What comes to mind when you think of the Genesis import scene (which in this case is referring to the Japanese market)? Well, I don't know about everyone else, but I don't see much of what Genesis has to offer when it comes to games not released in the United States. I'm well aware of titles like Alien Soldier, Eliminate Down, Gleylancer, Twinkle Tale, and the scant few action titles and shooters...but it just isn't enough for me. I can easily find a hundred or more that interest me for SNES or Turbo Duo (or Turbo CD), but the Genesis can only provide me with a select few. Of course, if you aren't a REALLY die-hard gamer, you don't need 100+ good titles. You may just want "the best of the best". If that is your desire, you should stop reading this while you're ahead. Is this a bad game? Not at all, but I wouldn't call it one of the best by any stretch of the word. Magical Taruruuto-kun was made by the same folks who gave us games like Mendel Palace (NES) Smartball (SNES), Pokemon (GB), etc., and it has a certain level of charm that's all its own. The game is a simple run of the mill platformer that's both short and sweet, and moderately challenging as well.
If you haven't guessed by the Toei Animation sticker slapped on the front of the box, Magical Taruruuto-kun is based off of a popular anime and manga. Taruruuto-kun (Taluluto Tarako) has been on a lot of cartoon escapades and has starred in various video games for different platforms such as NES/FC, Game Gear, Game Boy, SNES/SFC, and Genesis/MD. Basically, Taruruuto-kun and his friends, Honmaru and Iyona, goof around, have fun and fight evil in the anime. Along the way, they are helped by various people along the way like Honmaru's father Shogunnosuke, Taruruuto's sister Ria, and Taruruuto's "girlfriend" Mimora, whom stop the occassional evil-doer. In this particular Taruruuto game, your goal is to help Taruruuto-kun stop the mischievious Raivar, a magical troll much like Taru who will cover the land in darkness if he isn't stopped along with his cohorts.
Graphically speaking, MTK stands on solid ground. Environments are colorful, enemies are as silly as they want to be, and there are some nice special effects, decent animations and explosions here and there. The characters come right from the anime into the game very well and if you loved them in the anime, you'll love them here too. From birds that poop empty soda cans to clouds with smiley faces, everything has a slightly bizzarre cuteness to it. The levels could have used a little more variety, but the level design is decent as-is. It should be noted that this MTK game probably has the best visual representation of all the games in its franchise, and that's making a statement, so the Genesis should be proud. The sound is run-of-the-mill silly. Quirky and upbeat and very cute (like nearly everything else in the game) and it does the game justice. The sound effects are standard fare, though there are a couple of voice clips that are cute and amusing. One is when Taruruuto says "SEGA" on the Sega logo screen. Overall, it's good stuff.
The gameplay is pretty simple. You run thru the levels with your cute magical writing utensil, bringing life to inanimate objects and other such things (which you can use as weapons) and it's one heck of a cutesy adventure, if you couldn't tell by the screenshots. As Taruruuto-kun, you have access to abilities like gliding and using magic, and if that isn't enough, well, it'll just have to do because MTK is a simple game, plain and simple. You can take advantage of a few other tricks in the game like dispatching part of an enemy and using the other part as a ride or a gun, but the game is incredibly straightforward and easy, which might turn some people off. Speaking of potentail turn-offs, this game only has four levels that are all pretty short, with the exception of the third stage.
The colorful graphics, combined with the cheerful musical score and lovable characters makes it come off as a great kids game, but don't let that stop you from playing it. I think it's suitable for all ages, even if the gameplay is nothing to write home about. This version of Magical Taruruuto-kun is one of the best and it's also cheap, so if you must get one, let it be this one.- Written by Vyse the determined -