Legend of the Mystical Ninja is the fifth game in the Ganbare Goemon series. It is the first game in the series to appear on the SNES, and the first to be localized for and published in America.
The game takes place in a cartoonish representation of feudal Japan. The story follows Goemon and Ebisumaru's ( Kid Ying and Dr Yang in the non-Japanese releases) journey across Japan to rescue Princess Yuki, who had been kidnapped by the Otafu Army. Along the way, they fight past all manner of ninjas, monsters, ghosts, quiz-show hosts, villiagers, and robots.
The game is divided into multiple Warlock Zones, each one representing a different area around Japan. Each zone is split into two sections:
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja has numerous minigames within the villiage areas in each stage. Some are within the Game Center area, while others are located in various homes and shopping centers in the level. Most of the games have a fee or opening wager to play, but usually have a way for the player to win cash or special prizes.
Located in the Game Center. This is the first level of Konami's classic side-scrolling shooter, Gradius.
Located in the Game Center. Tear Down The Wall is a Breakout-style game where the player bounces a ball on a paddle to destroy bricks at the top of the screen.
Located in the Game Center. An air hockey game for two players.
Located in the employment office. This is a Whack-A-Mole game played with the SNES controller. Moles pop up from eight holes on the play field, where each hole corresponds to a button or direction on the SNES D-pad. Players get more money for each mole struck.
Located in the employment office. In this game, the player controls the direction of a constantly-moving paint roller. The task is to paint as much of the canvas as possible without hitting a wall or overpainting any area. One dollar is awarded for every space that the player paints. One or two players, $80 entry fee.
Located in the employment office. In Goblin, the player must toss a ball into a basket that constantly moves from side to side. The force of the throw is controlled by how long the throw button is held down. Players get money for the balls they get in the basket. Sixty-dollar entry fee.
In the Quiz Show game, players are asked trivia questions about the game by Quiz Master Shimopy. There is an entry fee of $100, with the chance to win $300.
In some houses around the game, there is a woman who will offer to play a game of dice. In the game, three dice are rolled, and the player guesses whether the outcome will be 10 or lower, or 11 or higher. The player places a bet which they can double if they guess correctly, or lose if they guess wrong.
The fortune-teller offers to read Goemon's future for a $50 fee. He will tell the player that something good, something bad, or nothing will happen. Based on his vision of the future, immediately upon exiting his house the player will encounter five Geishas (which can be collected for $50 each), five spear-toting villagers, or nothing at all.
Up to two players can pay a $100 entry fee to explore a first-person labyrinth. Prizes hidden in the depths of the maze include bombs, scrolls, and cash that if found, are worth more than the fee taken at the door.
Buy a ticket and participate in the game lottery. If the symbols that appear in the lottery match the symbols on the ticket, the player can win a cash prize.
For two players or play against the computer. Flip over two matching cards and win cash prizes. Increase the purse by matching a random special card.
The horse race track appears in the carnival area of the game in the third Warlock Zone. Players may bet as much as they like on different horses, and winnings are dependent on the odds of the fastest horse.
In one of the houses in the game, the man living there will advise the player that if they "use the command Up Up Down Down L R L R B A...nothing will happen." True to his word, the famous Konami Code has no effect in Legend of the Mystical Ninja
This code uses the game's password save system to activate. By entering the password vxZ lh:@Y nn3 1 $T KK hG:!< ! X@ r the player will start on the third stage with an infinite supply of hamburgers, essentially granting infinite health.
The character with the winged hat who appears above the entrance to the Maze minigame is Konami Man. He was Konami's official mascot at the time The Legend of the Mystical Ninja was created. Konami Man was the star of a Japan-only Nintendo Famicom game called Wai Wai World.
The Japanese version of The Legend of the Mystical Ninja contained a storefront in the Amusement Park zone that was not present in the American release. Even though it is mentioned in the instruction manual as "Sammy Rye's Circus Side Show," it does not appear in the actual game. For a fee, Goemon can enter the side show and see four clones of Ebisumaru do a short dance.
On the bridge leading away from the Amusement Park zone on Awaji Island, the player encounters Takosuke. This huge red octopus is another of Konami's characters, who appears in the Parodius series. In the vignette that follows this level, Takosuke can be seen in the background, climbing the Konami headquarters building on Awaji.