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The controls for this game are dependent upon the context in which you are using them. Player 1 controls Goemon, while Player 2 controls Ebisumaru. The descriptions below specify Goemon, but they are equally applicable to Ebisumaru.


  • Neutral dpad: Use the direction pad to control Goemon. Pressing a direction will cause Goemon to run in that direction. Goemon can run in the four cardinal directions, as well as in each diagonal.
  • A button: Press the A button to make Goemon jump. Use it in conjunction with the control pad to direct which way Goemon jumps.
  • B button: Press the B button to attack. For more information about each character's attacks, see below.
  • Start button: Pauses the action mid-game.
  • Select button: Unused.


  • Up dpad: Moves Goemon one step forward in which ever direction he happens to be facing.
  • Left dpad / Right dpad : Rotates Goemon ninety degrees to the right or to the left.
  • Down dpad: Makes Goemon perform an about-face, rotating him 180° from his current direction.
  • A button: Press the A button to view the map, if Goemon currently possesses one for the particular dungeon he is in.
  • Select button: If you possess the Elephant doll, you can use it up to instantly exit a dungeon.


  • Neutral dpad: Though only useful to reach the entrance of the dungeons, you can use the direction pad to run around in a shop.
  • A button: Press the A button to purchase the selected item in a shop, or to select the highlighted response in a dialog.
  • B button: Press the B button to cycle through the shop items, or dialog choices.


Ganbare Goemon 2 sprite Goemon.png

This is Goemon, the hero of feudal Japan. As the name suggests, his character was loosely based on Ishikawa Goemon, the noble thief of Japanese folklore. Goemon is very much like a Robin Hood figure of Japan; he primarily steals from the rich in order to give back to the poor and oppressed. And that is precisely what you need to help Goemon do. Goemon is a very good hearted person with a strong sense of justice. Goemon must collect three passes in every stage except the first, in order to advance to the next stage. He must do so within a set time limit, or he will be unable to help the poor. Upon escaping from each stage, he delights the nearby villagers by waking them at night, dispensing much of the money he has collected from the corrupt noblemen (this money does not come out of the fund that you are maintaining for Goemon).

Ganbare Goemon 2 sprite Ebisumaru.png

This time around, Goemon isn't alone in his fight. A second player can play along too by taking control of Ebisumaru. This character based on a legendary figure known as Nezumi Kozō, nicknamed Jirokichi, a Japanese thief who lived in Edo during the Edo period who was also believed to have been a Robin Hood-like figure. Ebisumaru plays almost identically to Goemon, except when it comes to his weapons.

Goemon and Ebisumaru are capable of donning a lot of equipment that can protect them from several different kinds of attacks, but this equipment can wear down and break over time and must be replaced. They can only take so many hits before dying, but if they finds a package, they can extend their health bars from 8 to 12. Goemon and Ebisumaru only have so many chances to complete their mission before they runs out of tries, but they can collect extra chances by buying them in stores, or finding hidden items.


Both Goemon and Ebisumaru are capable of using a few different weapons, but they can only swing one of their possessions like a club until they obtain power-ups. By jumping over gourds and revealing cats, they can change their weapon every time they catch a cat (see Items for more information.) Catching cats allows them to switch back and forth between two projectile weapons, but they will return to their initial club weapon if they get hit and take damage from an enemy.

Goemon's attacks
Ganbare Goemon 2 attack Goemon A.png Initially, Goemon attacks with his Kiseru smoking pipe, which he uses like a club. He can only attack in four directions, whichever direction Goemon happens to be facing.
Ganbare Goemon 2 attack Goemon B.png After he collects a cat, he can fire a koban coin at his enemies. This too can only be fired in four directions. This is generally Goemon's most effective weapon.
Ganbare Goemon 2 attack Goemon C.png If he collects another cat, his weapon will change to that of a firecracker which explodes like a small bomb. Firecrackers are set down on the ground, but if an enemy gets close enough, they roll in the enemy's direction and attack them.
Ebisumaru's attacks
Ganbare Goemon 2 attack Ebisumaru A.png Initially, Ebisumaru starts by clubbing people with the flute that he always carries around with him. It works like Goemon's Kiseru pipe, although it's a bit smaller.
Ganbare Goemon 2 attack Ebisumaru B.png After he or Goemon collect a cat (powering up is shared by both players), Ebisumaru will toss round fireworks that resemble small smoke bombs. He can't through them very far, and they land on the ground.
Ganbare Goemon 2 attack Ebisumaru C.png Collecting another cat will unlock Ebisumaru's best weapon, Shurikens (throwing stars) which travel across the whole screen. When flying through the air, they have a small wave motion.