The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (がんばれゴエモン〜ゆき姫救出絵巻〜 Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyūshutsu Emaki?) is the first game in the Ganbare Goemon series for the Super NES, as well as the first to be released in North America. It was released in Japan on July 17th, 1991, in America on June 30th, 1992 and in Europe in 1994. Later, it was included along its sequel, Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shōgun Magginesu, in a compilation Kessakusen! Ganbare Goemon 1+2 for the Game Boy Advance in Japan. It was released a third time for the Virtual Console in 2007, this time available to other countries. In October 2017, the game was included on Nintendo's Super Famicom Mini in Japan only.
In the growing fishing village of Edo (present-day Tokyo) 2 ninjas Goemon (Kid Ying) and Ebisumaru (Dr. Yang) discover about strange things happening around the Horo Temple and the female ghost that apparently lives there. As they leave their house and journey to the Horo Temple, they meet with a fleeing girl who tells them about a foul wind that's blowing from the north, she runs away as ghosts suddenly appear, as much of the area (including Edo) is now over-ran by ghosts and other creatures, as Goemon and Ebisumaru venture into the Horo Temple they have faced off with the ghosts and the creatures as well as the female ghost, after defeating the ghost Goemon and Ebisumaru encounter a ninja-cat named Kurobei who's a part of a secret ninja-cat clan from the west. Kurobei tells the ninjas to meet with his master and leader of the clan, Koban who is on the island of Shikoku and gave them 100 Ryo. As Goemon and Ebisumaru arrive in Shikoku, they meet with the dangerous Hyotoko clan that rule the island, the ninjas defeat the clan as well as their leader and rescue Koban. As Goemon and Ebisumaru rescue Koban, he informs the ninjas that they're a secret clan that serves their warlord in western Japan, they're facing a crisis as their lord's daughter Princess Yuki has been kidnapped, Koban believes that rival clan known as the "Otafu" has taken her to their domain in Yamato, Koban asks Goemon and Ebisumaru to help him rescue the Princess. After crossing the small island of Awaji and to a sinister amusement park in the island, they reach Yamato where it's been over-run by the Otafu (who's known to kidnap and kill innocent people and used weapons to beat down the ninja-cat clan), but as Goemon and Ebisumaru infiltrate the Otafu's domain and defeat them they found a kunoichi named Yae who informed the ninjas that in order to rescue the Princess they must see the old man in the province of Iga-Ueno. Goemon and Ebisumaru traversed through the mountains of Iga-Ueno and reached a castle that was heavily guarded by ninjas led by their leader Sasuke, Goemon and Ebisumaru defeated the ninjas and their leader and eventually reach the old man. The old man told Goemon and Ebisumaru that in order to find the Princess, they must see the white mirror at dragon lake which is in the province of Izumo and even had them use the "Miracle Transport Machine". Unfortunately it didn't have the power to propel Goemon and Ebisumaru anywhere near Izumo, instead it got them as far as the imperial capital of Kyoto (where the laws there are so strict that they forbid the citizens to travel to the Tengu Mountains without a suitable decree) Goemon and Ebisumaru know that Izumo is beyond the mountains, as they buy a pass to get into the mountains, they traverse the area battling the mysterious "Tengu" clan along the way. As they reach Izumo, they must reach the far side of the dragon lake to get to the white mirror, then they had to challenge the guardian dragon named Hakuryu to talk to the white mirror. As Goemon and Ebisumaru talk to the white mirror, the mirror tells the ninjas where Princess Yuki is, she's being held in the Ryukyu Kingdom (present-day Okinawa). Upon learning of this Goemon and Ebisumaru head to the Ryukyu Kingdom to rescue the Princess. There, they had a herd time understanding the unique dialect of the Ryukyuans, after buying a codex and understanding the dialect, they head to the Palace of the king who tells Goemon and Ebisumaru that there's something going on in his own palace and tells them to infiltrate it through a secret passageway just outside the palace. As they venture through the palace they battle through Hannya warriors and other creatures, but eventually they find and rescue Princess Yuki. But as they bring Yuki back to her father, he shows his true colors and says that he's the "Hannya Shogun" who captures his own daughter and banishes Goemon and Ebisumaru to a prison underneath the castle. Then, Yae releases them and tells them that the real warlord is also being held captive by the Shogun, as Goemon and Ebisumaru find the release the warlord, they told them that there's a secret passageway in their cell. After Goemon and Ebisumaru find this secret passageway, they chase after the Shogun and eventually catching up to him. Goemon and Ebisumaru eventually defeat the Shogun (despite the Shogun's aid of Gonta, a powerful Fox who leaves him after his inferiority). Then, Goemon, Ebisumaru, Princess Yuki and the warlord go back to Edo where the warlord has thanked Goemon and Ebisumaru for their bravery.
Player one controls Goemon while Player two controls Ebisumaru. During some level segments, the players may walk up, down, left or right. During others, the players scroll from side to side. In the side-scrolling stages, one player may hop onto the other's back, and have a piggyback ride, letting the one on the ground walk and jump while the one riding attacks. There are many forms of attacking, different for each character. Each has a primary method of attacking that can be upgraded by grabbing a cat, and a throwing weapon that costs one coin per shot. Goemon has a pipe that upgrades into a longer pipe, then a yo-yo, and for a throwing weapon, he throws coins. Ebisumaru has a wooden flute that upgrades to become longer, then becomes a party whistle, and throws stars. You may also buy bombs and learn Judo. At shops, players may buy many objects, ranging from sandals that increase running and jumping abilities, to pizza that restores health.
Stages and bosses
- Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuushutsu Emaki (soundtrack)
- Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuushutsu Emaki (manga)
- Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuushutsu Emaki (4Koma Manga Kingdom)
- In non-Japanese releases, Goemon is named "Kid Ying", while Ebisumaru is named "Dr. Yang". This may be because their original names were feared to be too difficult to pronounce. In later games, they retain their Japanese names in all versions.
- The names Kid Ying and Dr. Yang may come from yin and yang, two cosmic energy modes in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism.