Mahoujin Guruguru is a manga that ran in Monthly Shonen Gangan from 1992-2003. It’s a parody of RPG video games and has a lot of meta-humor and 4th wall breaking. There are two video games based on it for the Super Famicom. This one is not really an RPG in my estimation because it has no developing story. The opening has the main characters Nike and Kukuri coming to a new village with no money, and the king gives them a quest to get the magic circles from 12 towers so that the 13th tower can be unsealed, and they can save the Ocroc Egg. That’s the entire story; there’s no further development (as least in the first 9 towers, which is the extent of what I played).
The graphics on the whole are well done; the sprites are large and detailed.
You first buy equipment; there are various weapon types that Nike can use but I just went with swords. Then it’s on to the area where you can access the 12 towers.
In theory you can do them in any order, but the monster levels pretty much force you to do them in a set way — starting from the bottom left, then the bottom right, then the second to bottom on the left, etc.
The towers are (I think) randomly generated when you enter. You explore around each floor, looking for chests and eventually the warp to the next floor. The chests usually have money in them, but can have some items as well.
There are also monsters that wander the dungeon, and when they encounter you, it’s time to fight. In the fights, Nike is at the front and fights automatically. You control Kukuri’s spellcasting. You can also give Nike one of 4 commands but without the instruction manual I was never clear on exactly what these did.
To cast a spell, you first choose one of four elements (wind, fire, life, water). Then you pick an area of effect, and then a style (like “powerful”). This makes a possible 64 combinations that result in 64 different spells. The idea is interesting but as with most games that offer this many spell choices, there are a few that are really powerful and the rest aren’t worth using. After the first dungeon, MP restoring items are so plentiful that you can basically cast as many spells as you want, which is nice. Healing items also come pretty easily as well.
The game on the whole is fairly easy, but there are times when you have to do a bit of moneymaking to buy new weapons and armor (the shops gain new equipment after each 2 towers cleared). The bosses for the most part can be taken down easily with the Ikari no Honou fire spell, but two of the bosses I encountered could kill me from full HP with a single special attack. I stopped playing on the 9th tower because I could see that there was going to be no way to beat the boss without a bunch of grinding — I tried all kinds of spells, including ones that claimed to raise defense, but he still killed me from full HP with a special attack.
Each tower is 5 to 8 floors, with the top floor being a boss fight. Some towers have some special elements to them, like one way arrows, enemies that change the direction on your control pad, or one tower where you can’t use the automap. But they don’t change the basic gameplay that much.
This is not a terrible game, but it’s not fun enough that I was willing to do a bunch of grinding to beat something that (to me) isn’t really an RPG in the first place. I watched a video playthrough of the ending; the last tower is the same as the first 12 and the final boss has no real character. The ending scene is just Kukuri using the 12 seals to protect the egg, which hatches into a bird — the end.