VG Tribune

Top Three Musical Tracks from Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon

April 15, 2016 / 12:48 PM

By: Matthew Williams


Tomorrow marks a special occasion for my favorite video game of all time, Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon for the Nintendo 64.

This quirky, yet addicting 3D-platformer from Konami is the reason I have come to love and enjoy similar games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64. More importantly though, this game acted as the primary catalyst in growing my passion for Japanese culture, specifically medieval/feudal music. From the banjo-like shamisen sounds found in Oedo Castle to the tranquil sounds of the Koto found in Zazen Town, my first listening experiences with Mystical Ninja’s music was a life-changing event.

As a tribute to the game’s upcoming North American 18th birthday, I’ve decided to share my top three musical tracks from the game. If you haven’t played this title yet, I highly suggest you find it this weekend and play it (either via Emulator or at your local video game store).

If you are itching to relive your experiences with the game’s music or are hooked from just listening to the select tracks listed in this article, you’ll be happy to know that several gracious YouTubers have uploaded the game’s entire soundtrack in the form of a playlist (which can be found here).

Do you have similar stories of how Mystical Ninja changed your life? Let us know in the comments section below!

1.) Zazen Town



I initially found it extremely difficult to articulate the feelings this song exhumed after years of lying dormant in my mind. After browsing YouTube though, I found the perfect statement that categorizes the emotions this track generates (thanks to YouTube user, mokechan):

“A small town nestled within a forest of bamboo, graced with the orange glow of a seemingly never-ending sunset.”

Zazen Town is the quintessential track that captures the essence of post-feudal Japan. After the intense wars that engulfed Japan’s citizens in strife and turmoil, long-lasting peace and serenity was needed during its recovery. Gamers are first introduced to Zazen Town’s tranquil track immediately after their encounter with the kabuki robot, Kashiwagi. After the robot is defeated, Goemon is gracefully dropped back to Earth where he encounters this track, which serves as a temporary intermission to let gamers know that they can relax before their next big encounter with evil. This track brings nostalgic tears to me every time I listen to it.


2.) Yamato



This upbeat, bouncy track will put a spring in your step while listening to it. Go ahead, try and see if you catch yourself walking in sync with it throughout your day! This track will generate some much needed ‘Positive Mental Attitude’ (PMA) in your life, so if you are ever feeling down…just open this track up in your music player. For some reason, I get extremely nostalgic when listening to this track in the summertime. Perhaps it has to do with the in-game glistening sunset that soars above the horizon as you go in search of the Turtle Stone Shrine?


3.) Plasma Man Theme




This catchy, exotic-sounding track also takes the cake for the title of ‘quirkiest’ in the game. Accompanied by a scene with two dancing giants, this song acts as the introductory theme song to the Plasma Man, a half-clothed fortune teller that will (at a rate of some Ryo) tell players what to do next in the game. While the Plasma Man’s shaking and his dancer’s moves can be a bit awkward to first experience, it soon becomes hypnotic to stare at with this track playing in the background.

Hmmmm, abababa, Hmmmm, abababa…PU-RA-SU-MA!!!

About the author /

Matthew, a graduate from Texas Christian University, now works as a Senior Digital Analytics Consultant for Ernst & Young. With a passion for video games (mostly retro and survival horror) and data, Matthew is pursuing a career in game analytics.

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  1. Joseph Bradford

    Oh God this game. I used to play this game for hours as a teen. Loved it.

  2. Tommy

    It’s a joy to find somnoee who can think like that

  3. james

    Playing this game at the age of 12 engendered a life long love and addiction for Japan. The exoticism, music, quirkiness and humour drew me in. Played it recently and it still hasn’t lost its charm. If you know of any soundtracks or bands in a similar style to the music in the game, please let me know – i’m always on the lookout!

    • Matthew Williams

      Hi James,

      In the 18 years since Mystical Ninja has been released, I’ve never run across another similar game with as much quirkiness or musical diversity as it. With that said, I do recommend that you check out Goemon’s Great Adventure for the Nintendo 64 (if you haven’t already played it). While I don’t like the gameplay as much, the music is definitely on-par with Mystical Ninja.

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