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Video Game / Touhou Kenbun Roku

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Meet our heroes: Bunroku and Marco, in Shifting Sand Land of all places.

Touhou Kenbun Roku (東方見文録, The Travels of Marco Polo) is a text based adventure game, released for the Famicom by Natsume as a Japanese exclusive. It focuses on a troublemaker known as Bunroku, whom travels to the times of famous explorer Marco Polo.

Despite the fact that the title has "Touhou (東方)" on it, it hasn't any relation to the ZUN's long-running video game franchise. This is an actual Japanese word meaning "Eastern" which can also be read as "Higashikata".

This game provides examples of:

  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel: Jump Scares everywhere, some quite disturbing looking characters, and that ending.
  • Bamboo Technology: Midway through Chapter 4, Bunroku pulls out a rocket launcher made from bamboo, and open fires on a giant mansion.
  • Blackface: One of the first characters you meet, in the very first part of the game after starting proper. The genie from the magic lamp also evokes the imagery to a lesser extent.
  • Distressed Dude: Happens to Bunroku in Chapter 2.
  • Double Meaning: A hilariously catastrophic example bordering on Pun. When Bunroku activates his controller to summon the Kami Kaze, a strong wind intended to take down an invading fleet of ships, the time machine's control somehow malfunctions and insteads sends a kamizake airplane squad from WWII, who gun down everything in sight leading to the Downer Ending.
  • Downer Ending: Following Marco's death, Bunroku washes up on some island which is some sort of detainment for those who mess with history. Bunroku is forced to accept his captor's "hospitality" ending into a tiny, shared Japanese bathtub, where he soon goes insane, declaring "this is not Japan" and leaving him screaming for his mommy in the style of Edvard Munch's famous "The Scream".
  • Madness Mantra: Bunroku repeats "This is not Japan" and "Mommy" over and over again while he is forced to share the bathtub with some nutjobs in the ending.
  • Mushroom Samba: In Chapter 2, following his Distressed Dude moment, Bunroku gets drunked up and begins hallucinating.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: During Chapter 3, you meet a king and his daughter. You can opt to touch the daughter, and if you do, the game abruptly ends.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Where a good ordeal of the first three chapters are set in, on occasion reaching the levels of Impassable Deserts.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Jesus divekicks Bunroku while still attached to the cross.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Unused in the final version of the game; during the final chapter, when Marco is killed by gunfire from several planes, his head was intended to implode; in the final, he just blinks, and disappears, supposedly drowning after taking a fatal wound, from the massive array of gunfire. The graphics for the explosion are still in the ROM.
  • Villain Protagonist: In a way, Bunroku is the villain of the story, messing up with history to prevent the invasion of ancient Japan from outside forces ensuring its future prosperity. Even though this can paint him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, the game makes it clear this is his own personal experiment done on a whim. Although the game is so chaotic and comedic in tone, and Bunroku's inability to escape karma for his actions that it somewhat lessens the effect.