One of the best reasons to own a Nintendo Switch is the number of retro titles available. Month after month sees more old titles released for the handheld. This has ranged from the usual suspects such as Excitebike to arcade classics that never saw a home release like the original Punch-Out!!. So while we’re at it, why not look towards the Famicom?
While we have been seeing a healthy dose of NES titles on Switch, there are some exclusive in Japan for the Nintendo Famicom that old-school fans would certainly appreciate.
Since it is the Halloween season, let’s start things off spooky! Developed by Capcom, Sweet Home is an RPG based on a Japanese horror film. It was also the precursor to the company’s highly successful Resident Evil franchise. It introduced elements of not only the survival horror genre but also Metroidvania. The game never saw a release outside Japan likely for its gruesome imagery and low popularity for RPGs.
It would be great to see a localized port of this title officially make its way outside Japan. It would be a *ahem* “sweet” tie-in to the Resident Evil 2 remake plus a celebration of survival horror’s roots. There’s already a great fan dub available if Capcom chooses to use that (and save on resources). The crude graphics of the Famicom also means this isn’t as gory as modern titles. RPGs are also as popular as ever (just look at Octopath Traveler). So why not release Sweet Home? More people need to experience this game.
Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic
Nintendo diehards will know that Doki Doki Panic was the basis behind Super Mario Bros. 2 outside of Japan. Strangely enough, it was tied to an event held by Fuji TV to help promote its new show lineup in 1987. The characters of Papa, Mama, Lina, and Imajin were repurposed to Toad, Luigi, Princess Toadstool (Peach), and Mario respectively in Super Mario Bros. 2. This was even released in Japan as Super Mario USA.
While fans outside of Japan will have no ties to the playable characters, Doki Doki Panic would still be amazing to see get a Switch release. The historical ties to the Mario franchise go beyond being a template for one of the earlier titles. It introduced many popular baddies such as Shy Guys, Birdos, and Bob-ombs. This was also the origin of important character traits such as Luigi’s high jumping and Peach’s ability to float. Like Sweet Home for Capcom, this would be a cool way for Nintendo to celebrate its roots.
The Mysterious Murasame Castle
OG fans of The Legend of Zelda should definitely check this out. The Mysterious Murasame Castle did finally get a release outside of Japan for 3DS in 2014. So that just means there’s less of a reason why it’s not on Switch also.
This early Famicom title had Nintendo diving into the top-down adventure well again. Here you play as a samurai who must battle with ninjas, bomb-throwing goons, and even other samurai. You do use a sword when up close, however unlike The Legend of Zelda, your primary attack has you throwing swords and fireballs. This results in an action-oriented experience that has a more classic shooter approach. There’s even a spreadshot powerup in case there was any doubt.
If you haven’t played Devil World, you may be quick to dismiss it as just another Pac-Man clone. While this maze game does involve maneuvering around twists and turns to gobble dots, there’s more to it that makes it stand out. You play as a dragon who wages war against The Devil (yes, that guy) using the power of Christian symbolism. In order to gobble the dots to complete the maze, you must first collect Crosses which also allow you to blow fire at enemies. Meanwhile, The Devil has minions moving the maze in order to squish our green hero.
It’s no surprise that Devil World didn’t see a release here due to Nintendo of America’s strict policy on religious imagery. While the company’s current position on this hasn’t exactly flipped, it certainly has loosened. Perhaps Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the designers for this game, could grease the wheels a bit. Europe eventually got a release three years after Japan. So should we.
Akumajo Special: Boku Dracula-kun
We start spooky and we end spooky. While Americans got a taste of Dracula-kun with the Game Boy title Kid Dracula, it would be great to see an official release here of his debut. Akumajo Special: Boku Dracula-kun (Demon Castle Special: I’m Kid Dracula) is a spinoff of the Castlevania series. Despite that tie-in, it plays more like a Mega Man game than anything else. You move, jump, and shoot your way through levels and face bosses. While there are no paths to choose like in Mega Man, you do receive new abilities to take with you in the next stage.
Admittedly, Akumajo Special: Boku Dracula-kun would be next to impossible to see as an official release outside of Japan. There are very inappropriate references such as a Ku Klux Klan member with a swastika on his head being the first boss, and a mini-game where you have to guess the color of girls’ underwear. Despite iffy moments like that, this is still a very fun game with a great soundtrack. Even if censored, this would still be an enjoyable platformer for retro gaming fans.
Next time I’ll be looking at Super Famicom games that we should see on Nintendo Switch. Keep an eye out for that, and let me know if you played any of these Famicom titles!
David has been involved in games media since 2012 running his own blog, YouTube channel, being a founding member of RETRO Magazine, and now as host/producer of ARGcast – Another Retro Gaming Podcast. He also dabbles in voiceover and is occasionally a stunt double for Jude Law.