Smell that? Yes, that aroma of blood, sweat and tears can only mean one thing: it’s time for Box Art Brawl, the series where we lock box art variants of the same game in a cage and see which one survives to the bitter end according to votes from you bloodthirsty lot.
Last week North American Trevor Belmont triumphed over his European and Japanese selves with that version of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse comfortably winning approval. To be honest, we thought round 12 was going to be much closer, but NA bagged over two-thirds of the vote and left Japan and Europe to depart with bloody tears in their eyes.
This week we’re sticking with Konami but jumping to the Nintendo 64 with Goemon’s Great Adventure, or Mystical Ninja 2 Starring Goemon as it was known in Europe. The Ganbare Goemon series has a loyal fanbase, but it’s been a long while since we last saw the mystical ninja and he’s arguably slipped off the radar a bit. Well, we’re here to remember his heyday with the cover of this 2.5D side-scrolling sequel.
Let’s take a look and see which mystical ninja has the stealthiest skills…
With Goemon centre-stage and striking a similar pose to the one on his first N64 game cover, Ebisumaru and the pre-rendered gang gather behind him as red, fiery shards of energy burst from the rear of the group. It’s big, dynamic and uses practically every colour on the spectrum. The logo arguably gets a bit lost and we found our eyes constantly drawn to Goemon’s odd-looking feet.
The European version eschews the rendered look for a more traditional ensemble piece of art. It’s similarly colourful, but more characters equal more action and the logo stands out a bit better, despite having some odd colouring going on in the diamond behind the text. The black info strip down the side provides a calm counterpoint to the energy of the main image, but that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
Normally it’s the North American and European covers which share the same key art, but this time it’s Europe and Japan…
Yep, Europe used the same key image as the JP cover, although the portrait orientation means we get a better look at the moon above the mountains. We see more of the art, although we’re not sure if that’s an improvement on the landscape perspective of the PAL version. The Konami logo in the top left is joined by a red strip across the bottom that repeats the company’s name and once again the title is a mishmash of colours and elements.
If we could mix-and-match the parts we wanted, there’s surely a killer cover here somewhere – unfortunately, we’ve got to pick between them. Actually, that’s wrong – you’re doing the picking! Once you’ve decided which ninja deserves your undying loyalty, give him a click below and hit that ‘Vote’ button:
A disciplined professional in combat and self-defence, it’ll be fascinating to see how the ninja performs against himself. Box Art Brawl will return next week for another round – we hope to see you then!