Thursday, January 09, 2014

Second Chances: Magical Taruruuto-Kun (Sega Game Gear)

When I first discovered that someone had released a Magical Taruruuto-Kun title for the Game Gear, I was thrilled. After all, I've long loved the Game Freak-developed, Sega-published Mega Drive game based on this anime and manga franchise, so surely I'd also get a kick out of a portable iteration, right?

You'd think so, but my first impressions of Tsukuda Ideal's Game Gear title were far from favorable. It didn't help matters, of course, that this game isn't a platformer like its Mega Drive-based cousin is; instead, it's a shmup in the vein of Gradius (Parodius may be a better point of comparison). That's rarely an issue for me, though, so what prompted my less-than-thrilled initial reaction to this one?


For starters, when you first boot up Magical Taruruuto-Kun, it gives the impression that it's akin to My First Shmup. You see, your ship--actually a flying version of the series' protagonist--is overly large, as are most of the enemies that hurtle (OK, usually they simply meander) toward it, which makes the first stage, especially, seem both boring and a bit too easy.

That's where my first attempted playthrough ended, to tell you the truth. Then, a few weeks ago, I came across a copy of the game while perusing eBay, liked the cover art (what a surprise, right?) and decided to give it a second chance.


This time around, I forced myself past that opening level ... and discovered that, while it's still far from amazing, it's actually a nicely made little shmup.

One of the main reasons I say that is Magical Taruruuto-Kun's sprites are surprisingly well crafted considering they were produced by a company (Tsukuda Ideal) I'd never heard of before a few days ago. For example, in the first level, which is set in a school, rulers, staplers and fire extinguishers--all adorably adorned with cartoon eyes and mouths--serve to liven up the otherwise pedestrian surroundings.


The game's bosses--which include an anthropomorphic piano (see above), a haunted pirate ship and a giant tree--are similarly full of character, although the battles against them disappointingly take place against a plain white backdrop.

I'd still be hard-pressed to describe Magical Taruruuto-Kun's soundtrack or gameplay as anything approaching thrilling, but they're also far from tragic. As such, I have no regrets about picking up the complete-in-box copy I mentioned above shortly after I came across it. (Rest assured I'll share a few photos of its packaging as soon as it arrives on our doorstep.)

See also: previous 'Second Chances' posts

12 comments:

michaelstearns said...

Glad to see a follow up on this one, I had never heard of the GG title (though I suppose it isn't that surprising) before you mentioned it.

I've actually got the MD version of the game but only played a short bit of it. I had seen it in import ads in magazines and it looked interesting (mainly that huge red demon boss!), but I'd never actually seen any coverage of it. Way later I had a chance to pick it up for pretty cheap, but only ended up playing it a little bit, it didn't seem to click for me. Is it really good then? Should I give it another go?

TheGameroomBlitz said...

The Game Gear (and by extension, the Master System) are interesting consoles, with graphics that find a comfortable middle ground between the NES and 16-bit systems. You definitely notice the extra detail and richer colors, but the visuals aren't quite up to the standards of the Genesis or Super NES.


If you're looking for GG imports to play, I'd suggest Ninku Hiroyuki. It's very similar to Pengo, but the artwork is much more impressive than the Game Gear port of that game.

thegaygamer.com said...

Hey there, Michael! Expect to see another post on this game next week--assuming our PC is up and running again this weekend.


As for the MD version of this game: I have to admit that I last played it long ago, so my memories of it should be taken with a grain of salt.


That said, I remember loving its sprite work and just "liking" its gameplay--which, like this game, seemed a bit too simple/easy, at least at first.


Considering it was made by Game Freak, though, I'd definitely recommend giving it a second chance, as it's possible later levels will prove challenging enough--and interesting enough--to make the boring early sections worth your while.

thegaygamer.com said...

Hello again, GB! Yes, I agree with you completely about the graphics produced by both the GG and the MS. In the case of this game, its graphics are somewhere between the GB and the GBA, which also is fitting, I think.


Thanks for recommending the Ninku game, BTW. I've often seen it on import game shop sites, but didn't realize it played similar to Pengo. Given that, I'll have to check it out at some point!

TheGameroomBlitz said...

Well, there are also Ninku games that play like watered down fighters. Be sure you get the one with the pink package.


(Looks at site)


Heh, I probably don't need to tell you that, do I? :}

thegaygamer.com said...

Ah, yes, I had a feeling all of the Ninku games I've seen out there weren't in the same genre. Thanks for letting me know which one to pick up :) (And, yes, I'm glad it's the pink one!)

thegaygamer.com said...

You should give *some* games a second chance, Justin. Sometimes a game rubs you the wrong way the first time because of other things that were going on in your life at that moment or because you'd just played a game in the same genre, etc., you know? Anyway, I usually only go back to games that rubbed me the wrong way but had been hyped by friends or others I admire/respect. Or I liked the game's music or graphics but not really its gameplay or store. Those are the games to give a second chance, IMO.


BTW, are you looking for the N64 Goemon game or the SNES one (Legend of the Mystical Ninja). I remember loving the SNES game as a teenager. Those graphics! The music! The wacky text :)

thegaygamer.com said...

Thanks, Justin! First one will be published early next week :)

TheGameroomBlitz said...

The artwork reminds me of Vic Tokai games... I wonder if that's more than a coincidence.


Can you imagine what would have happened if Sega had acquired Game Freak before Nintendo could get its hands on the company? Oh man, gaming history would be so much different...

The Girly Gamer said...

This sounds great! Looking forward to reading these! :)

thegaygamer.com said...

Hmmm, I have no idea, GB. I've never even heard of the company that developed the game, but of course it's possible people who used to work for Vic Tokai worked on this game. Or maybe they worked on this game and then worked for Vic Tokai?


As for Sega buying Game Freak: I never thought about that! Sadly, I think Sega may have ended up in the same place, regardless. The company has long had a hard time harnessing its power, if you ask me :|

thegaygamer.com said...

Thanks, Girly Gamer :)