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Video Game / Guwange

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Top to bottom - Shishin (Murderer and Father), Kosame (Archer and Priestess), Gensuke (Doctor and Assassin)

Guwange is a Bullet Hell Shoot 'Em Up, made by Cave in 1999, with artwork by "Joker" Junya Inoue. It is the Muromachi Period in Japan, a time of great strife, chaos, and violence. Plagues are befalling the land, people are getting possessed by shikigami and dying after a year, and a malevolent power named Guwange-sama rules from Mount Gokumon. Three protagonists decide to attack Guwange, each having their own motives for doing so:

  • Shishin: An infamous murderer who wears an oni mask and is aided by the shikigami Rikiou, so that ordinary people think he really is a oni. His daughter, Mikoto, had incredible powers and was sought after by all sorts of powerful beings, finally ending up with Guwange-sama. Shishin seeks to get her back.
  • Hiiragi Kosame: She is a priestess and a guardian of nature who is bonded to Yasuhisha, a descendant of the Nine-Tailed Fox. Yasuhisha is aware that she will die within a year due to their bond, so together they set off to defeat Guwange-sama.
  • Kamono Gensuke: He was studying medicine when Kirinmaru came and possessed him. Now, he assassinates others for money and to appease Kirinmaru, but has heard that anyone who defeats Guwange-sama will be freed from possession by shikigami. Thus, Kamono Gensuke ventures forth.

Similar to Gunsmoke a decade prior, the player characters are humans walking on foot, and the stages scroll in many different directions as opposed to just straight-up or straight-right.

It is available in English on the X-Box Store (On X360 and BC on X1). This version has an XBOX Arrange Mode which allows independent movement of the character and shikigami, and some gameplay changes to make high-scoring more interesting.

Guwange contains examples of:

  • Bat Out of Hell: Swarms of bats come out to attack you every now and then.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Kosame, the beautiful priestess, is bonded with the beautiful fox spirit Yasuhisa. They are the nicest of the playable characters, and have the most positive relationship.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The final boss consists of the demonic Guwange-sama and its host, Amagizu.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shishin's ending suggests that he will have to fight for the rest of his life in order to protect his daughter, with the final scene of the credits has him surrounded by samurai. Also Kosame's ending, since Yasuhisha has sacrificed himself to save her life from the shikigami curse.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Shishin is able to live for longer than a year, despite being bonded with a shikigami, due to a special deal. Rikiou allows him to live as long as he kills humans to feed him. This led to his reputation as a man-eating murderer.
    • Fujihara Motohiko accepted demonic power to get revenge on the clan that destroyed his family, with the six attendant ladies that come with him during his boss fight being demons in disguise that are ready to kill him should he renounce the demonic pact made with them.
    • Ashikaga Sukouji made a deal with the monkey demon Magira to get revenge on his father for abandoning him because of his illegitimacy. Defeating Sukouji during the stage 5 boss fight releases Magira, which must be destroyed before entering Gokumon.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The cutscenes are black-and-white, except for red blood and the blue eyes of some characters, notably Shishin and Mikoto.
  • Demonic Possession: All three playable characters. Only Kosame has any sort of friendly connection with her shikigami. Shishin's daughter, Mikoto, is possessed by Guwange-sama.
  • Demon Slaying: Kosame comes from a lineage of demon hunters.
  • The Dreaded: Shishin's reputation as a mass murderer (well, probably not by choice) has led to villagers fearing him as a man-eating ogre.
  • Enfant Terrible: The second phase of the final boss fight has Guwange-sama taking the form of a gigantic demon baby.
  • Evil Counterpart: Most of the player characters and their shikigami are not very good to begin with, but Mikoto and Amagizu are even more powerful, and Amagizu is even more evil.
  • Evil Laugh: Heard in the background of stage 3, probably the ghosts themselves laughing. Mikoto also giggles evilly in the third phase of the final boss battle, though it's probably the result of Amagizu's or Guwange-sama's influence.
  • Gender Bender: The first boss, "Fujimura Shizuhiko", is a man named Fujihara Motohiko wearing the guise of a female dancer with six attendant ladies which are actually demons that he made a pact with.
  • Giant Spider: As normal enemies you encounter. Nekogumi is a giant spider with a cat's visage and legs.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Five elemental artifacts must be collected before Guwange-sama himself can be reached.
  • Gratuitous English: Kosame's ending has Mikoto suddenly speaking English, especially when the game has pretty much everything (to the point the name entry is in hiragana) is in Japanese one way or another.
    Mikoto: I'm Mikoto. The Divine Power has been bestowed upon me. I now recognize you as my master.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Yatsuhisha's goal is to free Kosame from her curse, and is willing to throw his life away so she can live.
  • Living Structure Monster: Kemonoyajiro, the boss of stage 4, is a mobile fortress in the shape of a temple. Destroying its hull reveals the demon powering the entity.
  • Magitek: Shoulder-fired cannons, flying wooden gunships, mobile demonic temples, etc.
  • Sequential Boss: The final boss consists of Amagizu's physical form on top of Guwange-sama, then Guwange-sama's physical form, followed by Mikoto with Amagizu's shikigami form, and finally Amagizu's shikigami form fused with Guwange-sama's spirit.
  • Youkai: The game's setting is based on this. Expect to get swarmed by Chōchin'obake (paper lantern ghosts), long-haired ghosts and oni.
  • Zerg Rush: One segment in the final stage has a swarm of demon imps going after you before the confrontation with Amagizu's physical form.