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Magical Taruruuto-Kun

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Released: 1991

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Game Gear

Developer: Tsukuda Ideal

Submitted by: Matt

Ah, the joys of buying mystery import games. If you don’t bother to at least do a Google image search of a potential purchase you could end up with just about anything. Worse case scenario? Something text-heavy like an RPG or dating sim that’s rendered unplayable. Best case scenario? Discovering a ‘hidden gem’, like a perfectly playable platformer or stunningly cool shoot’em up. Magical Taruruuto-Kun on GameGear- which is in fact based on a long running anime series – falls into the latter camp.

There’s nothing jaw dropping about Magical Taruruuto-Kun – it’s just a nicely designed scrolling shooter that’s pleasingly eccentric. You control a little flying chap dressed in blue garb who emits little round bullets of death. The first level is set in a run-down Japanese school where the enemies include flying staplers, tubes of paint and fire extinguishers. Every enemy has an attack pattern to learn – the paper planes that appear on the street level, for instance, will loop back around and attack if you don’t shoot them as soon as they appear. Bosses are also suitably strange – the first is a giant piano that spits out music notes; the second is a piece of gymnastic equipment.

Every now a witch shows up who gives the chance to pick a new weapon or buy extra lives. It’s remindful of how the floating shop works in Fantasy Zone.

The graphics are nice and colourful – the aforementioned bosses take up half a screen, but as a consequence there are no backdrops during boss battles – while the jaunty music is a cut above most GameGear games.

Released in 1991, this was a very early GameGear release and miles superior to similar shooter Aerial Assault which was released around the same time.