Shantae is a action platformer developed by WayForward Technologies and published by Capcom for the Game Boy Color on June 2, 2002. The game was released late in the life of the Game Boy Color and featured several enhancements when played on the Game Boy Advance. Despite Shantae's initially poor sales the game eventually became a cult classic and fostered a passionate fan base. The game was released on the 3DS Virtual Console on June 20, 2013.
Shantae is a half genie that is tasked with protection of the land. She spends her time protecting Scuttle Town while hanging out in her Lighthouse. When Risky Boots steals something precious from a resident of the town, Shantae goes after her in order to fulfill her duty.
The most fearsome pirate on the high seas, Risky Boots is the leader of an army of robotic Tinkerbats. She is on a quest to collect the steam engine and the various stones that can power it, in order to build a fearsome ship she can use for her evil deeds.
Whether he is named after the weapon he carries, or the other way around, is unknown. What is known is that Bolo is a fairly stupid person that has a very soft spot for the ladies.
When Shantae is told to visit the Zombie Caravan, she runs across a strange bunch of zombies apparently lead by this young corpse. Rottytops is fiercely competitive, especially when it comes to running.
Sky is an old friend of Shantae and an accomplished falconeer. She has her bird Nomad trained so well that it was able to lead Shantae to her distant destination.
Mimic is an old friend of Shantae and a resident of Scuttle Town. He was the inventor of the steam engine that Risky stole to use for her own purposes.
Shantae is a side-scrolling platformer that plays similarly to a Castlevania game, where the main character wanders the world taking out enemies with her whip (the difference being that Shantae doesn't wield a whip, but in fact her own hair). Shantae is also able to transform by performing a variety of dances, and some of those transformations bring powerful attacks with them. Those transformations allow her to progress throughout the world, similar to new abilities in the Castlevania line.
However, the towns and HUD are much more reminiscent of a Zelda game. She is supplied with three hearts worth of life at the beginning of the game, and enemy attacks generally take half a heart. Beating enemies causes their corpses to drop rupee-like currency, which she can use on items. She can purchase a variety of items that allow her to become invisible, shoot fire, or heal herself. Shantae is given a slot in which to equip her items. The towns are laid out in a circular manner, allowing the player to rotate around and select places to visit, such as the store and spa(which allows her to replenish her hearts). It could also be said that the dances she performs could be parallels to the numerous musical instruments used to activate different powers in Zelda games, as she has to keep rhythm for her dances just like the Windwaker. Also in each town can be found a squid mother who is looking for her children and a building devoid of fireflies.
- Monkey Dance. It allows Shantae to transform into a monkey to climb walls and enter small passages. It is performed by pressing Down and Right and is obtained in the Bubble Fountain.
- Elephant Dance. It allows Shantae to transform into an Elephant to slam into enemies and objects and reveal hidden passages. It is performed by pressing Down and Up, and is obtained in the Golem Mines
- Spider Dance. It allows Shantae to transform into a Spider and crawl along webbing and certain walls. It is performed by pressing Down and A, and is obtained in the Cackle Mound Labyrinth
- Harpy Dance. It allows Shantae to transform into a harpy and fly anywhere in Sequin Land. It is performed by pressing Down and B and is obtained in the Twinkle Palace.
- Heart Dance
- Tinkerbat Dance. It allows Shantae to transform into a strangely powerful Tinkerbat that can also use the powers of the Monkey, Elephant, and Spider dances. It is obtained from a strange merchant in Bandit Town and is performed by pressing Down, Up, and Up. The Tinkerbat dance can only be obtained when playing on a Gameboy Advance.
- Monkey Powerup. Allows Shantae to attack in Monkey form
- Elephant Powerup. Allows Shantae to attack in Elephant form
- Spider Powerup. Allows Shantae to attack in Spider form
- Harpy Powerup. Allows Shantae to attack in Harpy form.
The game starts with Shantae emerging from her lighthouse to realize that Scuttle Town, of which she is protector, was under attack by Risky boots, and her band of lousy pirates. When Shantae confronts Risky Boots, she discovers that Boots has stolen a Steam Engine from the villages Relic Hunter, Mimic. Shantae makes her way to water town, where she meets a buffoon by the name of Bolo, who knows where Risky Boots has gone. He leads Shantae to the Bubble Fountain. Once inside, she meets an imprisoned genie that teaches her the monkey transformation dance. She uses the monkey transformation to defeat the boss of the temple, which Risky Boots was unable to tame, and recovers the Dribble Stone. After being told that she needs to find the Golem Stone, her next destination is Oasis Town.
After trekking across the desert and hoping over many a manticore and cactus, Shantae arrives in Oasis Town, where she is greeted by her old friend Sky and her friend Wrench. Sky sends Wrench to find the Golem Mines, where she suspects the Golem Stone is waiting.
Shantae eventually comes across the Golem Mines, where she finds yet another imprisoned genie, and sets her free to learn the elephant transformation dance. She reaches the bottom of the mine and the location of the Golem Stone only to find that Risky Boots has once again beat her to it. Shantae reveals that she knows all about Risky's plan to use the relics to power her Steam Engine, and as Risky attempts to take the Golem Stone, a giant Golem appears out of the darkness to knock her away, leaving Shantae to fight the beast alone. She succeeds and recovers the Golem Stone.
Once she emerges from the cave, Shantae is greeted by Wrench, who has a note for her from Sky. Sky says that she has found someone who knows the location of one of the magical stones, by the name or Rottytops, and mentions that she is part of the Zombie Caravan.
Shantae makes her way to the Caravan and comes across a cart with a "keep out" sign across the front. Naturally, she goes inside, and finds Rottytops, who immediately challenges Shantae to a race, with the price of losing being Shantaes brains. When Shantae wins the race, Rottytops brings her to her next destination, the Cackle Mound Labyrinth, and the location of the Simmer Stone. Rottytops uses her femur to unlock the foreboding dungeon, and Shantae enters.
Once inside, Shantae discovers that the Labyrinth is full of zombies and other undead creatures. She comes across yet another genie, who in gratitude teaches her the Spider dance, which Shantae uses to climb along the many spider webs around the dungeon. She manages to beat Risky Boots to the Simmer Stone, but still has to fight a creature in order to claim possession of it. Emerging victorious, Rottytops tells Shantae that the last relic should be somewhere in the area of Mount Pointy for the Twinkle Stone, and that Rottytops and her caravan would be moving in order to stay one step ahead of Risky Boots.
Shantae makes her way past the desert into the mountains, and happens upon the sleepy village of Bandit Town, complete with its own tavern and resident protection genie. After speaking which the genie, who chooses not to reveal her name, she leads Shantae to the summit of Mt. Pointy, and unlocks the door to the Twinkle Palace, whose tunnels stretch throughout the mountain. Shantae finds yet another genie imprisoned by a monster of the labyrinth, and from her learns a dance that turns her into the flying harpy creature. She uses the power to pounce on top of the leashed dragon plaguing the dungeon and retrieve the Twinkle stone momentarily.
As soon as she leaves the palace, the genie she met in the town below binds her with a magic spell and reveals herself to be Risky Boots. Risky takes each of the artifacts Shantae has acquired for her own and runs away to her hideaway. Not knowing where to find Risky Boots, Shantae meets with Mimic in Scuttle Town, where he suggests that she go to the highest place she can find and look out for Risky and her lair. After flying around in the desert in her newly learned Harpy form, Shantae comes across a platform in the sky with a magical telescope attached. The telescope talks to her, asking to look into her soul before she may use it, and decides she is worthy of looking through the device. She almost immediately spots Risky's lair, an island, and the Telescope kindly teleports her to the location.
Upon landing on the Island, Shantae is immediately assaulted by an array of Tinkerbats with a variety of weapons, like mechas and pistols. She has to smash the pillars that block her path in elephant form, climb through the plumbing in her monkey form, and climb above spiked pits in her spider form in order to make it to Risky Boots office, where she drops Shantae into the hanger holding her new weapon, the Tinkertank! Unfortunately for Risky, Shantae makes her way inside the behemoth and destroys the artifacts, and in doing so destroys the vehicle. In a blind rage, Risky attacks Shantae with everything she has, but fails to defeat her, so instead tries to leave Shantae to blow up with the entire fortress.
Shantae tries to fly up and out of Riskys cave in her Harpy transformation before being blown to bits, and exits the complex much like the millenium falcon exited the Death Star before passing out. She sees the four genies that she saved from captivity, and they offer to transform her into a full genie. Shantae declines, disappointing that she would be forced to leave her many friends, and instead elects to return to Sequin Land. When she wakes up, she finds Mimic standing above her. She decides to reveal to the mayor that she isn't a full genie, but in overhearing her conversation, the mayor reveals that he heard her confession, and says he doesn't care. After all, she saved the town and maybe the entire land from destruction and tyranny. The game ends showing a tinkerbat repairing the hole Risky Boots shot into Shantae's home at the beginning of the game while the resident half-genie takes in a little bit of sun.