Genpei Tōma Den (源平討魔伝) is a Japanese game series taking place after the Genpei War. One of the samurai killed in the war, Taira no Kagekiyo,note is brought back from the dead as a wraith in order to get his vengeance. He slashes his way through the living, dead, and undead to finally defeat Minamoto no Yoritomo.
There were three games in the series:
- Genpei Tōma Den (1986), which got a North American release (as "The Genji and the Heike Clans") when it was included in Namco Museum Vol.4.
- Genpei Tōma Den: Computer Board Game (1988) - The same story, except in an RPG format.
- Genpei Tōma Den: Kan no Ki (源平討魔伝 巻ノ弐) (1992) - The same story, except as a standalone Expansion Pack focusing on the side-scrolling "big" mode, and with more boss fights. It was released in North America as "Samurai Ghost".
There is also a fanmade fighting game available here.
The game was also adapted as a web manga hosted by ShiftyLook under the name Scar.
Nowadays, the series is mainly known for contributing Taira no Kagekiyo to Namco × Capcom, where he joined many other obscure Namco characters.
The elements of these games were borrowed into the Japanese live-action series Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, as well as its North American footage adaptation Power Rangers Samurai. The motifs were also used for Kamen Rider Ghost.
This game series provides examples of:
- Advancing Wall of Doom: One of these appears in Kan no Ki, in the form of a wall of lava that is being spewed out by a volcano in the background.
- Ascended Extra:
- Onihime was originally a common enemy in the top-down-view levels. She was promoted to a boss in Kan no Ki.
- The Humongous Mecha was originally an uncommon enemy in the side-view "small" mode levels, but was also promoted to boss in Kan no Ki.
- Animal Motifs: Kiso no Yoshinaka is associated with bulls, while Onihime seems to be made of butterflies.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: When Kiso no Yoshinaka is defeated, he turns his sword on himself while screaming "Mugen!"
- Boss Rush: Kan no Ki has one, leading to the final boss.
- Covers Always Lie: The title screen shows Taira no Kagekiyo with a katana, whereas in the side-view "big" mode he clearly uses a straight sword.
- Dem Bones: As usual for the genre, there are enemy skeletons. One skeleton with a greatsword appears as a boss in Kan no Ki.
- Developer's Room: There are several bonus stages where the developers make an appearance.
- Evil Counterpart: Kiso no Yoshinaka has almost the exact same moves as Taira no Kagekiyo. The fan game represents this by having them be the Ryu and Ken types.
- Evil Laugh: Minamoto no Yoshitsune laughs and screams a lot. There's also the creepy laugh of the witch who guides Taira no Kagekiyo.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: The Minamoto clan is usually portrayed as the heroic warriors in history, but in this game, they're the demonic villains. Well, the Taira clan and in particular Kagekiyo are also demonic over here, but they're the good guys.
- Humongous Mecha: The big samurai-helmeted robot.
- Kitsune: Nine-tailed foxes appear as normal enemies.
- Magic Music: The magical biwa player summons creatures and the shapes of creatures with his music.
- Market-Based Title: Kan no Ki was renamed Samurai Ghost in North America.
- When the original arcade game was included in Namco Museum Vol. 4, it was renamed The Genji and the Heike Clans in North America.
- Our Dragons Are Different: These ones shriek in a really high-pitched voice.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Taira no Kagekiyo is going on one despite being dead.
- Scenery Porn & Scenery Gorn: The first and third games pushed their systems to their limits with regard to scenery. Kan no Ki in particular has scenes such as ethereal realms full of floating candles, gigantic mountains with some mystical symbol on them, etc.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The path to the final boss in Kan no Ki requires breaking the ropes that seal the bosses you have already defeated earlier, thus causing the Boss Rush afterwards.
- Shock and Awe: Raijin and Fuujin, the gods of lightning and thunder, appear as bosses in Kan no Ki.
- SNK Boss: Sure enough, the fan game has a superpowered version of Minamoto no Yoritomo as the final boss.
- The Unfought: The magical biwa player is not killable in the original, although he becomes a boss in Kan no Ki.