The Mysterious Murasame Castle was one of the earliest games for the FDS, and was one of the first original titles along with The Legend of Zelda. However, unlike the latter, The Mysterious Murasame Castle never saw release outside of Japan until it released on the 3DS Virtual Console in 2014.
The Game takes place in Edo-period Japan, and stars the Samurai, Takamaru. There was once a castle, named Murasame Castle, that housed a giant stone statue known as "Murasame". One day, during a stormy night, a mysterious shining gold object fell into the castle. A loud shriek was heard, and the strange alien object gave life to the giant statue, and took over the castle.
The object later took control of the daimyos of the four nearby castles, Aosame Castle, Akasame Castle, Ryokusame Castle, and Momosame castle, by handing each a mysterious orb of power. The possessed daimyos made their troops cause havoc in the once-peaceful lands of Japan.
Hearing of this, the shogun Ietsuna Tokugawa (who was the ruler of Japan at the time) sent the apprentice samurai Takamaru on a secret mission to stop the madness caused by the evil entity.
The game uses a top-down view of the action without scrolling, similar to that of The Legend of Zelda. Takamaru's movement also functions like that of Link, and the game is at times referred to as Zelda's "sister" game, similar to the relation between Metroid and Kid Icarus. The gameplay however, differs a lot from its sister game. Murasame's Mysterious Castle is a linear, level based game with fast-paced action, rather than Zelda's open-ended puzzle based gameplay.
Takamaru is at all times equipped with a katana and shurikens, and unlike Zelda, there are no more items to be found. When the player far away from an enemy or projectile, attacking will result in Takamaru throwing a shuriken. When near an enemy or projectile however, he slashes away at the foe, or deflects the projectile, unless it is a fireball. Takamaru can also use a special technique if he has the required item. These are invisibility and Inazuma lightning. Inazuma lightning is a powerful attack that destroys any enemy on the screen. Occasionally various upgrades can be obtained, by finding tanookis and gift boxes. These can be more powerful projectiles, the special techniques or healing items.
The game consists of five levels, Murasame Castle and the four surrounding castles. Each level consists of two parts, a field part and a castle part. All levels start in the field, and the player needs to find the way to the castle. Before entering the castle the player may choose one of four tanookis to earn an item in preparation. The castle functions similar to the field, but ends with a boss. There are also princesses in the castles that can be rescued for extra points.
A surprising trick for the game can be performed when the player collects a total of 99 lives. When he or she does so, Takamaru will become invincible forever. Many players assumed it was a hoax when the Famicom magazine in Japan reported it, though players soon found out that it was in fact real. However, doing so will require the player to play for at least 12 hours and would virtually be useless for anyone who is capable of doing so as they would have to be a master of the game to do so.
The Mysterious Murasame Castle was rereleased on the Game Boy Advance in Japan as part of the Famicom Mini series, the Japanese equivalent to America's NES Mini series. Virtually, no changes were made to the game. Later it was also released for the Virtual Console in Japan.
On May 8, 2013, the Australian Classification Board posted a release for the game with it's localized title, suggesting that the game will finally see an international release. The game finally saw international release on May 29, 2014
Appearances in other games
- In Pikmin 2 for the Nintendo GameCube, the The Mysterious Murasame Castle Famicom Disk System disk is one of the treasures Captain Olimar finds early in the game.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii, music from the game can be unlocked. Moreover, a sticker of the game's protagonist is also featured. As expected, the game is also present in Brawl 's Chronicle, as is every Nintendo published title.
- Takamaru appears as a supporting character in the Wii game Captain Rainbow, alongside many other Nintendo characters such as Birdo and the golfer from the Nintendo Entertainment System title Golf. His wish is to control his "excitement" around women.
- One of the microgames in the Japanese version of WarioWare D.I.Y. is based on The Mysterious Murasame Castle. The player needs to make Takamaru invisible.
- Takamaru makes an appearance as a playable character in Samurai Warriors 3. There is also a Murasame mode, which is essentially a remake of Murasame's Mysterious Castle. This marks Takamaru's first playable appearance in over 23 years.
- In the Wii U launch title Nintendo Land, there is a minigame based on The Mysterious Murasame Castle, entitled Takamaru's Ninja Castle. In the minigame, players have to throw shuriken at attacking ninjas.
- Takamaru makes once again an appearance in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U where he is an Assist Trophy. A Mii costume inspired by Takamaru is also avaliable and music from the game is also featured, Masahiro Sakurai even considered to have Takamaru as a playable character at one point in developement.