Musya: The Classic Japanese Tale of Horror

a game by Seta

Platform: SNESSNES

Genre: Strategy/War

If you're hunting for a fresh, action/adventure game for the SNES, your prayers have been answered -- in fact, a few prayers might also help you face the demonic horde in this cool game. Musya by Seta U.S.A. hits side-strollers from a different angle, the Japanese angle.

The Way of the Warrior

Musya (which means "The Warrior") is based on Japanese legends with a storyline that dates back to the ancient samurai days. You guide Imoto, the sole survivor of a vanquished army, through a dark abyss to rescue Shizuka, the keeper of the Talisman that imprisons the Evil One. Shizuka's been abducted by the Evil One's minions, and you must prevent his release.

ProTip: Look for enemies everywhere, including the ceiling.

Sinister Looks

Musya takes place across five levels in fairly classic action/adventure style. You thrust and jab through a ghoulish gang to face an even more bizarre monster. Defeat it and you learn a magic spell before you move onto the next level.

The action takes place entirely underground, so the game's atmosphere, as well as its graphic style, is dark and gloomy. The overall quality of the pix is slightly above average, but you'll encounter some wicked-looking demons.

If you survive the fifth level, don't relax!

You run into all manner of beasts that have given Japanese kids nightmares for centuries, such as the turtle/vampire Kappa, the demonic Tengu, and the mischievous Tanuki. To Seta's credit they've kept the actual Japanese names and also retained the essence of each creature's legendary background. The vocabulary will twist American tongues, but it provides a neat and unusual insight into the folklore of a foreign culture.

You can easily defeat Kappa by firing your powered-up spear through the solid rock to hit him.

Help from Beyond

Musya puts a formidable magical arsenal at your disposal. Imoto starts out armed with only a spear, but along the way he collects a handful of power-ups and five magic spells. Lightning, Fire, and sticky Web are spirit-defying powers. Heal recovers hit points, and Help calls upon the spirit of one of your fallen comrades to fight at your side.

Your spear powers up to five levels. Each one increases your range.

Naturally, the forces of good are on your side. The Butsuzo are mystical beings who are the Evil One's sworn enemies. If you can find them, they restore your hit points, grant you invincibility, and zap all on-screen enemies.

Make Mine Musya

Musya is a solid demon fighter that holds its own among SNES action/adventure games. It packs plenty of strong arcade action. The graphics are unique, and the music's not bad. The accurate depiction of mythical Japanese creatures adds an interesting twist to the action. The manual even contains an entertaining recounting of an ancient Japanese legend, "Tengu's Last Trick". Get some culture with your combat, try Musya.

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