Released on 12/11/92, published by Sunsoft
Sunsoft released Benkei Gaiden for the PC-Engine (Turbo Grafx 16) in 1989 and then followed up with this game in 1992. It's not a remake or a direct sequel, but from what I saw on youtube of the first game, it seems to be very similar in gameplay.
The title is a reference to Musashibo Benkei, the famous warrior monk who served Yoshitsune during and after the Genpei Wars. However, this game takes place in 1274, 80 years after the death of Yoshitsune and Benkei. Kublai Khan has just attempted his first invasion of Japan, which was repelled by the "kamikaze" hurricane. Immediately Japan begins to prepare for his next invasion (which happened in 1281). There are various legends about Yoshitsune, claiming that he didn't commit seppuku but instead escaped and lived in Hokkaido, or even that he went to China and became Genghis Khan. Someone in the game did mention this legend so maybe it will end up being part of the story.
According to the instruction manual, the kamikaze was called up by ancient magic, and once Genghis Khan realized this he sent one of his generals Jugon (呪魂) to Japan. The current shogun, Hojo Tokimune, has started to collect and send out his own magic uses to counter the Jugon and their spirit army.
The main character's default name is Fudo, which you can change to anything and even draw your own kanji (or pictures) if you want. You can also choose between a male or female, which is the first game so far on this blog that lets you do that.
As you can probably tell, this game is very Japanese themed. No Western loan words are used, even for things like the settings (instead of the usual "stereo" and "mono" for sound it's 双 and 一). The one exception seems to be "level" for experience level. Perhaps this is why there's no walkthrough up on GameFAQs: if you can't read kanji at a pretty high level this is going to be a tough game to play.
The world map is based on Japan, and the towns you visit are actual towns roughly in their correct places.
|The world map|
|Fudo vs. a monster|
|Fudo vs. Rakan|
|Tokoyo, the swordsman|
|Mikage, also a swordsman|
In a nearby shrine, Fudo meets Jugon himself.
He wipes the floor with our heroes, but Saizo appears and sacrifices his life to save them. They wake up on the mainland, in Dewa Sanzan. In order to reach Kyoto we'll have to go south through the Echigo pass, but they won't let us go past without the Green Ring.
|Fudo and Dewa Sanzan|
The random encounter rate is fairly high, but the battles go quickly. A lot of enemies flee, for some reason.
At the capital we learn that we have to find the Tensho Ryubu book to call forth the tower. This involves going to the Road to Yomi (Hades), and there are a few fetch quests necessary to open up the road. Once in there, there are a bunch of annoying enemies that cast instant death spells, but the dungeon's not very long. Once we find the book, it's time to go back to the capital to call forth the tower.
|The Shuko Tower|
In Kamakura, we find that the Shogun is with Meisa, the mysterious spirit girl that saved us in the tower. She came from China, but has lost her memories due to an accident on the boat. The Shogun wants us to go to the Kasumi Clan and get their help.
|Meisa's spirit again|