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Shin Onigashima

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Shin Onigashima
ZenpenShinOnigaShima1
Developer(s) Pax Softnica
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Famicom Disk System platform icon Game Boy Advance platform icon Virtual Console (Wii) platform icon
Genre(s) Adventure
Credits • Gallery • Cheats & Hints • Videos

Famicom Mukashi Banashi: Shin Onigashima (ふぁみこん昔話 新・鬼ヶ島,"Famicom Fairytales: New Onigashima") is an adventure game released for the Famicom Disk System in 1987 in two disks. The game is the first in the Famicom Fairytale series, which also includes Yūyūki. It is a text-based game which follows the protagonists Hikari's and Donbe's search for their roots. The game is based on the traditional Japanese fairy-tales Momotarō and Princess Kaguya.

Story

Shin Onigashima starts with an old childless couple being told in a prophecy that they will be entrusted with the care of two young children. It isn't long before the two one day stumbles across the two during their everyday work. The young boy, Donbe, is found by the woman floating down the river in a rice bowl, and the man happens to see the young girl Hikari being born from a shining bamboo tree.

The two are raised as children of the couple until they are eight years old, when an evil dragon appears and causes chaos along the land. The dragon turns the people into Oni, demons with the ability to steal souls. When returning from a trip one day, the two children return just as Oni appears at their house, and watches in horror as their adoptive parents' souls are stolen.

Desperate to save the couple, the two set out on a journey, unaware that they will learn of their origins on the way.

Characters

  • Donbe - Donbe is the boy born from the rice bowl. He has massive strength for his age, but is not very bright.
  • Hikari - Hikari was born from a glittering bamboo tree in the forest. She is very intelligent, making up for her physical weakness. Together with Donbe they make a great team with all skills needed to save their parents.
  • Old Couple - The old couple had given up hope to have children of their own, but through prophecy they were given the task to raise Donbe and Hikari. When their souls are stolen their adoptive children set out to save them.
  • Ringo - A dog that joins Donbe on his quest following Hikari's disappearance. He is able to speak and proves to be a useful companion on the journey.
  • Matsunosuke - Matsunosuke is a monkey who offers the protagonists to be their guide in the Mysterious Forest. He isn't as reliable as Ringo, but despite that, he often manages to help the group advance.
  • Ohana - Ohana the pheasant is the guardian of the Shiraishi Fountain. Initially appearing threatening, he joins the group when meeting Hikari, knowing of her origins.
  • Kintaro - An odd boy wearing sunglasses and red traditional samurai clothing. He appears as a guide throughout the game.
  • Mr. Ittai - The narrator of the game. He also appears as a shopkeeper early in the game.
  • Avatar of Darkness - The dragon who terrorizes the land. Has the ability to turn humans into Onis.

Gameplay

Onigashima

The divided screen during gameplay.

Shin Onigashima is a text-based adventure game, a genre which was very popular in Japan at the time. During gameplay the screen is divided in three parts, with the first one showing the current action. The player controls the game by choosing commands from a menu, such as "talk", "move" or "look", and an object or place to go with the command. Choosing the right command is important, as wrong choices often lead to game-overs. In the third part of the screen the game is narrated. A narrator tells the player if the chosen command had any effect, and any dialogue taking place between characters is told. Paying attention to what is said here is important to know what needs to be done next.

Legacy

The game was well received and got a sequel for the Satellaview several years later. BS Shin Onigashima as it was called, told the backstory of the original game. Each of the animals had a part dedicated to them, and a fourth part retold the end of the original game in more detail. The game improved on what was criticized with the original release, such as the high difficulty, by adding more hints and lowering the times when game-overs can be gotten. The game was popular enough to be released commercially as well. It was released for Nintendo Power under the name Heisei Shin Onigashima.

The original game was also released for the Game Boy Advance as part of the Famicom Mini series, the Japanese equivalent to the NES Classics series, and the Virtual Console.

Moreover, a lot of aspects from the game has been referenced over the years. Music from the game can be found in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Jam with the Band. Donbe and Hikari has also appeared in several games. Donbe, along with Kintaro and a Tengu, first appeared in Yūyūki. Later they both appeared in Kirby's Dream Land 3 and as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Donbe also appeared as a sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Hikari made a major appearance in Captain Rainbow.

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