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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.
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  • 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:

  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Hiiragi, the beautiful priestess, is bonded with a beautiful fox spirit. They are the nicest of the playable characters, and have the most positive relationship.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shishin's ending suggests that he will have to fight for the rest of his life in order to protect his daughter. Also Kosame's ending, since Yasuhisha has sacrificed himself to save her life from the shikigami curse.
  • Cool Mask: Shishin wears an oni mask.
  • Creepy Child: Mikoto, especially her eerie smile in Shishin's ending. She is also fully aware of her powers.
  • Curse: Kirinmaru considers itself to be this for Gensuke's family.
  • Deadly Doctor: Kamono Gensuke, now an assassin.
  • 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.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The cutscenes are black-and-white, except for red blood and the blue eyes of some characters.
  • Demonic Possession: All three playable characters. Only Hiiragi Kosame has any sort of friendly connection with her shikigami. Shishin's daughter, Mikoto, is possessed by the final boss Guwange-sama
  • Demon Slaying: Kosame comes from a lineage of demon hunters.
  • Enfant Terrible: The second-to-last boss is 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 final boss battle.
  • Four Is Death: Shishin's name.
  • Gender Bender: The first boss is a male demon wearing the guise of a female dancer with six attendant ladies.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Several elemental artifacts must be collected before Guwange-sama himself can be reached.
  • Magitek: Shoulder-fired cannons, flying wooden gunships, mobile demonic temples, etc.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Shishin's shikigami, Rikiou, is also known as "The One Who Comes And Takes."
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The boss of Stage 3, Nekogumi (literally "Cat Spider").
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Averted. You can take multiple hits on one life.
  • Papa Wolf: Shishin puts himself through a Cave game in order to rescue his daughter.
  • Razor Wind: Enemy mooks do this.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Lots of them, stuck in pots or coming out of tombstones, in stages 3 and 6.
  • Youkai: The game's setting is based on this.