After some bad gaming experiences with impossible famicom games (also see review of Demon Sword on our new Swedish language blog, japanspel.wordpress.com) I went back to my trusted game boy.
There were two platforming games with the name Magical Taruruuto Kun on famicom, and the first game is popular, looking like Super Mario Bros 3. However, with the many worlds and levels I think it would be too long for me to have time for. There is also one platforming game on Mega Drive and one on Super Famicom. I read a favorable review of the mega drive game so I might try it out (it is short and sweet!), but game boy is my console of choice.
Usually I don't like to play what I call "generic platforming games", but the box backside has a picture of Godzilla and a helicopter and that looked interesting. Also I hoped the game wouldn't be too long, and thankfully game boy games are usually short. This game is just 4 or 5 stages and they aren't too hard. (unlike the last game boy game I wrote about, Castlevania Adventure, also short but oh so hard)
I haven't played much of the famicom game, but I do know that in that game you play as Taruruutu Kun himself. He uses his long tongue to eat fruits. But in the game boy game, you play as the boy. When you have collected 20 fruits, Taruruutu Kun will appear. You can then press Select to bring up a menu with things he can do.
- Choice 1 returns you to the game.
- Choice 2 transforms him into something helpful, either he freezes all enemies or he collects fruits or he attacks enemies. It may depend on where you are on the stage.
- Choice 3 will give you bow and arrow, or other things. Again, it seems to be different depending on where you are on the stage.
- Choice 4 will play a mini-game. I think this may give you an extra life but I am not sure.
It is easy to collect extra lives. Just collect fruits and frogs and you will quickly have 15 or more extra lives. Even when you die you are often brought back to a place where you can immediately get an extra life and more fruit, so the game is very kind to you. Should you die all your lives, you can use up to 3 continues. (I know because I was game over once)
The stages have hidden areas for bonus stages. Simply walk into them, or in one occasion on the last stage you have to duck, and you will enter it. They will give you up to 50 fruits. It is like Super Mario Bros with game genie.
I think that Taruruuto Kun is an anime for kids, like Doraemon that I wrote about in my "mega drive platforming games" blogpost two weeks ago. It plays cute and doesn't challenge you much and that is a potential downside. But it is what it is.
The shooter stage was a bit tricky because the helicopter is so big, but after a couple of tries I found a good strategy. None of the bosses are too difficult either. The endboss gave me some difficulties but turned out to be easy once I figured her out. It took me around 3 hours to beat the game from start to finish but if I had understood the controls, the extra life scheme, and had been more lucky figuring out stuff (for example, you can hit some projectiles instead of jumping over them) I would have done it in less than an hour. A good gamer might do it in less than 30 minutes on their first time playing.
When it comes to gameplay, it plays well. The controls are response, the graphics work nicely without slowdowns, the sprites are big and clear. The music is nice too. And the game has originality with the Select screen and a shooter stage. So I rate it 4/5. If you can find it for 5-6$ I think you should check it out. It being short is just how games are on the game boy.
With early game boy games like this one from 1991 one always need to consider that the first model game boy had a blurry graphic and is difficult to play on, so games that are easy to play today on a super game boy with RGB cable were much harder back then. Only when the Game Boy Pocket was released you could play with a better screen. My favorite handheld console for game boy games is the Game Boy Color anyways. More comfortable than GBA or GBA SP.