings are listed in ascending order of difficulty; to get the last one, the player must not collect or kill anything for Stage 5.

Ports and related releases[edit]

  • The game was later ported to the Nintendo Famicom (this version adds a "pious" counter), and PC Engine consoles with several additions and different level design; the PC Engine version and the arcade version were both later re-released for the Japanese Virtual Console. The game was also followed by a Japan-only spin-off in 1990 named Kyūkai Dōchūki, which is a "yakyū" (baseball) video game that plays similar to the entirety of Namco's own World Stadium series.
  • Tarosuke also appears as a playable character in the Japan-only role-playing PlayStation 2 game of Namco × Capcom (2005), where he is teamed up with Taira no Kagekiyo from Genpei Tōma Den (the latter's palette is also greatly improved).

Reception[edit]

On the Famicom version's release, Famicom Tsūshin scored it a 30 out of 40.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 30 Point Plus: 妖怪道中記. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.257. Pg.40. 12-19 November 1993.

External links[edit]