The Mysterious Murasame Castle, Famicom Disk System

Known in its native Japan as Nazo no Murasame Jō, The Mysterious Murasame Castle is an action adventure released by Nintendo for the FDS in 1986.

It came not long after the first Zelda (also released on the Famicom Disk System) and uses many Zelda gameplay elements in its design, except with a ‘Feudal Japan’ style setting.

Unfortunately the game was never released on the NES outside of Japan. An English fan translation does exist, though, and that’s the one I’ve featured here. For some reason it is called “Riddle of Murasame Castle” on the title screen.

The Mysterious Murasame Castle is a challenging action/maze game with pleasant graphics and atmospheric music. At times the game can be unforgiving, but – like all Nintendo games – there is more to The Mysterious Murasame Castle than at first meets the eye.



Esper Dream, Famicom Disk System

Esper Dream is a superb real-time, combat-based Role-Playing Game for the Famicom Disk System. It was developed by Konami and released in Japan in 1987.

Esper Dream features real-time combat that takes place inside a small, gladiatorial arena. Every time you touch an enemy on the exploration screen, combat kicks in and takes you to this arena and you run around shooting things until combat ends. Not only that, but you can see the footprints of potential enemies walking around the landscape when you’re exploring, so you can avoid combat by not touching them – a nice feature in a game like this.

Although it was never officially released outside of Japan, an English fan translation of Esper Dream made its way onto the internet in 2003, making the game easier to play for non-Japanese speakers.

Esper Dream is mostly a simple find-and-fetch sort of action/adventure, and a very good one it is too, which is why it has been re-released a number of times on more modern platforms.


Monty On The Run, Famicom Disk System

Now this is a weird one… Monty On The Run (aka Monty no Doki Doki Daidassou) is a bizarre Japanese conversion of a famous British platform game. It was released by Jaleco in 1987 and bears little resemblance to the classic original.

Instead of a cute mole Monty has been turned into a Peter Sutcliffe lookalike ‘convict’ type character who is of course ‘on the run’ from the authorities. Monty can somersault – just like in the original – and can carry a ‘freedom kit’ of two items that may be of use during the escape. Other than those two elements, the rest of the game is totally different.

That’s not to say that Monty On The Run is a bad game. It isn’t. It’s actually a surprisingly good Metroidvania type adventure that is well worth playing if you can find a copy.

More: Monty no Doki Doki Daidassou on Wikipedia

Castlevania, Famicom Disk System

The Famicom Disk System version of Castlevania was the very first Castlevania game ever released, it being published by Konami in 1986.

It began a long-running series of platform/horror-themed video games and set the template for the Castlevania series as a whole.

You play the infamous Simon Belmont, a whip-wielding monster-killer on a mission to defeat Count Dracula in his castle. Simon must avoid the many monsters that attack him by either hitting them with his increasingly powerful whip, or by using special, limited weapons that can be picked up as he progresses.

Castlevania was such a hit on the Famicom Disk System that it was re-released on cartridge for the NES in 1987. It has also been re-released and re-made numerous times for a variety of different platforms.


Famicom Disk System Special

The Famicom Disk System (FDS) was a peripheral for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) that allowed games to be loaded from disk rather than cartridge. Not only that but it also had extra RAM on board and an extra sound chip.

It was only ever released in Japan but the FDS did have good support from software companies and a number of classic titles appeared for it. Nintendo themselves supported it heavily, with Zelda, Metroid and Mario all appearing on the format.

This week I’m going to be posting grabs from a selection of unique and interesting Famicom Disk System games. Enjoy!

The King of Grabs



TwinBee, Arcade

Released into arcades in 1985, TwinBee is a cute, vertically-scrolling shooter that is much more challenging than it looks.

TwinBee is a progressive weapons-style shoot ’em up that can be played either single or simultaneous two-player. The aim is to shoot as many of the baddies as possible, to release various bonuses and power-ups, and to build up your weapons power to make beating the bosses easier.

Some enemies fly and others are ground-based, but luckily you can fire forward as you fly, or drop bombs on the ground in front of you, so you can deal with both.

Shooting certain clouds might also reveal a bell, which will bounce up the screen, then slowly down, ready for you to touch it. You can shoot the bells to change their colour, but this also knocks them back up the screen again, so you have to wait longer to grab them. The bells are a key gameplay element in TwinBee and the mechanic works extremely well.

Another cool feature of TwinBee is the way that your craft can absorb the impact of a bullet if it hits the arms on the side of your ship. You lose an arm, but keep a life, which can mean the difference between completing a level or not.

If you’re playing two-player and know how to hang on to your weapons, then TwinBee is a fair challenge. If you’re playing single-player and can’t hang on to your weapons then you’re probably in for a world of hurt… 🙂


Indianapolis 500: The Simulation, PC

Known affectionately as ‘Indy 500‘, this high octane race game broke new ground when it was first released in 1989.

It was one of the first racing games to become a full-on racing simulation, and actually feel as though you could get somewhere with it. Indy 500 wasn’t as impenetrable as something like Revs. It was (and still is) extremely playable…

Indianapolis 500: The Simulation also contains an innovative and easy-to-use replay feature, which allows you to re-run races from a variety of angles, and also pause and rewind the action as desired.

It may be quite simplistic by today’s standards, but Indy 500 can still give a brilliant race now. The speed and exhilaration as you play are outstanding.


Daytona USA, Sega Saturn

A launch title – and a so-called ‘Killer App’ – for the Sega Saturn in 1995, Daytona USA is a conversion of the famous Sega arcade race game.

Sega rushed Daytona USA to market, to make the Saturn launch date, so the earliest version (shown here) had a number of problems. For starters: the track textures are a bit skew-whiff, and the draw distance is pretty poor. Thankfully these faults were fixed in later versions.

If you want to play Daytona on the Sega Saturn I recommend skipping this and playing the 1996 Championship Circuit Edition instead. It’s much better.