Up to Speed: La-Mulana

By Ishaan . August 2, 2009 . 2:39pm


The recently announced La-Mulana for WiiWare has been getting a ton of attention lately. It was originally a freeware doujin game created by GR3 Project for PCs.,


When I first saw the above picture on the official site for La-Mulana, it reminded me a lot of Indiana Jones. In fact, it’d be kind of hard for anyone not to think of him, given that the game’s protagonist brandishes a whip and dons a very similar hat. Although, if you look closely, he also has a shuriken sticking out of his shirt pocket.


Indiana Jones isn’t the only familiar franchise La-Mulana draws inspiration from either. The game itself is a 2D side-scrolling action platformer similar to Metroid and Castlevania. — and when I say “Metroid and Castlevania,” I actually mean it. I’ve never understood why people felt those two were similar at all, but La-Mulana does in fact emphasize exploration and power-ups that grant you access to new areas, and well, you carry a damn whip and shuriken for God’s sake.


The adventure involves you — Lemeza Kosugi — searching for hidden treasure in the ancient ruins of La-Mulana, competing against your own father who is trying track down the same booty.


The entire aesthetic of La-Mulana from the UI to the music and the graphical style is meant to resemble an MSX game. On boot up, the game displays the available memory and MSX logo before letting you access the main menu, although, whether or not this feature will remain in the WiiWare version remains to be seen.


Kosugi even carries an MSX laptop with him on his adventures, and you can insert a variety of cartridges you collect along the way into it to enable different power-ups. Items like a “hand-scanner” (scan visor?) allow you to examine tablets and the bodies of previous unfortunate explorers in order to collect items and solve puzzles.


Unlike Metroid, however, La-Mulana provides players with few opportunities to restore their HP, and the environment puzzles are particularly devious. There’s a lot of restoring health at savepoints and attempting objectives multiple times to make sure you get through with as little damage taken as possible.


La-Mulana is being published by Nicalis, who are also publishing Cave Story and Night Game for WiiWare. While the final release date hasn’t been locked down — WiiWare developers are often left at the mercy of Nintendo’s less than stellar online division in this regard — we do know the game will see a North American release sometime this fall.


Many thanks to Denpa no Sekai for the tip!

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  • Whoa this is coming to wiiware?
    I only played a little of the freeware game and I did enjoy it a little.

  • Tye The Czar

    According to Nigoro, La Mulana’s biggest influence overall is Maze Of Galious. It debuted on the MSX in Japan and Europe, and got a Japan-only port for the NES with various changes.

  • Reminds me of Spelunker.

    • jarrodand

      I’d like to see Nicalis pick up Spelunky actually.

  • I hope they have a mode which reuses the original graphics. The 8-bit style looked great! Either way, it’s always good news to see more well made indie games arriving on a console.

    Also, if anyone is trying the free version for the first time, remember that you can walk to the left when you start the game. I went straight to the right and was stuck for an hour looking for some Metroid-style breakable block. :P

    • jarrodand

      Yeah, I vote for an “original mode” too, there’s just a certain charm in the original MSX-y 8bit visuals that I miss here. They’re doing it for Cave Story, they should do it for La Mulana too.

  • My pleasure. I can’t wait for this. The new graphics look fantastic, too.

    • Nicalis are really putting out some potentially promising stuff. Cave Story, La-Mulana, Night Game…they all look awesome.

      • They LOOK awesome, but the delays on Cave Story are starting to irritate a lot of people…

        • Why is it getting delayed? I haven’t been keeping track of it…is it Nicalis or just Nintendo screwing around with WiiWare dates as usual?

          • lostinblue

            Basically “we’re not launching it before it’s ready” (TM)

            60 frames, complete overhaul, some bugs appeared, and other improvements/inclusions (like the option to fallback to the original graphics/music and stuff.

            It’s coming alone fine, but it’s taking it’s time to do so. Hopefully I’ll be able to buy it day one when it’s out.

          • MadMirko

            And that probably also applies to the other 2 titles Ishaan mentioned.

            I guess it’s bad for the release schedule if your company is busy with more games than it has employees? ;)

          • They’re working on a fourth game, too. “Q” or something. Like Aoshi said, small company with too many projects. :/

            But hey, if it works out, more power to them.

          • lostinblue

            ^ Even if it works… I think delaying their releases too much might have a negative effect on the hype.

            That said, the quality should be a perk up, for the brand name and stuff, that shouldn’t be overlooked.

            But I agree, they’re doing too many project at once, before delivering the previous announced ones.

      • @Mirko: *cough*GRIN*cough*

  • Hugo

    Can’t believe no one named ‘Rick Dangerous’ on this one.

  • tomamimaki

    I always thought La Mulana was inspired by the Maze Of Galious or King’s Valley series…

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