La Mulana Website

By: Derek Yu

On: August 14th, 2009

La Mulana

The Wii port of NIGORO’s La Mulana has a full site now, with information about the game and a blog (available in English or Japanese). The blog updated by the La Mulana staff, who say “Don’t think of this site as simple a general site for information to be released little-by-little. Think of it as a way to exchange ideas between the developers and fans. This official site is here with a purpose.”

  • falsion

    Under the profile for Lemeza Kosugi:

    “What you would call a PC fanboy and very able computer engineer, Kosugi always has his Mobile SuperX”

    Mobile SuperX


    Looks like the MSX is still in, in some shape or form, for those worried that they were getting rid of it.

  • falsion

    I wonder what clever ways they are going to use to get past all the other copyrights in the game.

  • Alex

    La Maluna was a piece of shit game, improving the graphics won’t help

  • BackInAction

    NO U

  • BackInAction

    I like this idea. I’m hoping that some elements of the game ARE dumbed down for the Wii port.

    I do not want to see:

    1) Requiring the player to equip a translation rom.

    2) The hand scanner as an item. Let me scan and throw sub-weapons without accessing any menus, thanks!

    3) Cheapass puzzles such as the one where you have to MEMORIZE pitch-black rooms. Fuck that noise.

    I DO want to see:

    1) Store all scanned clues in the computer. Mark all clue locations on area map.

    2) More contextual clues from the village elder. By virtue of that, less MSX-scenester ramblings.

    3) Ability to heal and save game at all teleportation points.



  • falsion

    Then I believe you’re playing the wrong game.

    The developers have said time and time again that they hate how easy and short modern games are. Why would they backtrack and betray their principals now?

  • falsion

    *principles, fuck I always make that typo. god damn it.

  • BackInAction

    falsion, can you explain to me how any of the changes I’ve proposed would make La-Mulana an ‘easier’ game?

    There’s a difference between logically-structured puzzles, and then those you just stumble onto.

    Having to write down (or take screenshots of) each clue is not fun.

    Having to constantly access menus to switch between items is not fun.

    Navigating pitch-black rooms randomly scanning for clues (when NOTHING in the game indicates you take this action) is neither fun nor logical.

    I’m not arguing that La-Mulana needs to be easier, but it sure as hell could be more accessible.

    And if they want to sell copies, it’s going to have to be.

  • BackInAction

    I made a typo/mistake myself:

    I meant to say:

    “There’s a difference between -solving- logically-structured puzzles, and then solving puzzles completely by accident or by attrition.”

    The former is much more satisfying than the latter.

  • falsion

    But again, this was made for a very specific “nostalgia” and memory of back in the days when games played on old computers required you to do things that seem tedious by today’s standards.

    Even with the graphics updated, it hasn’t lost those qualitiies. It still resembles a later post-MSX Japanese computer game much like the Falcom remakes of Brandish or Ys (at least that’s what the graphics remind me of now).

  • falsion

    Actually, now that I think of it, the graphics remind of the kind of graphics you’d see on Japanese post-MSX computers like the PC88 or X68000 now.

  • BackInAction

    I wouldn’t be opposed to a ‘classic’ mode which retained those qualities.

    However, gamers who grew up on the newer metroidvanias would find that archaic and tedious.

    It seems like they might be on the right track though – check out the map:

    In addition, I see Zelda-style inventory spaces up in the upper-right hand corner – that’s definitely a step in the right direction.

  • Rad

    I agree with BackInAction. La Mulana is a good game trapped inside a badly designed game. It’s not hard becuase it’s challenging, it’s hard because it’s tedious

  • Jumps

    It’s looking pretty swell to me

  • falsion

    It’s one of those games you either get or don’t get. If you never grew up with old computers, I mean really old computers and played the games back then, I doubt you can really understand why it’s designed that way. There is a certain charm to it that is lost on those who didn’t grow up with these kind of games. I can understand if you’re annoyed by it because I guess It’s kind of hard to long for something you never really grew up with.

  • BackInAction

    Oh, I grew up with it. But here’s the rub:

    You’re talking about harkening back to simpler times. La-Mulana is NOT simple.

    Goonies 2 and Maze of Galious were relatively simple. However, La-Mulana expands the scope dramatically, requiring hours to explore every nook and cranny.

    This is why certain ‘oldskool’ design decisions grate on the nerves.

    The new iteration appears to be replicating a 16-bit aesthetic; I just hope there’s a sensibility to match.

  • BackInAction

    Also, I wrote an earlier comment, but it apparently never got approved. Weird.

  • lboom

    >post-MSX computers like the PC88

    Sorry dawg, PC88 is actually a couple of years pre-MSX.

  • PF

    BackInAction, I have a few problems with your post. First of all, “3) Cheapass puzzles such as the one where you have to MEMORIZE pitch-black rooms. Fuck that noise.”

    When did you have to memorize pitch black rooms? I surely did not – you can simply walk a bit to get through them and then forget about it until they light up, which is what I did.

    And for what you want to see in it:
    “1) Store all scanned clues in the computer. Mark all clue locations on area map.”

    I cannot remember a game which does this. The Myst series did not do this; Metroid doesn’t do this; and did any of the Point and Click games made over the past decades have this feature? Remembering where things are, writing things down – that’s been a key part of many puzzly adventure games. I can admit that saving got tedious, and there are some other things like that which stand correcting – but when you change certain things you take away what makes the game what it is!

  • SirNiko

    I would be content to have something like Zelda: Phantom Hourglass where you had margins on your (in-game) maps for making your own notes. You get the benefits of having those clues stored at your fingertips (as opposed to scattered in notes across a desk) as well as the feeling of solving the puzzle yourself rather than having your hand held.

    I agree with BackInAction regarding logical puzzles versus randomly solving them by luck: It would be nice if the game had a journal or the like that kept track of your clues and informed you when you had solved the related puzzle and how the clue works into that. The puzzle with the doors with the numeric characters above them didn’t really make sense to me when I played it. Eventually I solved that with some trial and error, which really doesn’t lead to a satisfying conclusion. I wish I understood what I did to figure that one out.


  • Agent_Koopa

    I really don’t see the need for some of the proposed changes above. Teleporting back to the surface village was something I liked about the original game. It gave you more of a sense that you were exploring the ruins from your base camp. I also liked the fact that you had to write down some of the clues, actually. I think it lends the game a certain charm.

    I do think you should be able to heal at the village, though, instead of having to save and reload to accomplish the same effect.

    Memorizing the pitch-black rooms wasn’t particularly difficult, not if you had the flares to view the room several times in a row. What I did mind was the fact that you had to randomly check the floor to find the tablet that told you to use a flare to light a torch: both tablet and torch were invisible in the blackness. The game gave no indication that scanning the floor would lead anywhere. I’d like to see a hint tablet in the Temple of the Sun telling the player to scan the floor, or just make the tablet visible in the darkness.

    I agree that the village elder should give out more clues. This is a feature that I feel was underutilized.

  • falsion

    er, fuck I didn’t mean to include PC88 in that sentence. I did mean later PC88 games like the kinda stuff Falcom used to put out that looked way ahead of its time though, that even rivaled computers made way after it like the MSX.

  • falsion

    In the documentation for La Mulana, they mention The Tower of Druaga as one of their inspirations besides The Maze of Galious.

    Druaga is considered to be the worst game ever and to the Japanese, the best game ever, due to the simple fact that it was hard, really unfairly hard. If you’re complaining about La Mulana being tedious, you should play Druaga. That game is simply unforigiving. In Druaga you’d need certain items to advance to the next level, the only thing is the conditions to get them are never explained, ever. And if you miss even one item, you can’t go back or revisit previous levels. Without knowing every single nook and cranny about the game, you’d never beat it.

    The thing is though, the Japanese love this sort of thing. Games that are hard for the simple fact that they are vague and tedious and never quite tell you what to do. They fucking love that shit. They love finding out games that are insanely unfair. I know, it seems kinda fucktarded. But whether you like it or not, the creators of La Mulana have a nostolgia hard on for this shit. That’s why they made the game in the first place. And for that reason, I really don’t see them changing it or making it any easier.

    Telling them to even make it less tedious, would be like telling them to make another game, not the kind of frustrating and tedious as fuck shit they are infatuated with.

  • falsion

    But hey, it’s not that bad. I still think of it as an acquired taste. You learn to deal with it. At least it isn’t as bad as say, the Tower of Druaga.

    My point is this. They won’t change it or make it any easier. I really don’t see any way in hell they’d change it. They made the game that way not because of bad design, but because it was completely intentional, they wanted to make a game like that, that was indeed that tedious.

  • Bisse

    Falsion, i’m sorry you get frustrated by the hard puzzles, but just because the logic is lost on you doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    It’s a bloody hard game but one of its greatest accomplishments is the well designed puzzles; I managed to beat the game and except for one single puzzle, I was able to figure everything out based on clues and how the game works.

    It can definitely be much more accessible, and hopefully they will work on that for the Wii (otherwise the game won’t sell :( ). The accessability problem though is not with the puzzles or game design, rather it is with the frustrating start for new players and with assuming the player will read the manual (if you don’t, I don’t believe it is possible to beat the game.)

    That said I loved having to write down clues. It made me get involved with the game on a level beyond any other games i’ve played.

    I do believe they will change it. They’ve already shown they’re willing to let go of their retro vision and to implement changes. I think they would realize they need to make it easier for players to pick up and play.