Author’s Note: Since the publication of this piece, HPP received official names for the bosses in the game. The Tanuki Justice Boss guide has been adjusted as a result.
Here To Help You Slay Those Pesky Bosses
One of the greatest surprises for me this last part of 2020 was Tanuki Justice. I had no idea what to expect, and was very pleasantly surprised. While you’ll be able to read much more about that soon in my upcoming Tanuki Justice review, this guide is meant to help folks out. Mostly cause this is a game devoted to old school, and can be just as difficult as you might expect. Though I’ve played my fair share of retro hard games, and thus found the difficulty manageable, there’s no harm in making it easier for everybody else.
Note that I beat all the following Tanuki Justice bosses on both Normal and Hard, but not on Insane difficulty. Most bosses don’t showcase any new attacks or phases on Hard, with the exception of the final boss. At best, a few get additional minions. If you want a writeup for Insane, I’m unfortunately not that patient.
Stage 1 Boss – Bakeneko
Attacks: Spits fire that speeds towards you; Summons individual tiger heads that first slowly home in on you; Once more damaged, he’ll summon interlocking waves of tiger heads.
This guy is the first boss of Tanuki Justice for a reason. He’s pretty simple, but he can still kill you if you’re not careful. He’ll be sending out fire every few seconds, forcing you to jump over it. Make sure you don’t jump into the tiger heads he summons. You can also use them to power up your mega shuriken, and then smash him with it. Other than that, just keep dodging and attacking the glowing spot on his chest until he croaks.
Stage 2 Mini Boss – Tengu
Attacks: Flies up and down while summoning gusts of wind diagonal to his position; Occasionally stops and summons 4 large gusts of wind.
To beat the Tengu, first make sure your shuriken is powered up. Otherwise he can be hard to hit. Then, just get underneath the Tengu and fire straight upwards when he stops to fire a gust of wind. But if he stops moving and starts glowing, make sure to pick a safe location and try to keep wailing on him.
Stage 2 Boss – Ikatteiru saru
Attacks: Bounce around; Roll; Summon Minions.
Both of these damn dirty apes will bounce around the stage, forcing you to run underneath them. However, watch out for the orange one, who will occasionally roll towards you. The green one will also pose, summoning tiny simians in groups of three to distract you. Overall this is a pretty easy fight, so long as you focus on avoiding their attacks.
Stage 3 Ambush Area – Waterfall Assault
I hesitate to call this an actual mini boss, but figured I’d include it for good measure. You’ll be trapped in an area with foes coming by in waves. Those include bees that sway up and down while crossing the stage; pink birds that move up and down firing feathers at you and kappa that burst up from the water, firing blasts diagonally from their mouths. You’ll also have to avoid rocks rolling down towards you, which hit the ground then arc up in the opposite direction before falling off the screen. Though you’re more than encouraged to kill everything that moves, the foes won’t stick around. So you can just dodge all the threats until the game lets you proceed to the next area. If you want an extra helping hand, destroy the item box that serves as a platform beforehand. That’ll get you a nifty shield.
Stage 3 Mini Boss – Giant Fish
Attacks: Slowly float upwards while shooting bullets everywhere.
This guy also barely counts as a mini boss. But since killing it rewards you with an extra life, it’s worth your effort to deal with him. Basically just stay close to the fish, avoid the bullets and unleash a mega shuriken. Keep in mind you’ll have to keep climbing the waterfall after it while avoiding any smaller foes in your way. Then keep attacking til it croaks. If you’re not fast enough, the fish will escape with your 1-UP.
Stage 3 Boss – Abuh
Attacks: Spit giant bullets underneath itself; Spray the room with tiny bullets; Ties to lick you with his giant tongue; Summon school of fish.
This boss can be pretty tough. You’ll need to keep moving, and not stay directly underneath its head for any amount of time. That said, you also have to be careful not to fall off the stage to your death. The big bullets are easy enough to avoid. To avoid the spray of smaller bullets, just use a mega shuriken to give yourself some breathing room. But when his tongue comes out, be careful. He summons a school of fish soon after the tongue starts hunting you. You’ll need to keep hitting the tongue to keep it away, and also shoot downwards to kill any fish headed your way.
Stage 4 Ambush Area – Sunset Arena
Much like the ambush area in Stage 3, this one isn’t really a mini boss. But unlike that area, this one can be pretty difficult. You’ll face swarms of the hated shuriken-tossing yellow ninja, teleporting red ninja, explosive pumpkins, fox masks and finally a giant Gozuki (bull demon). You’ll need to defeat most everything to proceed, they won’t just wander off, other than the masks. I strongly recommend saving your mega shuriken for the last wave of masks, and try and use it to hit the Gozuki. Other than that, just jump over the Gozuki’s ground pounds and finish it off.
Stage 4 Mini Boss – Bunny Shogun
Attacks: Hurl giant energy balls forwards.
This boss comes right after the ambush area. A spiked cart will roll in from the left side of the screen, forcing you to jump onto it. There, you’ll find little bunny foo foo and his two ninja minions. They’ll charge you, so take them out before taking on the boss. He’s not all that difficult, since he only has one attack. However, the cart will produce jets of flame you’ll need to avoid while dodging his energy balls. Just position yourself close enough to hit him and jump over the balls while hitting him with shuriken. It won’t take long before he leaps away in shame.
Stage 4 Boss – Penda Samurai
Attacks: Toss shuriken to either side a few times; Hurl a wave of shuriken everywhere; Katana strike; Dash attack; Panda explosion.
This guy may be the smallest boss in the game, but he’s no pushover. He’s constantly moving and will switch up which attacks he uses. If he gets too close, his sneaky katana will try and slice you up. Otherwise he sticks with his shuriken attacks. The first one is easy to jump over, the second you just have to get lucky or use a mega shuriken to protect yourself. Once he gets really angry, he’ll glow and start dashing around. Thankfully he’ll clearly telegraph where he’s dashing next. Just keep moving and attacking and he’ll eventually go down. But be ready when he’s defeated, since he’ll try and get one last explosive attack in after the glowing panda face appears.
Stage 5 Ambush Area – Graveyard
This is by far the most challenging ambush area in the game. It’s also one of the most entertaining. It feels like a loving tribute to Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, and has undead hordes aplenty. There’s green zombies that burrow out of the ground, small and large skull ghosts that appear and chase you, meandering blue fire, and invulnerable fire reapers. The zombies are easy to avoid, and have an audio cue before the pop out. Likewise, the skull ghosts are pretty obvious, and they move towards your last position before they fully appear. The blue flame can’t be dealt with other than to avoid it, same as the fire reapers. Overall it’s not that bad, so long as you’re flexible and pay attention. If possible, go into this battle with a shield. You can find it a little bit earlier in the area with the item boxes that serve as steps and the disappearing electric faces.
Stage 5 Boss – Hakamori
Attacks: Spit zombie seeds; Fly while legs burrow upwards in waves; Spit fireballs while legs spike through the dirt.
This guy is a giant pain in the undead ass. The head is constantly moving separately from the body, but the head is your only target. When he’s spitting seeds, those that land turn into zombies and burrow up to charge you. This is actually the best time to inflict damage to the boss. Lock your aim at an upward right angle, and fling shuriken. You’ll want to hit some seeds, but focus on the head. When the head starts flying back and forth, watch the ground. The areas with disturbed dirt will quickly have his pointy legs burst forth in waves. You need to stand where there is no dirt and move to avoid them. Then when he starts firing fireballs, watch for the legs again and try and hit him while jumping. He’ll repeat these waves again and again til you destroy him, so learn them well.
Stage 6 Boss – Okami Kotei
Attacks: Claw swipe; Flare summon; Bullet hell; Bullet streams.
This guy is pretty rough no matter how you prepare. One important thing to keep in mind is he’s hovering in the background. So touching the Wolf won’t damage you. His attacks, however, are another matter. If you get too close, he’ll swipe down with his claws. Once you’ve angered him, he’ll rage and summon green flares on the ground. They’ll appear, then split and travel to both edges of the screen slowly. This will happen quite a bit, and you’ll probably lose a life in the process. Once that phase is done, he’ll start spamming circular bullets from both sides of the screen. Though slow moving, while this happens he’ll still try and swipe you. So you’ll have less room than usual to maneuver. Finally, he’ll have streams of light flash across the screen before blasting by. You have mere seconds to walk to a safe space before you get demolished by bullet hell.
Honestly your best bet is to not expect to beat him the first time you play, and just learn his attacks. It also helps to go into the battle with a shield. You can find one at the top of the elevator before him. But since that’s a bit away, it can be hard to hold onto. Just do your best and he’ll fall.
Final Boss – Habu Demon
Attacks: Fireball spit; Tracking bullets; Summon minions.
The Habu Demon is a huge problem. He’ll face you immediately after the Wolf Mahotsukai, and he’s much tougher. For one thing, the entire fight has the screen scrolling vertically. If you fall into the purplish goo at the bottom, you lose a life. So you need to keep moving and be wary of your surroundings. In the meantime, minions and irritants will constantly harass you while the Demon attacks. When he draws in a deep breath, he’s about to launch a fireball. Make sure you’re above his head when that happens. When his eyes start glowing, move at the last possible moment to draw his tracking bullets to safe spots. You don’t want him demolishing all the rocky platforms you’re standing on, since that often leads to you falling to your death.
Though the minions aren’t that tough, they can easily distract you. They come in a distinct pattern – floating cactus balls, rising sea urchins and finally cranky kappa. Of all of them, I find the cactus the most annoying, since they essentially teleport in, which makes them hard to predict. The urchins are easy, just stand to either side of them as they rise. The kappa aren’t too hard, rising and then slashing down. But they can break your platforms. So it’s best to kill as many as possible. I suggest reserving your mega shuriken to deal with the cactus balls by throwing it downwards. Everything else is easy enough to avoid. Though if you face the Habu Demon on Hard or higher, he adds a little extra annoyance to the fight, and has an eyeball helper in the last part of the battle. Not only can’t you damage it, but it shoots slow-moving lasers to throw you off your game. Overall, a worthy final boss for Tanuki Justice!
And that’s it for my Tanuki Justice Boss guide! I hope this proves helpful to those of you who end up getting stuck in the game. And be sure to read my upcoming full Tanuki Justice review for even more details about this wonderful throwback title.