The Other, Other Nintendo Characters: Samurai Apprentice Takamaru - NewsVGChartz Staff , posted on 13 June 2011 / 4,504 Views
This year The Legend of Zelda is playing a huge part in Nintendo's line-up, with multiple titles on the way as well the recent Virtual Console release of Link's Awakening. All of this is thanks to series' 25th anniversary. But while Nintendo prepares concerts, sound tracks, and other goodies for the Link's twenty five years of success, another Nintendo sword wielding hero is also celebrating his 25th anniversary – Samurai apprentice Takamaru.
Samurai Takamaru debuted in the his title Nazo no Murasame Jouć (The Mysterious Murasame Castle) just months after Nintendo's ground breaking The Legend of Zelda launched in Japan. The title has him traversing Japanese fields and castles using the same isometric view that Nintendo's Zelda series originated in. Armed with with only his katana and shurikens, Takamaru slices through ninjas, samurais, and other foes who appear on screen from all four directions and charge in for attacks or launch projectiles. Unlike Zelda, the title is a more linear and action oriented, complete with stages, scores, lives, and a time-limit. But Takamaru is not a man of senseless killing. Despite its Feudal Japan setting, the title is centered around aliens that have taken over Murasame Castle. Eventually the aliens extend their reach to multiple castles over the land by giving the lords of each castle evil spheres of power. Tokugawa Ietsuna, leader of Japan at the time, sends forth Takamaru on a secret mission to take down the evil leaders of each surrounding castle and, finally, the alien in Murasame Castle.
Unfortunately, unlike Zelda, the title wasn't a massive financial success and was quickly placed in the back Nintendo's mind and missed the boat to both North America and Europe. Surprisingly enough though, despite never receiving any sort of sequel, Nintendo has brought back Takamaru multiple times over the last decade. In Japan, they re-released the Famicom title on the GBA in 2004 and the Virtual Console in 2008, as well as having the title running as a 3D Classic at E3 last year. Also in 2008, Takamaru was featured in the title Captain Rainbow alongside many other fairly unknown Nintendo characters. While far from canon, this title gave Takamaru some new life with an entire sidequest dedicated to fixing his problem of extreme nosebleeds when he is excited by women. The year after, Takamaru returned as a special character in Samurai Warriors 3, complete with his own Murasame mode which is a semi-remake of the original title using Samurai Warriors 3's engine.
Takamaru is a character that has been unknown to the western world in terms of official retail releases, outside of his cameo in Samurai Warriors 3 and of course small references in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. While we won't be seeing a symphony orchestra going on tour in honor of his name, it would be nice if Nintendo could give him a little nod. Releasing the 3D Classic early in the eShop's life span may give the title a chance here in North America and Europe, even if it comes with untranslated text. We'll have to wait and see if either western branch of Nintendo will bring the title to the plate.