Developer: Gamtec, Super Fighter Team
Publisher: Super Fighter Team
Platform: Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesis
Tested on: Sega Mega Drive
Magic Girl – Review
Not that long ago we decided to cater to the needs of our readers who happen to be into retro games. While retro gaming might be a hobby like any other, collecting older games is something that keeps blooming, and the last few years the prices of both old school consoles and games have slowly been rising. Nonetheless, these consoles and their titles may have been discarded by many as obsolete, there are still companies out there that make new games, edit existing ones or simply translate those that never left the Japanese borders. Last time we reviewed Haunted Halloween ’85 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, this time we take a look at Magic Girl for Sega’s Mega Drive (Genesis), a game that was translated and released in 2015 for said system.
The planet Alah has been the home of many beautiful stories revolving around godlike beings, which often helped the residents of this earth-like planet. When all of a sudden unknown entities show up, the people think the legendary creatures have returned to grant them another miracle, but things go down south quite quickly. These monsters only bring death and destruction and before anyone properly realized what was going on, entire villages were wiped away, which also includes Ling Ling’s village. She was spared because she was not present at the time, but she vowed to destroy the monsters who destroyed her home. Armed with a rare ability, namely the power to practice magic, she dives headfirst into battle.
Overall the story value will only sketch the situation at the beginning of the game and a small bit of extra text when you complete the five stages. Things are kept quite simple, which was common for the time that Gamtec released the original Japanese version (1993). Nonetheless, the plot gives you something to keep in the back of your head, explaining why you’re killing hordes of cute looking enemies.
For a game that has a rather grim plot, Magic Girl is a very bright and cheerful looking title. The backdrops, over which you fly with Ling Ling are very bright and colorful, and you would not suspect a war was going on when flying over unscathed houses and lands. You’ll be bombarded with tons of enemies who look quite adorable rather than malicious. Nonetheless, everything becomes one beautiful whole, especially when keeping in mind the capabilities of the consoles this game was developed for.
While the enemies might not come in many different kinds, there are plenty for you to remember their attack patterns and adding more would otherwise become a bit of a clusterfuck, rather than a surveyable game. The attacks offer a fair amount of different effects, when picking up new weapons, same as the different possible shields and your ultimate attack.
Just like the graphical side of the game, things are kept very cheerful and upbeat throughout the entire game. The music tends to be rather pleasant and each stage has its own track, making sure they don’t become a bother when playing the game multiple times. Only one thing feels a bit off and it’s the choice of sound effects. While the SFX are never truly bad, the loudness overshadows the enjoyable music. While it’s quite useful to have a proper indication when you’re hit, it’s mainly the firing at your foes that is a bit too much at times, and the game could also have done with a bit more variation when it comes to your basic weapon noises. That being said, the overall soundtrack is actually quite catchy.
Magic Girl is a classic top down bullet hell type of game, but for once you will not be piloting an intergalactic spaceship, a fighter jet or a bullet crazy soldier who will gun down everything in sight. This time you’ll trade in the high tech for a little witch who will use her magic to dispose of the different waves of enemies thrown at you. You’ll have to wade through a handful of stages in order to restore peace to your home planet.
The gameplay speaks for itself, seeing you’ll just have to dodge enemy fire, all while blasting your foes from the sky. You’ll always start off with the same weapon, but there are power-ups that will aid you in your conquest. There are three weapons to be found, whenever you shoot an adorable yellow ‘cloud’ enemy, but there are also two different shields, ammunition for your ultimate attack and simple score enhancing items to be found. While the different weapons are certainly amusing, especially when you find the one that shoots in all directions, they are also a tad too basic at times. Picking up the same power-up again will not strengthen your weapon, like it does in other games, but it will simply do nothing. Other than that, the other power-ups work like they are supposed to, and there’s a sufficient amount of them, given this is a rather short game.
Unlike many older games in the genre, these games were pretty impossible or just tough as nails, Magic Girl is rather manageable, especially if you’re lucky when it comes to the power-up drops. There’s only five stages to plow through and you’ll have three continues, each with three lives to do so. If you die, you just pick up where you died, and if you run out of lives you’ll use a continue and restart the stage you were in. Overall, after a few tries, you should be able to beat the game, especially when you know the attack patterns of the different bosses. That being said, this is not really a game where you can stick to the bottom border of the screen, as there are many enemies who will attack you from the back, thus often hitting you before you can take proper action. Luckily, there aren’t that many bullets on your screen at any point in the game, making it doable to dodge most of them, except for certain short passages in the levels. The difficulty makes it rather motivating to keep pressing forward, as you know you’ll be able to reach the finish.
Even though this game was initially created and released by Gamtec in 1993 in China only, Super Fighter Team did a great job in reviving this simplistic game and of course, translating it. This title might have a sad underlying plot, the cheerful music and its bright and colorful appearance make it a fun and interesting game, which is accessible for both young and old.