Ghost Sweeper Mikami is a fairly decent Castlevania clone for the Super Nintendo that never made it outside of Japan. It’s based on a manga and anime of the same name but unfortunately the series never got released fully translated officially or as a fansub so I haven’t the foggiest what the hell is happening in this story. You play as a girl in a slutty dress beating up ghosts and collecting gems so you can slot them into an ominous looking statue, that’s as much as I can gather.
As an action platformer the game is pretty much standard fare. You run around each level attacking ghostly enemies with a cane type weapon that can be powered up to fire projectiles. You have two basic attacks. The standard attack has better range, while pressing up and attack initiates a downward strike that hasn’t got as much range and doesn’t utilises projectile power ups but does cover a wider area. One thing to note are the small platforms with what looks like a piece of cloth with an ‘O’ on them. You can grab these ledges by pressing up and attack. It’s not explained in the game so make note of it if you wish to try the game out.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami doesn’t scale the same heights as its contemporaries Super Castlevania 4 or Majyuouu but is none the less a fun game that’s worth trying out. It’s challenging but never frustrating and short but sweet. There’s good variety in the levels from haunted forests, scaling a waterfall to my personal favourite where you are shrunk to miniature size and have to travel along the roof tops on the back of a cat. Boss encounters are well designed although the third stages voodoo boss can be a bit of a difficulty spike. It’s a decent looking game with big, bold, colourful art, always a plus in my books. The second level uses some weird mode 7 effect on the background which I think is a failed attempt at a depth of field effect that fails miserably but it’s the only sore point I have with the visuals. There are some nice subtle visual touches; the one that stands out the most is that the main character changes her dress between each stage.
|Weird depth of field effect. Looks worse in motion.|
Ghost Sweeper Mikami isn’t one of those forgotten about gems in the SNES Japanese library that once discovered will blow you away in the way Majyuouu will. However it is a perfectly entertaining way to spend a few hours on a weekend if you are up for playing a SNES game that isn’t one of the well known classics. Now some more screenshots: