When Game Freak comes to mind, it is easy to immediately think of the company’s most popular series. After all, Pokemon is one of the most recognizable IPs out there. But the company is responsible for a lot more than that. In fact, in 1992 it released two incredibly odd games based upon the Magical Taruruuto-kun series. Each one has the distinction of being weird, yet easy to understand and enjoy.
First, the Magical Taruruuto-kun games have the distinction of being released within a month of one another on two different platforms, but offering different experiences. Each one stars Taruruuto-kun, the magician who is trying to make the life of a little boy named Edojo Honmaru better. (Spoiler alert: in the anime and manga series, these efforts tend to backfire.) Both are platformers, where Taruruuto-kun is trying to find his way through modern environments. The execution is where things both differ and get interesting.
Magical Taruruuto-kun on the Mega Drive is a kid-friendly game that is similar to a 2D side-scroller. Taruruuto-kun goes through levels inspired by areas from the anime and manga, which means locations will be both familiar and otherworldly. He will use his magic to levitate inanimate objects and throw them forward to attack various foes. Though, in some cases, he can also use magic to attack fellow wizards or other enemies. Situations tend to be laughably weird, as some stages have him trying to outrun a high school student in an armed helicopter or face off in a duel against another magician. The focus is on surviving, rather than collecting anything, and it is very easy to play.
The Super Famicom’s Magical Taruruuto-kun: Magic Adventure is a platformer. It revolves around having Taruruuto-kun use his tongue to attack enemies and collect takoyaki. (In the original series, he loves that snack.) After a stage, you can trade the takoyaki for items, like extra lives, and spells, like a frog. There are also minigames, like a slot machine and form of solitaire where the game seems to play itself. Of the two games, this is the most difficult, as Taruruuto-kun will die after taking a single hit. This means you have to be extremely careful and occasionally prioritize attacking over eating.
Each one of these games is easy to find and import. There is some text that comes up infrequently, but this is largely expository. The Super Famicom version tends to be cheaper, as it usually costs around $15-20. This may be due to the minigames that you have to play to proceed and its difficulty. The Mega Drive version tends to be more expensive, at about $45-50. If you have a RetroN 5, you will have no problem playing either one.
Both of the Magical Taruruuto-kun Game Freak games are pleasant imports. If you are looking for quirkiness, I recommend going with the Mega Drive version, as it is more about heading into unusual situations and enjoying the ambiance. People who want a challenge should grab Magical Taruruuto-kun: Magic Adventure, as it offers an odd premise and levels that can require you to exercise a bit more caution as you play. No matter which one you grab, each will take you on quite a trip.