KUNI CHAN GAME NO TENGOKU | Players: 1-2(LINK) | Release: 1991 | Developer: OHTA / SEGA


These small Game Gear screens give me plenty of
room to fill these boxes with a whole lot of them..good!

Kuni Chan no game Tengoku is a game I came across roughly one year ago. Normally I wouldn't pay too much attention to obscure Japanese Game Gear games but somehow this got my eye. This 'somehow' was directly related to the graphics of this game. It doesn't take a SEGA genius to see that a lot of the game's graphics came from the Master System hit Castle of Illusion!

You start by picking either the 'story' mode or the 'select' mode, in which just pick one of the four minigames. Let's give you an idea of the story mode, as it's the most of interesting of the two. The story starts with Kuni Chan sitting in bar and is destracted by some talking customers. For some inexplicable reason Mizrabel (yes, Mizrabel) enters the scene and seems to take off with Kuni Chan's dress (huh?). Kuni Chan chases her and ends up at.. the Castle of Illusion. After a quick chat with the local beardy-weirdy (oohh deju-vu!) she enters the castle. Now -just like in Castle of Illusion- she can pick any of the three doors and enter (there's a fourth door actually, but that's just a shop).

After entering the first door you'll be treated to some familiar faces; the tree and caterpillar from the Enchanted forest stage of Castle of Illusion. Now get ready for a battle with them....in the Game of Life! The Japanese love this game (that explains why there's a bazillion of these Game of Life simulators out there) but I always hated it with a passion (except for the real board game). There's spots which give you money, there's spots that cost you money, you get a job, get married, buy stocks, blahblahblah. It's all incredibly dull and seems to go on forever. Worst of the bunch by couple of miles.

The shop and the game behind the first door.

'Let's take a look at what's behind door no2!'. Here you'll battle the evil block of chocolate, the donut, the little chocolate drip and the wrapped candy from C.O.I´s Dessert factory in a game of cards. Now for the wannabe nitpickers out there (like me); the second door actually housed the Toyland level in Castle of Illusion. So they swapped the doors for some reason. Anyway, cards it is. The idea is to simply get rid of your cards as soon as possible. I'm not familiar with the type of game but the rules seem close to a Chinese game called "Zheng Shangyou" ("Struggling upstream"). It's VERY hard to win as it's all very much down to luck and the CPU cheats like mad. Not the most fun I ever had..

Third door now; it's tennis time! Don't get scared now but you'll play against the unicycle clown from the Toyland level! (sans unicycle). Thankfully, Sonic (the umpire) keeps an eye out for any lame jokes heading your way. This tennis sim is very basic and doesn't play very well. There's a half-assed attempt at a lob shot and you have some control over your services but that's about it. Keen readers will spot that this tennis game is the one that was used on the Sega Game pack 4 in 1 (released by Sega Europe in 1994) that came as a pack-in with the 'FUN' edition' Game Gear. After playing the clown, you'll play the green floating genie and after completing that stage (good luck!), you'll have to beat the nearly impossible 'racket-for-head' guy. The less said about Mizrabel, the better. Like said, it's pretty basic stuff and there's certainly better Game Gear tennis games out there.

I never thought I'd play a game of cards with various kinds of candy, let alone playing tennis with a clown..

After playing the games (they all take ages to complete) you'll be given gold to spend in the shop. You'll be able to buy such items as trainers (which will help in the tennis game), spectacles (which lets you see your opponent's cards in the card minigame) and a tunnel (for use with the Game of life minigame). Problem is they are all way overpriced. It will takes AGES before you'll be able to buy them (winning a tennis match will net you 5000..).

So, is that it? No, actually not. I suspect that after completing all three the games (which -like said- will takes ages), there's a possibility that another floor opens up that contains the final game: Flash Columns. You might be familiar with the 'Flash' moniker, as it's a mode of play that was available in the original Columns game. Instead of the endless bursting of jewels, you'll have a blinking jewel at the bottom of the screen (usually below a user-set amount of layers) which needs bursting.
It was good fun in the original Columns, but the game is sadly ruined by a 'fourth block' rule, which means you'll have to create all kinds of goofy shapes before the jewels will burst. *Great*. Thankfully you don't have to go through the painful process of completing the first three stages because you'll be able to pick the game at the 'select' mode.

Kuni Chan could've been a lovely pack with some real fun and addictive minigames. In the end it's just a collection of slow and very mediocre minigames..damn!

Flash Columns in action. Oh and you'll be able to play Mizrabel the easy way.


Cute graphics, although I'm still not sure why they used the Castle of Illusion theme.

Not too bad but catchy isn't the word for them. The castle music sounds just
like the castle music in Golden Axe Warrior, I guess that's a plus.

Good idea to combine multiple gameplay styles, shame most of the minigames suck.
There's a LINK mode (wahey!) but to be honest, there's loads of better games out there.

Personally I had the most fun looking at the Castle of Illusion graphics.
None of the minigames a worth more than a quick look, they're too dull
and way too frustrating.

Graphics 7
Sound 6.5
Gameplay 5.5
Value 5
Overall 55


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